Pedro Oliveira, scientific coordinator of the Paradigm Shift programme and holder of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Chair for Impact Economics, talks a little about the initiative that will take place in November and December. The Paradigm Shift is a programme that seeks to transform organisations towards a sustainable future.

ME Magazine - How did Paradigm Shift come about?

Pedro Oliveira - In a world of constant change, organisations are increasingly seeking solutions for the transformation that these changes require. For example, the crisis we are experiencing has created an additional set of challenges, new and unprecedented, but also opportunities that we hope organisations can seize, transforming themselves, and contributing to a more sustainable society, resilient and prepared for future challenges. Paradigm Shift intends to help organisations in these transformation processes, showing that this transformation cannot ignore sustainability. We live in a world where consumers are demanding more ethical and sustainable products and services, talent is looking for companies that have a purpose and there are new regulations all the time. The organisations of the future are those that will be able to reinvent themselves and seize the transformation opportunity imposed also by the pandemic in adopting a sustainable approach to their journey of continuous transformation. However, this new approach is not clear, creates tensions and challenges that are unknown to organisations and require a specific space for discussion and analysis. Paradigm Shift aims to respond to this challenge. 

PME Mag. - What is the aim of this initiative?

P. O. - This program, co-created by Nova SBE Executive Education and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, aims to create a space for discussion of organizational transformation processes through the lens of sustainability. We intend to bring together top Portuguese executives as well as academics to discuss the challenges of a sustainable approach and share best practices from leading organisations in this field. We intend to help organisations reflect on the implications that this type of transformation has on each of them in particular.

PME Mag. - What is the training programme you offer?

P. O. - The programme consists of three days in the classroom and a follow-up session. In the classroom, the presentation of the new concepts is always followed by moments for discussion and sharing of challenges and points of view. Practical cases of those who have found good solutions to the challenges posed by sustainability are also shared. With the follow up session, the aim is to create a space to reflect on the implications of the new learning in the specific case of each company.

PME Mag. - What topics will be covered during the programme?

P. O. - Throughout three modules, participants will be guided by the themes of sustainability and how it can no longer be ignored in organizational transformation processes. From the analysis of global trends, to sustainability and financial markets and sustainable finance, through the leadership of transformation processes, analysis of success cases and implications in the culture of organisations and empowerment of their human resources. The role of the community in business models and the implications in the specific case of each participating company will be highlighted. 

PME Mag. - How many places does the initiative have? How much does it cost to participate?

P. O. - We have 25 vacancies open to C-Level and leadership profiles in the areas of production, operations, marketing, sustainability and social responsibility, among others. Participation costs 2,995 euros. In order to support organisations in their sustainable transformation, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation awards grants[find out more about the grants] worth the full tuition fee to people with a leadership profile in social organisations or SMEs, with growth potential and wishing to initiate the transition to more sustainable business models. The aim is to support the participation of these organisations in the programme, as a way to help them leverage this process. Applications are open until 12 October at 12:00. The second edition of the programme is scheduled for 23 and 24 November and 4 December 2020.

PME Mag. - Regarding the first edition, how many companies were there? What is the feedback?

P. O. - Participation in the first edition included CEOs, board members and top directors from 20 companies and social organisations. 

See the testimonies of the participants

"The programme is very diverse, it has a lot of content, a lot of experiences, a lot of participants with very rich perspectives and contributions" 

Paula Carneiro, Director of Corporate Human Resources @ EDP

"It exceeded my expectations both for the potential for discussion and also for the diversity of the people on the course"

Sofia Fernandes, Corporate Director @ Americas, Pestana Hotel Group

"It makes the mind more elastic, you realise that it's easier to do some things that might be disruptive, than what you assume when you don't have the training"

João Paiva Mendes, CEO @ Boost Portugal

"It is an excellent initiative to put impact on the agenda of business decision-makers and to bring together a selection of leaders from the most diverse sectors of the Portuguese economy who in some way want to be part of that transition."

Pritesh D. Kotecha, CMO and partner @ Go Parity.

Article originally published by PME Magazine

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