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2019-08-15 - #083

Exploring Our Journey Towards Full-Spectrum Flourishing 

David Cooperrider keynote at Founding Forum of Flourishing Enterprise Institute

To help us launch the Founding Forum for the Flourishing Enterprise Institute we are delighted to have as our speaker Dr. David Cooperrider.  He is globally recognized thought-leader, researcher and practitioner and a long-time member of our group.  He is leader of one of the six major initiatives of members of our group: Aim2Flourish, whose outcomes have benefited many in our group and well beyond.

In most organizations the practice of corporate sustainability is mainly focused on reducing harm by incrementally improving performance across social and environmental indicators. It is common for actions to be taken that increase energy efficiency, eliminate waste and improve how employees, customers and other stakeholders are treated, without addressing what is fundamentally unsustainable about business as usual. After many years of progress it is evident that even leading organizations are rarely engaging in the kind of deep, systemic change that generating meaningful progress demands - a move towards enabling strongly sustainable outcomes aka sustainability-as-flourishing.

Through this inspiring and interactive talk, Dr. Cooperrider will explore the concept of flourishing and how organizations, as an expression of the best of humanity, can practically contribute to a thriving planet, while generating tremendous potential to innovate and enhance performance within.

Dr. Cooperrider's work has been discussed in our Linkedin Forum over the years - and a key paper "Quest for a Flourishing Earth Is the Most Significant Enterprise Opportunity of the 21st Century" has been shared there - click this link.

Nobel Laureate Kofi Annan wrote these words after calling upon David Cooperrider as an advisor and using Dr. Cooperrider’s Appreciative Inquiry to bring over 500 CEO's into a world summit at the United Nations: “Without your innovative methodology of Appreciative Inquiry, it would have been very difficult, perhaps even impossible, to constructively engage so many leaders of business, civil society, and government [to co-create a positive future for all].” A UN Leaders report for the Global Compact's 8,000 corporations said “Appreciative Inquiry is the best large group method in the world today.”

Below Dr. Cooperrider has provided an overview of his talk and a detailed bio.


To learn more about the Flourishing Enterprise Institute Development Project please see our June 2019 meeting where the project was launched - see this page.


Uniquely for this months meeting - both virtual and in-person are open to the general public.  We encourage our members to share this invitation widely.  

The logistics are as follows, registration *is* required.

Date: Thurs August 15

Time: 09h30-10h30 EST (UTC+4), 06h30-07h30 PST (UTC+7), 15h30-16h30 CET (UTC-2), JST

In person - cost $10 - Accelerator Centre Auditorium, 295 Hagey Boulevard, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6R6, Canada 

Virtual - free - link to access provided upon registration

The slides presented plus a link to the unedited recording of this meeting has been made available via our GoogleDrive in the folder for this month's meeting

Strongly Sustainable Business Model Group Meeting 83rd Monthly Meeting

Talk Overview

In this talk and interactive session David Cooperrider explores the proposition that the quest for a flourishing earth is the most significant Organization Development (OD) opportunity and call of our time—and that when people in organizations work toward building a flourishing world they too are poised to thrive in ways that will inspire innovation, more conscious leadership development, and their own and others “PERMA” flourishing.  Put another way, being a leader and corporate citizen “out there” is not only about serving external stakeholders-- it is fundamental to bringing out the best in the human condition inside the firm. Flourishing enterprise “out there” and human well-being “in here” form an upward spiral or positive loop and this observable dynamic thereby raises a far-reaching exploration: what is the link between advancing a flourishing Earth, with the simultaneous flourishing of the human side of enterprise?  And how might the discovery and design of what the human sciences are now calling “positive institutions” shed light on this elevationary dynamic? How, precisely, might an organization’s quest to go beyond sustainability-as-less-harm bring out the best not just on the “outside”—helping to advance a better world future—but also bring out the finest on the “inside”—creating intrinsically inspired engagement; propelling high-quality connections and super-cooperation; and calling forth new and significant levels of achievement?

In design thinking terms, every global issue of our day is a business opportunity in disguise. But exactly how do organizations turn our complex global challenges into tangible, esthetically elegant and net positive, business opportunities? Using data from over 2,000 AIM2Flourish interviews into “business as an agent of world benefit” as well as Appreciative Inquiry with companies such as Unilever, O.A.T,  Interface, and many thousands of organizations that are part of the UN Global Compact’s journey to embed a widespread commitment to the 17 SDG’s, David Cooperrider points to a growing array of real-life stories with just one overarching conclusion: there is nothing that brings out the best in any organization faster, more consistently, or powerfully than bringing “the whole-system-into-the-room” to design long-term win-win-win solutions to our world’s greatest global challenges.  

David Cooperrider calls this dynamic “mirror flourishing” and shows how the design of positive institutions is a systems change agent’s North Star. Using his 3-circles of the strength-revolution as a guide, David provides a strengths framework uniting the latest in the science of positive psychology with the concept of flourishing enterprise and the Appreciative Inquiry Summit method.  

What David is envisioning is a watershed moment in Organization Development research and practice where our field moves from micro-management to macro-management, and then back again.  It's an age where OD will increasingly find its most profound work on “the outside” of the enterprise and where institutions will be re-defined not as clients but instead as the change agents. And that’s where the reverse flourishing paradox unfolds. The more successful our macro OD becomes (for example helping a Tesla electrify the renewable energy age) the more powerful our micro impact will become (creating a more magnetic, growth promoting, and thriving work environment.)  Just as meta-analysis of over 700 studies document and show how “good things happen to good people” a similar dynamic can be observed when organizations emerge as positive institutions, that is, organizations and structured practices in culture or society that serve to elevate and develop our highest human strengths, combine and magnify those strengths, and refract our highest strengths outward in world benefiting ways leading in the journey, ultimately, to a world of full-spectrum flourishing (Cooperrider and Godwin, 2014.)


David L. Cooperrider, PhD, is a Distinguished University Professor at Case Western Reserve University and holds two chaired professorships: Char and Chuck Fowler Professor of Business as an Agent of World Benefit and the Covia - David L. Cooperrider Professorship in Appreciative Inquiry, both at the Weatherhead School of Management. David is the Founder and Faculty Director of the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit and is also the Honorary Chairman of Champlain College's David L. Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry at the Robert P. Stiller School of Business. Recently David received "The Lifetime Achievement Award"--the highest honor in his field of Organization Development—for his work on Appreciative Inquiry and his advancement the concept of full-spectrum flourishing as the field’s North Star. 

David is best known for his original theoretical articulation of "AI" or Appreciative Inquiry with his mentor Suresh Srivastva. Today AI's approach to strengths-inspired, instead of problematizing change, is being practiced everywhere: the corporate world, the world of public service, of economics, of education, of faith, of philanthropy, and social science scholarship-it is affecting them all. Jane Nelson, at Harvard's Kennedy School of Leadership recently wrote, "David Cooperrider is one of the outstanding scholar-practitioners of our generation."

David has served as advisor to prominent leaders in business and society, including projects with five Presidents and/or Nobel Laureates such as William Jefferson Clinton, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Kofi Annan, and Jimmy Carter. David advises a wide variety of corporations including Apple, Johnson & Johnson, Keurig Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Verizon, Hunter Douglas, Cleveland Clinic, National Grid, Smuckers, Clarke, Fairmount Minerals, McKinsey, Parker, Dealer Tire, Webasto, and Wal-Mart as well as the Navy, Red Cross, United Way of America, USAID, United Nations, the Global Compact, and hundreds of international private voluntary organizations (the GEM project.) David is also a founding Board Member of the International Association of Positive Psychology, the Taos Institute, and a Fellow of the World Business Academy. Early in the growth of the UN Global Compact David was called upon by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to facilitate (using Appreciative Inquiry) the largest summit in history between business CEOs and leaders of government and civil society. It was one of the high point moments in David’s career with reverberations that continue to grow.   

David has published 25 books and authored over 100 articles and book chapters. He has served as editor of both the Journal of Corporate Citizenship with Ron Fry and the current academic research 4-volume series on Advances for Appreciative Inquiry, with Michel Avital. In 2010 David was honored with the Peter F. Drucker Distinguished Fellow award. David's books include Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Revolution in Change (with Diana Whitney); The Organization Dimensions of Global Change (with Jane Dutton); Handbook of Transformative Cooperation (Stanford Press) Organizational Courage and Executive Wisdom (with Suresh Srivastva); and The Strengths-based Leadership Handbook (with Brun & Ejsing.) David's work has received numerous awards including Distinguished Contribution to Workplace Learning by ASTD; the Porter Award for Best writing in the field of Organization Development and the Aspen Institute Faculty Pioneer Award in the domain of Sustainable Development. In 2016 David was named as one of the nation's top thought leaders by Trust Across America, and honored as one of "AACSB's Most Influential Leaders in the Field of Management." He was recently named Distinguished University Professor at Case Western Reserve University.

In perhaps the highest recognition of his thought leadership, Champlain College's Stiller School of Business honored David’s impact with an academic center in his name. Opened in 2014 it is called the David L. Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry, and David serves as its Honorary Chair. For the center's dedication Professor Marty Seligman, the father of the positive psychology movement wrote: "David Cooperrider is a giant: a giant of discovery, a giant of dissemination, and a giant of generosity." Likewise, Jane Dutton, University of Michigan thought leader and former President of the Academy of Management said: 

"David Cooperrider is changing the world with his ideas and who he is as a person. There are few who combine such insight, inspiration and energy."

David is the founder the Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit—it was launched in partnership with the UN Global Compact and with the Academy of Management. Its mission: a world where business can excel, all people can flourish, and nature can thrive. 

Key Links

Meeting Minutes 

 The link to the recording of the meeting has been posted as a comment to this Linkedin Post, along with on-going discussion about the meeting by our members.  A copy of the recording has been stored in the GoogleDrive in the folder for this month's meeting.

Attendance list is updated at the event to record attendance (if a location is not provided participant was F2F in Waterloo)
  • David Cooperrider  Fowler Center for Business as Agent of World Benefit, Weatherhead School of Business, Case Western Reserve University)
  • Antony Upward  Co-founder Flourishing Enterprise Institute and Acting Director Research & Practice Institute Development Project, SSBMG Co-founder; Convener Flourishing Enterprise Innovation Toolkit ProjectAdjunct Prof. OCAD University Faculty of Design, Adjunct Prof. Halmstad University Department of Innovation Management
  • Peter Jones  Co-Founder, Flourishing Enterprise Institute; SSBMG Co-founder; Professor OCAD University Faculty of Design
  • Manuel Reimer – Director of Viessmann Centre for Engagement and Research in Sustainability (VERiS), Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Randy Sa’d – Co-founder Flourishing Enterprise Institute and Acting Executive Director Institute Development Project
  • Nicole Norris – SSBMG Community Animator, OCADU MDes SFI Student/Georgian College, Centre for Changemaking and Social Innovation
  • Bill Baue – Senior Director, r3.0
  • Florian Lüdeke-Freund – Professor for Corporate Sustainability, ESCP Europe Business School
  • Barry Colbert – Professor, Lazaridis School of Business, Wilfrid Laurier U
  • Jeffrey Wilson – Assistant Professor, Director Terrametrics Research Lab, University of Waterloo
  • Maya Hoveskog – Associate Professor, Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Innovation Management Department
  • Garth  Yule – Managing Director, Junxion Strategy, Co-Founder, Demonstrating Value Resource Society
  • Maurizio Zollo – Professor, Imperial College Business School
  • Russ Christianson – Co-op Developer, Ontario Co-operative Association
  • Harvey Weisfeld – Better My Business, wiserSolutions
  • Rye Barberstock – COO, Okwaho Equal Source
  • Alexander Metternich – Europäische Akademie Otzenhausen
  • Tova Davidson – Sustainable Waterloo Region
  • Stephanie Whitney – Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Marcus Joel – York University
  • Bill Craig – Canadian Positive Psychology Association, FlourishX Inc.
  • Shyra Barberstock – President & CEO, Okwaho Equal Source
  • Simon Coulombe – Assistant Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Sarah Burch – Professor, University of Waterloo
  • Meg Ronson – Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience, University of Waterloo
  • Douglas Worts – Culture and Sustainability Specialist, WorldViews Consulting
  • Ellen Martin – Consultant, Lean4Flourishing
  • Mat Thijssen – University of Waterloo
  • Larry Trakalo – Green Events
  • Leon Dong – University of Guelph
  • Frederick Peters – Apiary X
  • Erika Ellacott – Shopify
  • Tim Posselt – Desklight Research
  • Laura Allan
  • Esther Cheung
  • Josephine McMurray
  • Brandon Van Dam
  • Morris Fedeli – Researcher, Providence Solutions (Australia)
  • Geoff Williams – Software Developer, Odyssey World (Online)
  • Stephen Sillett – Co-Exec Director, ADCID (Toronto)
  • Kristy Faccer – Manager, PICS (Online)
  • Daniela Seskar-Hencic – Director, Strategic Planning and Evaluation, University of Waterloo (Online)
  • Sharmalene Mendis-Millard – Associate Director, Centre for Community Research, Learning & Action (CCRLA), Laurier (Online)
  • Claire Bennett – Corporate Sustainability Officer, City of Kitchener (Online)
  • Brian Hoessler – Connector-in-Chief, Strong Roots Consulting (Online)
  • Carrie Herzog – Professor, Conestoga College (Online)
  • Steve Bigioni – Student, Wilfrid Laurier University (Online)
  • Bob Willard – Author and Founder, Sustainability Advantage (Whitby, Ontario)
  • Douglas Gilbert – Principal, Lone Tree Academics LLC (Denver, USA)
  • Kerri Brock – Principal, Splash Concepts (Toronto)
  • Nancy Ramuscak – Program Manager, Region of Peel - Public Health (Online)
  • Eric Fath-Kolmes – Co-Founder, FlourishX (Nijmegen, Netherlands)
  • Andrew Soren – CEO, Eudaimonic by Design (Online)
  • Alison Kemper – Dr., Ryerson University (Toronto)
  • John Teo – Founder, Positive Human Diversity Ventures (Online)
  • Maureen McKenna – Energy Catalyst, Return on Energy (Online)
  • Ruben Burga – Assistant Professor, University of Guelph (Guelph)
  • Patrik Sandin – Chairman, The Natural Step International (Shanghai China)
  • Alireza Esmaeilzadeh – Student, Halmstad University (Halmstad, Sweden)
  • Stephanie Gee – Program Evaluation Advisor, Region of Peel-Public Health (Online)
  • Marilyn Friedmann – Management Consultant & Leadership Coach, Align Coaching & Consulting (Toronto)
  • Leslea Peirson – Advisor, Public Health Evaluation Projects, Peel Public Health (Online)
  • Cassie Myers – Founder, Sheleads (Online)
  • Samiya Hirji – Sustainability Consultant, Samiya Hirji Inc (Online)
  • Indi Madar – Community Impact, Policy Advisor, Canadian Credit Union Association (CCUA) (Online)
  • Marian Davies – Liaison Librarian, University of Waterloo (Online)
  • Gunnar Glänzel – Freelancer, EIT-Climate-KIC (Frankfurt Am Main Area, Germany)
  • Ondine Hogeboom – Co-founder, Lean4Flourishing (Montreal)
  • Nille Skalts – CEO, Generøs (Copenhagen, Denmark)
  • Giselle Timmerman – Consultant, Positive Work (Barcelona, Spain)
  • Andreas Flugs – CEO, Techmall S/A (Online)
  • Charlie Davis – PhD Student/Research Coordinator, Wilfrid Laurier University (Online)
  • Melissa Tullio – Manager, Design Thinking, Sun Life Financial (Toronto)
  • Eduardo Seisdedos – Founder, Cuatrotercios (Vigo, Spain)
  • Guoshu Bin – Lecturer, Guilin University of Technology (Online)
  • Ian Pilon – Founder, IoT Waterloo (Online)
  • Panos Panagiotakopoulos – SMB Coordinator, Seneca College (Toronto)
  • Michael Sillion – Captain Future, Future Navigators (Halmstad, Sweden)
  • Gryph Theriault-Loubier – Entrepreneur in Residence, 10C Social Change Lab (Geulph, Ontario)
  • Christopher Luederitz – PhD Candidate, University of Waterloo (Online)
  • Julian Dautremont – Director of Programs, AASHE (Columbus, Ohio)
  • S Scott – Professor, UW (Online)
  • Lori Farley – Founder, INTONOVUS Canada (Calgary, Alberta)
  • Simon Robinson – CEO (Worldwide), Holonomics (San Paulo, Brazil)
  • Vangie Ram – Asst. Professor, University of the Philippines Baguio (Philipines)
  • Gabriele Garavini – Entrepreneur, Teliacompany (Stockholm, Sweden)
  • Louise Cox – Director, Kiln Design Limited (Nottingham, UK)
  • Anne Filion – Design and Innovation Cordinator, St Pauls GreenHouse UW (Barrie, Ontario)
  • Jan O'Reilly – Research Coordinator, Toronto District School Board (Online)
  • Alexandre Joyce – Advisor, D (Montreal)
  • Shawna Reibling – KMO, Wilfrid Laurier University (Online)
  • Daniel Gona – Business Agility Navigator, no Buro (Berlin)