A day defined by corporate learning: Educational pioneers honoured with European education award 2014/10/20 - Leonardo award presented at Petersberg

Group Photo

On October 13, everything at the Petersberg near Bonn revolved around visionary perspectives and innovative implementations in corporate learning: Prof. Dr. h.c. Hasso Plattner, founder of SAP and the Hasso-Plattner-Institute, Caroline Jenner of the organization JA-YE Europe, and Calvin Grieder, CEO of Bühler AG in Switzerland, received the Leonardo - European Corporate Learning Award 2014.

“The historic venue of Petersberg is the perfect place to talk about visions of a sustainable future," said Gabriele Klingmüller, Mayor of Bonn, in her welcoming address to the winners and some 150 guests, calling back to memory the groundbreaking conferences and meetings between heads of state, which took place in the Petersberg grand hotel in the past.

Passionate and inspiring commitment to learning

The Leonardo Award honours personalities who devote their zeal and passion to the important issue of learning – be it in companies, organizations or in society – and have initiated beacon projects in the respective areas. For the Leonardo, this year marked something of an anniversary. It was the fifth time the award was presented by the international Leonardo jury to practical, visionary thinkers who are committed to a responsible and far-sighted handling of knowledge.

Thought Leadership: Those who think differently

The award in the category "Thought Leadership" went to Prof. Dr. h.c. Hasso Plattner, founder of the Hasso-Plattner-Institute and SAP, who unfortunately had to cancel on short notice for personal reasons. He was represented by the President of the Hasso-Plattner-Institute, Prof. Dr. Christoph Meinel and the new Executive Board member of SAP, Luka Mucic. “With the 'Thought Leadership'-Leonardo, we honour personalities who have managed to create excellent intellectual learning rooms," explained Corinna Pregla, presenter of the evening and herself a Leonardo ambassador. “But that's not all: This Leonardo focuses on those leaders, who have the courage and the wisdom to question traditional convictions of learning."

The award was presented by the eulogists Prof. Leif Edvinsson, winner of the "European Award for Innovation Thought Leadership 2013" and the social scientist and philosopher Dr. Bernhard von Mutius. In his speech, von Mutius concerned himself with the issue of thought leadership and confronted the guests of the evening with two questions: “Do we sometimes think about how others can do better and grow, or do we just think about ourselves?" and "do we sometimes call the ‘crazy ones’, those who think differently in our company?" That is exactly what makes Hasso Plattner a "Thought Leader". “He went out to seek people who tried to help others to do better, to look for the ‘crazy ones’, the people who taught differently. He brought these people together and founded a school ..."

Crossing Borders: Making young people responsible co-creators

The Leonardo Award in the category "Crossing Borders" went to JA-YE Europe, an educational network that promotes responsible business thinking with unconventional, playful and stimulating activities for young people. Caroline Jenner, the organization’s CEO Europe, accepted the award on behalf of the company. “I am an adopted European. That is why it is a particular privilege for me to receive this significant European award ", Mrs. Jenner thanked the jury.

For the eulogists Dr. Thomas Grünewald, State Secretary in the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Prof. Dagmar Woyde-Köhler, Leonardo ambassador and co-founder and former CEO of the EnBW Akademie, it was clear that the Leonardo may be the first, but would certainly not be the last award in the career of Caroline Jenner. “When it comes to entrepreneurial spirit in Europe, it's Caroline Jenner who speaks and who people listen to," they pointed out. “Your résumé, Caroline, has an encouraging message for all of us: If you can, just go ahead and do it!"

Company Transformation: Innovative approaches for learning in a company

The Leonardo in the category "Company Transformation" went to Calvin Grieder, CEO and President of Bühler Management AG in Switzerland. What impressed the Leonardo jury was, for example, "ClassUnlimited", a program that allows students to go abroad for four months during their final year of training without missing the regular classes at the vocational school. “With this program, you foster a culture of mutual understanding at Bühler," explained eulogist Peter Palme, Swiss Leonardo ambassador and Senior Int. Change & Organization Manager at Feldschlösschen AG, together with Dr. Hasso Kaempfe, who, as a former CEO of Jägermeister, was able to understand the challenges faced by Calvin Grieder at Bühler AG when combining a traditional family business with the demands of the digital age.

“We are very overwhelmed to receive this award," said Calvin Grieder and dedicated the award to the approximately 600 trainees at the company. “We wanted to attract the best people to our company. Which is why we had to create something very special," Grieder explained the idea behind the program. “How do we bring these young people out into the world to show them how beautiful it is there?" He expressed his hope that the award would help to further spread the concept.

Only the visible part of the "Leonardo"

“The ceremony is just the tip of the iceberg," suggested Alexander R. Petsch, founder of the HRM Research Institute and initiator of the Leonardo Awards. “What we have achieved over the past years is a close international network of experts from different fields." It was thus that the members of the network had already started the day with workshops in the morning concerning various areas and contexts of learning and work. The idea was also emphasized by Günther M. Szogs, Secretary of the Leonardo Awards and also a member of the Leonardo Steering Committee: "We should consider that Leonardo celebration is no goal in itself, but a kick-off to carry the spirit of this award courageously into everyday life."

The Leonardo representatives were particularly proud of the presence and dedicated participation of Bonn's Mayor Jürgen Nimptsch and Dr. Shyamal Majumdar, Head of UNESCO-UNEVOC, in the morning at the Leonardo Agora.