Discussing SMIs with UofT’s Sustainability Management Students

Perspectives and Updates

Applied sustainability management

by | Oct 15, 2023

I attended the October 2023 Sustainability: Transdisciplinary Theory, Practice, and Action (STTPA) Conference, hosted by the Institute for Management and Innovation at the University of Toronto Mississauga, and following the event, I was invited to lead a module of a course titled “Applied Sustainability Management” within the Master of Science in Sustainability Management program. While many within our network teach at academic institutions, I was particularly excited about this series of lectures because it was made available as an opportunity to introduce systemic management innovation and to introduce several SMI examples with relevant case studies.

The students were very bright and engaged deeply. Naturally, the disruptive nature of SMIs calls the authenticity and utility of many mainstream sustainability approaches and best practices into question. I felt sharing practical experiences and personal stories made a world of difference as it enabled them to connect with the realities of attempting to facilitate change on the ground, including why it is so necessary to employ solutions that are adequately designed for the complexity of the organizational and sustainability challenges we face. Being that most of the students already have some professional experience, it was motivating to experience them being inspired by the potential SMIs have to break through deeply rooted barriers that limit progress and affect meaningful change at the highest levels of the organization. This experience has also opened my eyes to the need for and potential in mobilizing SMIs through academic institutions as part of empowering future leaders with the resources they need to be successful.