Northwestern University
Dean Blount's Blog

Thoughts after Davos
February 2, 2011

2011 has been an amazing year so far—from ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange with a group of our alumni from the financial sector, meeting one-on-one with former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson who was on campus to give a talk to our students, and attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Davos itself was fascinating—the people I met, the conversations that we engaged in, seeing how the World Economic Forum structures itself and the activities that it undertakes around the world. It has come to be one of the leading conveners of conversation on the most pressing issues facing humanity in the 21st century. I can’t help thinking that this is a role that universities, and business schools in particular, need to engage in more deeply.

I met several WEF representatives at the epicenter of these key conversations, including one who was a Kellogg alumna, which was quite interesting. We talked about ways that Kellogg can learn from what the WEF is doing and contribute to their conversations around the world.

Now that I’m back and rested, I find myself reenergized. No institution understands collaboration better than Kellogg does. After all, we pioneered the teamwork and collaboration models that now typify business schools around the world. As we look at our global strategy going forward, I can’t help but wonder if we shouldn’t be talking about taking what we know to the next level. Collaboration is about so much more than just teamwork. That’s only the beginning. Collaboration is also about convening conversations that matter—conversations that bring key stakeholders together on important issues, to forge solutions and develop plans that translate ideas into action.

It’s through those types of meaningful conversations that the most important change happens in the world—whether it be on a local, regional or global scale. At Kellogg, we’ve always been about change. When I think back to that gutsy, innovative, entrepreneurial spirit that vaulted us into the top tier of business education in 1980’s, I’m inspired.

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