Unique Fellowship Creates Innovation Lab for New Business Model

April 21, 2009

Aspen Institute helps “First Movers” blend business success with societal well-being

NEW YORK, NY. – April 21, 2009 – The Aspen Institute Business and Society program announced today the inaugural class of First Mover Fellows. The 16 Fellows, who come from a wide variety of backgrounds and businesses, have been chosen for their desire and ability to implement breakthrough strategies that create profitable business growth and, at the same time, contribute to a sustainable society.

“The Fellowship will serve as an innovation lab,” says Nancy McGaw, director of the First Movers Fellowship Program, “Participants will come with a compelling hypothesis about a new idea they urgently want to implement that will move their companies further into the zone where business growth and our collective well-being intersect. During the program, Fellows will work to convert their hypotheses into new products, services, processes and business models. And they will build capacity to lead change within their organizations.”

The fourteen-month program will include three convenings built around core themes-reflection, innovation and leadership. During these convenings, Fellows will have time to reflect on their own values and make explicit the personal convictions that underpin their decisions. They will also develop skills used by successful innovators and explore strategies to develop their personal capacity to lead. As part of the program, each Fellow will commit to complete a project that has clear business and social impact objectives. The first convening will take place in early July in Aspen, Colorado.

In addition, to promote organizational buy-in and learning at the system level, Fellows have been asked to identify and collaborate with at least two colleagues within their companies who will serve as mentors during the Fellowship period and support each Fellow’s effort to turn his/her hypothesis into reality.

“The goal of the program,” adds Ms. McGaw, “is to encourage Fellows to be even more daring, innovative and effective leaders and champions for change within their companies and across industries, and to help them acquire and practice the skills that will allow them to do so.”

To help craft a program that will help these First Movers develop their passion and the skills that will make their innovations a reality, The Aspen Institute Business and Society program has convened a group of experts in the areas of leadership and innovation from organizations that include MasterCard; IDEO, a global design consultancy; The Weatherhead School at Case Western Reserve University; Babson College and the Fetzer Institute. This fellowship is supported, in part, by the Fetzer Institute

The First Movers Fellowship has been developed by the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program, whose mission is to equip business leaders for the 21st century with a new management paradigm-the vision and knowledge to integrate corporate profitability and social value. Founded in 1950, the Aspen Institute is an international nonprofit organization that fosters enlightened leadership, the appreciation of timeless values and ideas, and open-minded dialogue on contemporary issues.

The First Movers Fellows – 2009

Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, Director of Transformation at Pick n Pay, a major South African retailer, and a member of the company’s executive committee. In its operations, Pick n Pay endeavors to remedy the inequalities apartheid engendered. Toward that end, Suzanne engages and trains small, disadvantaged entrepreneurs so that they can become viable suppliers to Pick n Pay and other large retail manufacturing companies.

Roberto Bocca, From September 2004 to January 2009, as Director of Emerging Consumer Markets for BP Alternative Energy, he led the development of a business to provide access to cleaner, safer and affordable energy solutions to a large number of emerging consumers across the developing world. These solutions included an affordable biomass-fuelled stove, based on technology developed by the Indian Institute of Science, which has been bought by 400,000 Indian villagers.

Felipe Botero, Vice President of Strategic Program Management, MetLife Insurance. He is part of the Retirement Strategies Group, responsible for developing and implementing business strategies to capitalize on the emerging retirement market opportunity. Realizing that 80% of the world’s population does not have access to insurance products, Felipe is also working to develop microinsurance offerings at MetLife that would meet the needs of underserved populations.

Bruce Cummings, Senior Innovation Manager, Colgate-Palmolive. He is responsible for developing a new role and business process to create breakthrough-packaging platforms and brand experience for all categories that meet long term strategic business objectives. He wants to do this by infusing “design thinking,” a holistic user-centric process, into the company’s strategic planning and to develop new, longer-term metrics that help the company consider social and environmental impacts of corporate decisions.

Erin Fitzgerald, Director of Social and Environmental Innovation Consulting, Dairy Management, Inc. (DMI), the non-profit planning and management organization responsible for increasing sales and demand for U.S.-produced dairy products and ingredients on behalf of America’s dairy farmers. She is leading an effort to set industry-wide goals and build a long-term strategic plan for the dairy sustainability initiative.

Amir Alexander Hasson, Founder and CEO of United Villages, Inc., a venture capital-funded company spun out from MIT research in 2003 with networks in India, Cambodia, Rwanda and Paraguay. He has developed low-cost wireless technology and aims to empower two billion rural people by providing and delivering information, communication, goods, and services. He sees participation of the masses at the bottom of the world’s population pyramid in the global economy as a critical driver of growth and peace in the next century.

Magdalena Kot, Marketing Director of France and Belgium, William Wrigley Jr., Co., a subsidiary of Mars Inc. The company seeks to measure its performance with metrics that relate not only to financial results but also to its impacts on the well being of people and the planet-now and for future generations. Magdalena is working to translate the Wrigley commitment to sustainability into messages that empower and engage its consumers.

Drummond Lawson, Environmental Chemist-aka “Greenskeeper”-at method, a privately owned, environmentally-friendly cleaning products company based in San Francisco. Working with the company’s packaging designers, chemists and manufacturing and marketing groups, he ensures that environmental factors are fully understood and addressed and that the company is moving toward zero-waste manufacturing.

Miranda Magagnini, Co-CEO and Founder, IceStone, LLC, the leading green durable surface in the U.S., IceStone integrates “People, Profit and Planet” principles into its overall strategy for growth and success. She is working to grow and manage this new model of local manufacturing with 60 employees in a day-lit factory with state of the art recycling and waste/heat recovery, all while producing a “green countertop” made from 100% recycled glass in cement matrix.

Christopher McKnett
, Principal of Boston-based State Street Global Advisors (SSgA), the world’s largest institutional investment manager, and head of the firm’s global Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investment business. He is investigating the development of an institutional strategy comprised of market-rate short-term instruments issued by community-oriented financial institutions. The strategy would seek to deliver a double bottom line to SSgA clients and to society at large by providing access to capital that could boost job creation, increase home ownership, finance small business and encourage sustainable development while delivering a market rate of return to institutional investors.

Kamal Quadir
, Artist, Founder and CEO of CellBazaar, a telecommunications company that has introduced a mobile phone-based electronic marketplace for developing countries. The company has capitalized on the proliferation of cell phones in Bangladesh to connect millions of small buyers and sellers. He is now looking to move beyond the exchange of market information to facilitate electronic financial transactions.

Max Schorr
, Co-founder and Community Director, GOOD, an integrated media company for people who want to live well and do good. Its print magazine, launched in 2006, won four Folio: Magazine awards in 2008. He helped develop the editorial vision, business plan and innovative “Choose GOOD Campaign,” allowing magazine subscribers to direct the entire subscription fee to the nonprofit organization of their choice.

Sandra Taylor
, President and CEO, Sustainable Business International LLC, a consulting business launched in February 2008, employing her extensive experience in Corporate Social Responsibility with Starbucks Coffee Company and Public Affairs at Eastman Kodak. She assists companies-primarily in the agriculture, food and beverage sectors-in developing effective and responsible supply chain strategies.

Paul Tepfenhart
, Director of Strategy for Private Brands, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., manages development and execution of strategy for the large and growing portfolio of global Private Brands. His key areas of responsibility include the seamless integration of corporate equities, advancement of merchandising priorities, and the acceleration of sustainability results in the core business.

Kevin Thompson
, Senior Program Manager for Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs, IBM. As head of IBM’s Corporate Service Corps (CSC), he places teams of IBM’s top talent in strategic high-growth emerging markets to address core societal, educational and environmental challenges. CSC participants work on defined projects mapped to their skills and competencies. Their learning experiences in these markets offer emerging leaders at IBM the opportunity to become better informed global citizens.

Jocelyn Wyatt
, Social Impact Lead at IDEO, a major design consultancy, recognized by Fast Company as one of the world’s Top Ten Most Innovative Companies. She leads the community at IDEO working to promote design for social impact, which includes projects related to health, agriculture, water and education in the U.S. and the developing world.

For more information about the First Movers Fellowship, or about the 2009 Fellows, go to www.aspeninstitute.org/firstmovers.

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