In response to the growing movement for mindful leadership, entrepreneurship and purpose-driven business, the Plato Project has launched a new business school, an online publication and event series.
Founded by directors Omar de Silva, Mark McCoach and James Tutton, the Plato Project responds to the need for a new, integrated form of business education to serve a new way of doing business. The school is called The Academy and the publication, and associated event series, is called The Dialogue.
The past decade, underscored by the global financial crisis, has highlighted the need for a more mindful, conscious capitalism.
“For us entrepreneurial success means wealth creation and effective social impact,” Tutton says. I think we are going through a major shift where individuals and the companies they work with are seeking to bring purpose into what they do. The potential for impact in their spheres of influence is tremendously exciting,” he adds.
International research indicates that trustworthy, for-benefit, business cultures now outperform peer organisations in long-term success, while The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016 has found that the largest segment of the workforce, young professionals, are choosing organisations that share their personal values.
Tutton continues, “The most obvious benefit of encouraging and enabling a purpose-driven view of business and success is the vast majority of economic power rests in businesses, whether small and medium-sized enterprises or large corporates.”
He says there is a clear link between a more mindful, conscious way of doing business and a new focus on leadership, personal skills and emotional intelligence, as evidenced in Harvard Business Review.
“Leadership and interpersonal skills are essential to professional success. We want to play an instrumental part in helping people to explore mindfulness and to build their emotional intelligence, to give them the tools to pursue their professional aspirations,” says Tutton.
“If corporate organisations want to thrive and retain the brightest people they must evolve to offer people purpose and also ensure that the softer leadership skills around mindful leadership are supported. Those who don’t respond to these social shifts will have a very hard time in the coming years.”
De Silva says, “With the Plato Project we are seeking to redefine business success and provide the tools to an emerging group of entrepreneurs and corporate leaders so that they can take that thinking out there into business culture in Australia. In order to redefine business success, we need to reimagine what business education is as well.”
This reimagining of business education begins with industry integration. Students apply learnings around leadership, the growth mindset and entrepreneurial resilience to real-world assessments that they define. These may be based on their own start-ups, current employment or future plans. Students also have the option to work with real-world mentors drawn from the business environment, including with industry partners such as PwC, Carsales, M&C Saatchi and REA Group.
“There’s a need for better integration between business and education,” de Silva says. “In this way students will be able to add value immediately, contributing to the needs of organisations or their own start-ups from the get-go. That way they can create financial and social value at every step.”
The Academy has partnered with Education Co, a strategic assembly of companies transforming the education landscape to deliver tangible outcomes through technology; McCoach is a director of the organisation. Courses are delivered in a flexible, hybrid learning model of face-to-face and online, with case studies drawn from thought leaders such as Harvard Business Review, The Economist and World Economic Forum.
Interpersonal skills are taught as part of an industry integrated “stackable” program that focuses on mindful leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation. Stackable courses, where students select their pace, enable participants to focus only on the most useful and industry-relevant subjects that are immediately applicable to their career or entrepreneurial enterprise.
Complementing The Academy, The Dialogue publication and associated event series voice the collective perspectives, ideas and insights of The Plato Project’s extended community, to foster serious and meaningful conversations that enables and supports purpose-driven entrepreneurs and business leaders.