The future of learning is alive: It all depends on attitude and passion! 2014/04/02 - Prize-winners of the Leonardo Award 2014 selected

Awards go to educational pioneers: Prize-winners of the Leonardo Award 2014 selected

In 2014 the Leonardo – European Corporate Learning Award will once again award bold and persistent visionaries in the field of education in the sense of Leonardo da Vinci. Visionaries who have managed to understand and implement learning as defined by the UNESCO’s four pillar model for the educational demands of the 21st century: Learning to live together; Learning to know; Learning to do; Learning to be. This year the European education award goes to Prof. Dr. h.c. Hasso Plattner in the category of "Thought Leadership", to Calvin Grieder, Managing Director and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bühler Management AG, in the category of "Company Transformation" and to Caroline Jenner, CEO of JA-YE Europe, in the category of "Crossing Borders".

Implementation of beacon projects

The Leonardo Award honours organizations and individuals who, in the era of globalisation, devote their zeal and lifeblood to the search for innovative solutions to the daunting challenges in the field of learning, be it in a company, an organization or society. They have all initiated projects with model character. In these projects the focus lies on the interplay between knowledge and learning in companies and society, as well as the importance for the lifestyle of individuals and the success of businesses.

The prize was awarded for the first time in 2010 to Professor Jacques Delors. Since 2012, the international Leonardo jury has now presented the award in three categories: "Thought Leadership", "Company Transformation" and "Crossing Borders". The overlaps between the categories are intentional, as multidimensionality, in the sense of the namesake Leonardo da Vinci, is understood as part of the holistic consideration of education.

"It's about the attitude!"

"In this day and age, we need more than smart tutorial programs", explains Leonardo Secretary Günther Szogs. The Leonardo Award is characterized by a revolutionary approach to the issue of knowledge, which does not shy away from necessary drastic changes in the communication of knowledge in companies, and at the same time takes into account specific cultural needs in the context of a European perspective. This approach is characterised by a brave procedure to reshape the relationship between all those involved in the knowledge and production process, whether participants in companies themselves, customers, suppliers or participants from society. Whether the realignment of energy policy, demographic change, or the wide differences in the economic strengths of various regions – dealing with all of these issues goes along with communicative dealing in companies – based on education that promotes insight. This approach to learning is reflected in the projects for which these distinguished personalities stand.

This concern of the Leonardo Award is today understood to be particularly important by many societal decision makers. "Although we only created the award a few years ago, it has been greeted with a very positive response" confirms Günther Szogs. This is confirmed by the support and patronage on various levels: From the city of Bonn with Lord Mayor Jürgen Nimptsch via the Federal Ministry of Education and Research under Federal Minister Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka or the International Centre for Vocational Education and Training (UNESCO-UNEVOC) and the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz.

Thought Leadership: Please imitate

The Leonardo category "Thought Leadership" focuses on personalities who call established assumptions about the organization of education into question and also do not shy away from drawing fundamentally new conclusions. This year’s award in this category goes to Prof. Dr. h.c. Hasso Plattner, who, amongst other things, is the founder of the Hasso-Plattner-Institute in Potsdam and SAP AG.
"In an outstanding manner you are involved in the development and distribution of highly advanced learning and teaching methods for science and research, be it at the D-School in Stanford or at the Hasso-Plattner-Institute. However, your pioneer role is by no means restricted to academics", explains the Leonardo Advisory Board and Steering Committee in its explanatory statement to Professor Plattner. The award winner, who has played a significant part in the development of information technologies, also combines that with social sciences, the statement goes on. "Bringing together people with diverse professional and cultural backgrounds has not only networking purposes, but is used by you as a catalyst for collective creative action in modern society."

Company Transformation: A holistic approach to company training

With the Leonardo Award in the category “Company Transformation” the Leonardo jury decorates personalities who have implemented holistic, innovative approaches for Corporate Learning and therefore serve as inspiration for 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. The award in 2014 goes to Calvin Grieder, Chief Executive Officer and President of Bühler Management AG. Bühler AG is a specialist and technology partner for machines, equipment and services for the processing of staple foods, as well as the production of high-quality materials. The core technologies of the company lie in the area of mechanical and thermal process engineering.

"At Bühler, the core visions in product development and projects, and the attitudes towards learning technologies and corporate learning are not only interconnected, but they form integral parts of a company policy that is based on maximum responsibility towards customers, stakeholders and employees," explains the official statement of the Leonardo Committee. "The company succeeded in establishing a stance and the necessary infrastructure, in which mutual respect for the variety of cultures in the company is completely natural", underlines Günther Szogs. The Leonardo jury found "ClassUnlimited" particularly impressive, which is a program that allows apprentices to take part in a four-month period abroad during their last year, without missing the regular classes at the vocational school: Classrooms are linked with each other over thousands of kilometres through interactive buttons, sensory cameras and microphones. The participants practically sit in the same classroom, and can learn together and exchange ideas across geographic boundaries.

Crossing Borders: Critical scrutiny and new approaches

The Leonardo category "Crossing Borders" focuses on companies and personalities who tread completely new paths in their alternative approaches. This year the award goes to Caroline Jenner, Chief Executive Officer of JA-YE Europe. In Europe, JA-YE is the largest provider of educational programs, promoting responsible entrepreneurship with unconventional, playful, creative and evocative methods. Following the previous years’ winners Prof. Sugata Mitra, inventor of the "Hole in the Wall" project, and Gary Copitch from "People's Voice Media", this year’s award goes to a project that takes a completely different approach: The Organization reaches 3.2 million students and pupils in 39 countries. "JA-YE is a strong example of how companies, institutions, foundations and individuals can be encouraged to work together to equip young people with the experiences and skills they need to become responsible co-creators in the global economy", emphasizes Günther Szogs the decision of the international Leonardo jury.

Grand award ceremony at Petersberg

The Leonardo – European Corporate Learning Award will be presented in the evening of October 13, 2014: The laureates will receive their awards during a grand ceremony in the Steigenberger Grand Hotel Petersberg, near Bonn, the former guest house of the federal government.


Contact to register for the award ceremony:
Sandra Schall
HRM Research Institute GmbH
Rheinkaistr. 2
68159 Mannheim
Tel: +49 621 40 166-335