Leaving the crisis behind with an alternative perspective of learning 2013/06/18 - Leonardo-Award 2013

Educational pioneers to receive the Leonardo Award 2013 – Grand award ceremony on 16th September at Petersberg

In today's globalized world, education is the future’s capital and continuous education the basis for our knowledge society. Skilled employees and their qualifications can play a decisive part in dealing with the crisis in Europe. However, learning in school and learning in companies are not always compatible. The laureates of the Leonardo – European Corporate Learning Award provide new dimensions. The Leonardo Award rewards brave visions of learning and the personalities behind them in order to highlight the importance of the issue even more to the public. On 16th September 2013 Prof. Dorothy Leonard will receive the award in the category “Thought Leadership”, Nick van Dam in the category “Company Transformation”, and Gary Copitch in the category “Crossing Borders”.

The Leonardo Award honours personalities who have dedicated their time and effort to the important issue of learning, be it in a company, in an organisation or in society, and have initiated beacon projects in this area. Similarly to last year, an international jury will grant the Leonardo Award 2013 in the three categories “Thought Leadership”, "Company Transformation” and “Crossing Borders”: The three overlapping categories support the decisive idea advocated by the eponym Leonardo da Vinci, i.e. multi dimensionality and a holistic approach to education.

Thought Leadership: open to imitation

The Leonardo category “Thought Leadership” is aimed at personalities who, through their activities, have inspired imitators to understand education in the sense of the UNESCO’s four pillar model on the educational demands of the 21st century – i.e. learning to live together, learning to acquire knowledge, learning to act and learning for life – and to implement these accordingly. Here the main aim is also to question existing assumptions and to not shy away from drawing completely new conclusions. This year’s award in this category goes to Prof. Dorothy Leonard, emeritus holder of the William J. Abernathy professorship for business administration at the Harvard Business School, who, according to the Leonardo advisory board, not only proclaims a holistic approach, but actually lives by it.

“Dorothy Leonard invites people to undertake a fascinating, both intellectual as well as practical journey with her. In doing so, she addresses her ‘fellow travellers’ not only in their own specific field of expertise, but also approaches them as personalities who are aware of their social and personal responsibility and reciprocal effect”, Günther M. Szogs, Secretary of the “Leonardo”, explains the decision of the advisory board. Her well-founded advice is equally welcomed by small start-ups and unknown companies as well as political decision-makers and fellow researchers. “Her publications, such as ‘When sparks fly: igniting creativity in groups’, ‘Wellsprings of Knowledge: Building and Sustaining the Sources of Innovation’ or ‘Deep smarts: how to cultivate and transfer enduring business wisdom’ make her role as a trailblazer clear. Furthermore, they embody what we call the Leonardo spirit", continues the advisory board. Because, in his day, Leonardo da Vinci provided a hitherto unprecedented example of how traditional and incoherent schools of art and science could refer to each other in such a way as to work in a highly professional manner and at the same time foster knowledge, empathy and passion. “That is exactly the kind of combination of areas that are often ignored today", confirms Leonardo Secretary Szogs.

Company Transformation: a holistic perspective of company learning

The Leonardo Award in the category “Company Transformation” decorates personalities who have implemented holistic, innovative approaches for corporate learning and have thus inspired other businesses. The award particularly focuses on the interaction of various aspects of personnel development – from knowledge and talent management as well as training and e-learning concepts for life-long learning to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and intercultural approaches. It is this reciprocal action, in particular, on which the work of this year’s laureate in the category “Company Transformation”, Nick van Dam, Global Chief Learning Officer and Director Human Capital at Deloitte, Netherlands, is based.

“Nick van Dam combines the hard job of a practitioner in the area of learning organisation with the propagation of well-founded advice on knowledge-based strategies and methods in both publications as well as in front of influential committees, companies and initiatives”, is how the Leonardo advisory board explains its decision. “His passion for the education of people does not stop with grownups.” His advocacy of the ‘e-Learning for Kids Foundation’, which provides free online learning tools for children of all ages is also fascinating.

Crossing Borders: questioning and challenging established methods

The Leonardo category “Crossing Borders” places a focus on exceptional new developments that question the foundations of common ways of thinking and thus also influence the art of learning in companies. This award honours personalities who also do not shy away from alternative approaches and thus bring about fundamental changes due to their impact on people, companies and society. This year, Gary Copitch, Chief Executive Officer of People's Voice Media, will follow in the footsteps of last year’s laureate Prof. Sugata Mitra.

“Gary Copitch and his organisation People’s Voice Media have lifted the issue of ‘people education’ onto a completely new level thanks to their work", explains the Leonardo advisory board. People’s Voice Media encourages the members of socially excluded communities to not only acquire new knowledge, but also to have a voice in their community by taking part in so-called Community Reporter Training. “This programme is aimed at empowering people to voice their situation and point of view in order to support the dialogue between citizens and public authorities", the advisory board continues.

Grand award ceremony at Petersberg

The “Leonardo Award” will be presented on the 16th of September 2013: The laureates will receive their awards during a grand ceremony in the Steigenberger Grand Hotel Petersberg, the former guest house of the federal government, near Bonn. The evening will be hosted by the artist Corinna Pregla, who is known as a representative of "Germany - Land of Ideas" and is also a member of the Leonardo Advisory Board from this year onwards, as well as Michael Spencer, the internationally successful, music-oriented communication expert from Britain.


Contact to register for the award ceremony:
Sandra Schall
HRM Research Institute GmbH
Rheinkaistraße 2
68159 Mannheim
Tel: +49 621 40 166-335
E-Mail: info@leonardo-award.eu