The Flourishing Back Story


The Flourishing Enterprise Institute represents the evolution of a thriving global community of practice known as the Strongly Sustainable Business Models Group, originally founded in 2012 at the Strategic Innovation Lab at OCAD University in Toronto.

The Strongly Sustainable Business Model Group (SSBMG), now the Flourishing Enterprise Initiative (FEI), is a growing network consisting of thousands of practitioners, academics, and innovators. The SSBMG met in over 100 monthly sessions designed to facilitate connection and the exchange of knowledge. Leading members have collectively produced dozens of peer-reviewed articles and delivered countless workshops and conference presentations related to flourishing.

VERiS (Viessmann Centre for Engagement and Research in Sustainability) is home to the FEI. As an organizational member of Wilfrid Laurier University, VERiS is governed by a board of community and university leaders led by the Centre’s Director, Dr Manuel Riemer. VERiS partnered to jointly secure a Connection Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Funding was secured to host a founding forum to support the transition of the SSBMG from a volunteer-driven community of practice into the FEI as a functional applied research hub. This successful three-day event engaged over 30 prominent sustainability and management leaders and scholars, including several globally recognized experts representing 25 organizations across North America and Europe.

Building on the momentum of the founding forum, the FEI has steadily grown and matured as a developing research institute, including transitioning from the SSMBG to the Community for Flourishing Enterprise (C4FE). The FEI has since collaboratively led several SSHRC-funded research projects focused on studying the application of systemic management innovation (SMI) projects within leading Canadian municipalities. In partnership with VERiS, the FEI has also led the development of an international applied research partnership that features nearly a dozen leading national and international, municipally-focused NGOs, with a focus on matching complexity and overcoming barriers limiting progress toward sustainability goals by leveraging SMI.