Monday, 20 February 2017

The IFLAS Open Lecture series for spring 2017

Here at the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability we are just putting the final touches to our spring series of free Open Lectures. This year we will be presenting them as part of the University of Cumbria’s 10 Year celebrations, which will gather pace during 2017 towards the official birthday of the 1st August.

On Tuesday 21 March, we have our very own Professor Jem Bendell. His talk, entitled “The Future of Collaboration for Sustainability: in the company of revolutionaries?"

Over twenty years ago, large companies and environmental groups started teaming up to address global problems like deforestation and overfishing. Suddenly both sides realised the benefits of collaboration for sustainability. In 1997 Jem Bendell co-wrote "In the Company of Partners" about this phenomenon, with IFLAS Deputy Director Dr David Murphy. Today such partnerships are widespread. But what are they delivering on their original promise? As indicators of Sustainable Development give little cause for optimism, what might collaboration look like in future? In this 20th anniversary retrospective, Professor Bendell argues for a more revolutionary approach for partnership that focus on transforming economic and political systems to achieve a more rapid transition.

 Dr Jem Bendell is a Professor of Sustainability Leadership and Founder of the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS). A graduate of the University of Cambridge, he has twenty years of experience working on business sustainability, as a researcher, educator, facilitator, advisor & entrepreneur, having lived & worked in six countries. He is co-author of “Healing Capitalism” and founder of the Post-Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Leadership. Previously he helped create innovative alliances, including the Marine Stewardship Council, to endorse sustainable fisheries and The Finance Innovation Lab, to promote sustainable finance. The WEF appointed him a Young Global Leader in 2012. Professor Bendell now specialises in leadership development, offering coaching and training to senior executives from around the world who have an interest in sustainable enterprise and finance.

Next in the Spring series is a welcome return to a speaker who we first heard back in 2015. Mick Fowler is an award winning author, lecturer and climber. He was voted the ‘Mountaineers' Mountaineer’ in a poll by The Observer newspaper and in 2012 he was awarded the King Albert Mountain Award for his “outstanding contribution to mountaineering”.  In 2016 he and Paul Ramsden became the first pair to win a Piolet d'Or award for the third time, after their ascent of the 6,451-metre (21,175 ft) Gave Ding in the Nepal Himalayas. He was a senior leader in HM Revenue and Customs for many years. He has served as President of the Alpine Club and led numerous cutting edge mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayas. Mick has written two volumes of memoirs - On Thin Ice & Vertical Pleasure - both of which were shortlisted for the Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature.  He won the Jon Whyte Award for Mountain Literature at the 2005 Banff Mountain Book Festival and the best book prize at the Bormio Mountain Festival (Italy) in 2012.  Eric Vola compiled segments of books by Fowler and Saunders and published the collection in French as "Les Tribulations de Mick et Vic." It won the Grand Prix award at the Passy Book Festival in 2015.

 Mick’s talk, “On Thin Ice: Business Ethics and Climbing Ethics” will take place in April, the 24th to be exact. He will be exploring ethics and ethical choices in the field of climbing and parallels in the workplace. He will be discussing what steers climbers to make the ethical choices that they do, the consequences of those choices and whether or not those consequences were foreseeable or intended. Against a backdrop of stunning imagery Mick will be taking us through some of the heated ethical debates in the world of climbing, linking these to business and engaging the audience in discussion of those issues.

In May, a speaker new to IFLAS and The University of Cumbria – David Saddington. Influencing UK & international policy, fronting a pioneering climate media campaign that reached over 3 million people and giving a TEDx talk at London's O2 arena are just a few of David Saddington's achievements as a climate change activist since experiencing a stark introduction to the impacts of climate change as a thirteen year old. 

As a climate change communicator David works to raise the profile of the issue through blogging for media outlets like the Huffington Post, writing book contributions and organising innovative large scale public awareness events in the centre of UK cities involving outdoor cinema, interactive science experiments and panel debates. He is constantly looking for new and innovative to engage with the public and is currently exploring using Virtual Reality technology to tell the story of climate change. 
 After leading education reforms to get climate change on school curricula David has pursued his own academic work studying climate science and a broad range of climate impacts from the environmental to economic, security & health implications. 

David continues to be a contemporary voice and advocate for climate change action, speaking to a range of audiences around the world - from United Nations Conferences to MTV. David speaks about the opportunities and challenges from tackling climate change from his experience consulting on the implementation of carbon and energy policies and on sustainability initiatives with multinational corporations. He always seeks out innovation and ways to re-energise the conversation around this global challenge.

 On the 16th May, at this talk – “Turning science into stories: How do we get people to care about climate change?” David will say that most people are now aware of climate change and the threat it poses - but still, too few of us care enough to take action.

David has been a strong advocate for rapidly moving away from talking about climate change as an environmental issue and instead start getting to grips with the economic, health, security and social aspects.
In this IFLAS open lecture, which follows a year where ‘post-truth’ and ‘populist’ politics have reshaped the western world, David will share his ideas about what all of this means for climate action and how sustainability leaders need to respond. By turning science into stories David believes we can reenergise the conversation around this global challenge and create a more inclusive and diverse voice for change.


We are still working on our Open Lecture for June, but without giving too much away, it promises to be one of the biggest ever…


All Open lectures are free to attend, and will take place in the Percival Lecture Theatre, at the Ambleside campus of The University of Cumbria, from 5.30 until around 7pm on the dates indicated.


To register a place on any of the Open Lectures, contact

For further information about IFLAS, see our website, follow us on Twitter (@iflasinfo) or on Facebook (

Friday, 6 January 2017

Money and Society Summit in London - Celebrating 10th Anniversary

Our free online course on Money and Society is now in its 3rd year, with over 300 alumni from around the world. We hosted the first Money and Society Summit in Bali in December, bringing together 30 people interested in currency innovation for sustainable development. In April 2017 we are organising the same free event in London. It is one of the 10 free public events that IFLAS will be offering in 2017 to celebrate our University's 10th anniversary.

The Summit is open to people who have completed, or are enrolled on, our free Money and Society MOOC. The next cohort begins on February 19th 2017. Read about it and enrol from here.

The Summit will also be attended by participants on our Sustainable Exchange certificated course, which is one of the few University qualifications in currency innovation. Read about it here.

To read more about and register for the Summit on April 22nd see here.

Click here to see more about the other events we will run in 2017.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Building the Credit Commons - 1st Money and Society Summit

On December 12th, IFLAS, Community Forge and Complementary Currency Resource Centre hosted a free event for alumni of the University's free online course, and other interested persons.

The course and summit looked at the potential for innovation in currency and credit to promote sustainable development. In particular, the summit focused on the concept of building a "Credit Commons" whereby people and organisations can issue credit to each other in ways that enable trade and sharing without needing access to money or having to pay interest.

Co-author of the online course, Matthew Slater, presented this concept (video here). Professor Bendell facilitated the meeting, which convened 25 people from across the region.  He drew on their joint UN paper on collaborative credit systems, to set the scene of currency innovation for sustainable development.

One of the questions from a Bitcoin proponent led to discussion which inspire Matthew to write a blog on what cryptocurrency enthusiasts could learn from old school monetary activists and local currency practitioners, who have been working on this topic for a decade or more.

The discussions focused on how to engage people in an idea and initiative that are still very new. Three ways that people are becoming interested in the concept and project to build the Credit Commons were discussed. 

First, some people are (or will be) working on complementary currencies or collaborative credit systems, and want to align their work with the credit commons for mutual benefit.

Second, some people are interested in applying their skills, resources or networks to develop the credit commons concept and initiative.

Third, some people are interested in simply staying updated on how this initiative progresses.

For the first group, recommendations on how to engage include:
1 - read the credit commons whitepaper
2 - study the Money and Society MOOC (next iteration Feb 17th 2017)
3 - use a self assessment tool to help align your own work on complementary currencies with building the Credit Commons (this tool is in preparation)
4 - share your insights, for instance by a blog, on any changes in approach, software or governance to align your efforts with building the credit commons and send to matslats at fastmail dot com
5 - register your initiative on and add a Credit Commons Champion badge to your website and app (linking to; this registration system and badge will be launched in the new year
6 - include in future funding proposals the budget for upgrading systems to be able to relate to a future Credit Commons clearing system on a blockchain

For the second group, recommendations on how to engage include:
1 - read the Credit Commons whitepaper
2 - study the Money and Society MOOC (next iteration Feb 17th 2017)
3 - clarify what skills, resources or networks you can offer to the key functions of either communications, software development, fundraising or organisational development/management, to what degree (how much unpaid time) and join the Credit Commons task force by sharing these offers on an online Slack group (email matslats at fastmail dot com to request an invite)
4 - tell other relevant people about the whitepaper, MOOC and activities of the Credit Commons and work on things agreed within the slack  

For, the third group, recommendations on how to engage include:
1 - read the Credit Commons whitepaper
2 - if still interested, email matslats at fastmail dot com to request asking to be kept uptodate (rather than join the task force)

For any interested persons who want to deepen their knowledge and become qualified in the topic, then the 5 day residential Certificate in Sustainable Exchange starts in London on April 19th 2017. 

The 2017 Money and Society Summit will take place on April 22nd 2017, at the University's London Docklands Campus. It is free but only open to alumni of the Money and Society MOOC and relevant practitioners. It will focus on ideas for better communicating the Credit Commons and relevant collaborative credit initiatives. It is hosted by Professor Bendell, Matthew Slater and Leander Bindewald. To register, email

To sign up to the Money and Society MOOC (a free online course starting again February 17th 2017), see here.

A Year of Leadership Research and Commentary at the University of Cumbria

For many people 2016 was a year for wondering how we end up with the leaders we have. Some respond to that concern by calling for more and better leadership. At the University of Cumbria, leadership development has been a cross-cutting theme of our work for years, due to our focus on the public professions. With the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS) we extend that into the field of private sector management, supporting the performance of business leaders in addressing social and environmental issues.

Although primarily focused on education, the University of Cumbria is increasingly active in research on leadership and its development. The following are some of the highlights of our research outputs in 2016.

Leading schools is a key task in any country, and difficult within a context of budget cuts. Dr Paul Cammack, Senior Lecturer with our Institute of Education, worked on a new ‘Guide for the Evaluation of School Leaders’. This was an output from an Erasmus+ Project called ‘Evaluation of School Leaders and Teachers’ Practice’ with School Inspectors from Italy, Basque Country in Spain, Italy, Romania, Lithuania and the Open University, Cyprus. You can read more about the project here and follow them on twitter. Also in the education sector, Dr Sally Elton-Chalcraft presented research with Cumbria colleagues on the use of coaching techniques in leadership, at the British Educational Research Association. Sally can be contacted here for a copy.

At IFLAS, one of our research activities is to chronicle the leadership development practices we use on the suite of MBA programmes taught out of Ambleside. The Institute Manager Philippa Chapman and Dr Grace Hurford presented lessons from that on the University’s “Perspectives in Experiential Learning in Higher Education” conference last March. To read about this approach, contact Philippa.
As a Professor with IFLAS, I continued to develop a theory of sustainability leadership, working with Dr Neil Sutherland of UWE and Richard Little of Impact International. In the process, I presented a conference paper on the impasse in leadership studies, which is available here. In a related vein, we are now in the final stages of editing a special issue of the Sustainability Accounting Management and Policy Journal (SAMPJ) on Leadership and Sustainability.

That special issue came out of the Leading Wellbeing Festival in 2015, and in 2016 IFLAS continued to work with the Brathay Trust on curating engaged scholarship in this field, with the “Leading Wellbeing in Rural Contexts” conference in November 2016. Opened by our new Vice Chancellor, Professor Julie Mennell, and co-facilitated by IFLAS-associated Senior Lecturer Tony Randall, the event has inspired a special issue of the Journal of Corporate Citizenship. That will be edited by IFLAS Deputy Director Dr David Murphy, Professor Alison Marshall and Dr Elaine Bidmead, of our Cumbrian Centre for Health Technologies (CaCHeT). The deadline for abstracts is the end of January. Our 2017 event theme and date will be announced in the new year.

The UK referendum result on leaving the EU triggered a lot of debate about leadership, and there were leadership contests for the two largest parties. In the media, many refrains of leadership were heard, with ideas like “strong” leadership quoted unquestioningly. Therefore, I wrote an article for the Huffington Post that critiqued the narratives about leadership and suggested social movements require a different form. Then I was asked by the Young Global Leaders network of the World Economic Forum to share thoughts on spirituality and transformative leadership, also on the Huffington Post. I returned to some of the themes on a more conscious and reflective form of leadership in a Keynote speech on Climate Leadership, at Griffith University in Australia. I shared my background notes on the talk here.

In 2017 I begin a research project, backed by Impact International, to explore how successful leaders in business, government and civil society, who operate internationally, perceive leadership on global dilemmas, like climate change, inequality, financial crisis and extremism. I would welcome enquiries from anyone interested in cosponsoring this work to help us reach a wider audience ( I will be sharing some of the initial insights of this research with colleagues at a one day event “Questioning Leadership” on July 18th in Carlisle. The event is primarily for internal collaboration, and will be marketed in February, but if interested already, contact Professor Pete Boyd.

In 2017 I anticipate welcoming two new PhD students to IFLAS to work with me on leadership development in the face of environmental dilemmas. Both the sustainability and leadership fields have been pervaded by ideas of potency and positivity. At first glance, that may sound sensible. But  in our research, we will be exploring how this framing is being shaken by recent information, and how it might even be restricting creative and collective responses. These PhD students will join a growing team, including Jo Chaffer, who started with IFLAS in 2016 to conduct doctoral research on leadership development through outdoor influences on identity.

If interested in experiencing our approach to leadership development, I recommend our 6 day course in September, which forms the start of either a Post Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Leadership or the new MA in Leadership Development. We were delighted that a senior leadership trainer at Impact wrote an article explaining why, in his opinion it is such a good course for reflective professionals. You can see a video of where we are based and why study with us here. If interested, please get in touch via 

I look forward to engaging in 2017.
Professor Jem Bendell
Founder, IFLAS

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Money and Society Newsletter

IFLAS runs a free online course twice a year on what we think is one of the most important topics in the world at a time of a collapse in support for neoliberalism. Here is a newsletter for people who have completed the course (200+)... 

The First Summit 

It is just over a month until the free Money and Society summit in Bali. Your MOOC co-authors Jem and Matthew will gather with complementary currency experts in the region, including Stephen DeMeuleneure. The agenda is now available. The Summit is mainly for people who have done the MOOC. However, please tell your friends and colleagues if they are interested in the topic, as they can attend if they prepare by watching a video of the first lesson.

A European Summit?

We could consider running a similar free 1 day gathering in 2017 in either UK (April or July), or Spain or Greece (mid September). Please let us know by November 30th if you would definitely attend one, and also if you could consider a donation to help with the costs. Email

Get Qualified

Now that you have done the MOOC you could progress and get a qualification, by taking the residential course in London for 5 days from April 19th. As Di said, its "bloody brilliant". More info here: here.

News and Views

Professor Bendell wrote an article on fintech regulation in the European Finance Review.

Thought experiment, what happens when a central bank splits in two?

Continuing bad news about the dollar's status as the global reserve currency.

Effect of the recession on the real economy is that more large ships are being scrapped. Bear in mind that large ships are the most polluting of all transport.

Eight years of failed bailouts are leading some to question keynsian economics - if a bailout using money borrowed from the self-same recipients is really Keynesian! Japan edges closer to a bailout of ordinary people, helicopter money. 

For a longer read, here is Nick Szabo, expert in currency and cryptocurrency, looking at ancient artefacts and speculating about their function as a store of value. We found it very thought provoking, but always be aware of the absence of credit from such discussions. So far archeologists have only ever found corpses who have taken their commodities to the grave, never their credit.

Finally if you like videos we found this interview with economist Alex Salter enlightnening, on an Austrian perspective of central banking.

The Next MOOC

February 17th is when we kick off again. Please tell your family, colleages, friends and enemies to sign up for the amazing experience. The link for info:

The Next Newsletter

In late January we will contact you to ask you to consider co-tutoring during the MOOC. In 6 months we will say hi again with a newsletter. Thanks to Martin for sending in some links for this one. Please submit really interesting articles to

From your MOOCmeisters, 
Jem and Matthew

PS: like this and want to subscribe? Sorry you cant, as you have to complete the MOOC to become an alumnus 

Friday, 21 October 2016

How can cities improve the lives of their citizens by creating local currencies?

How can cities improve the lives of their citizens by creating local currencies?

This was the topic of a keynote given by IFLAS Doctoral Researcher Leander Bindewald, at an event in Israel on the future cities.

IFLAS continues to promote awareness of how currency innovation could influence sustainable development. This includes support for a practitioner summit in Indonesia in December 2016 and a free online course which starts again in February 2017. A certificated course on currency innovation is also co-taught by Leander Bindewald in April in London.

Leander co-authored the key text on how to design and implement local currencies, published by the New Economics Foundation... "People Powered Money."

Monday, 26 September 2016

Leading Wellbeing in Rural Contexts - Book now!

Leading Wellbeing in Rural Contexts - ONE DAY CONFERENCE
Organised jointly by Brathay Trust and University of Cumbria
1 November 2016, University of Cumbria, Ambleside campus
Supporting wellbeing in an environment where providers (public, private, third sector, individuals and volunteers) are more professionally isolated requires different ways of working.


This one-day conference turns the spotlight onto the unique challenges presented, as well as providing a forum for exploring responses and opportunities. The conference showcases good practice case studies from cross-sector contexts, including health and social care, uniform services, education and enterprise to name a few. A framework developed by the Cumbria Rural Health Forum will help us explore diverse practices, in order to draw out generalizable responses and learning for common challenges in rural contexts. These include access, community engagement and resource mobilisation. This will lead to Open Space discussions to ensure critical themes provide important learning to take away for wider sharing and application. This process contributes to an emerging rural cross-sector forum for ongoing networking, resources and communication.
Arrival and coffee
9:30 – 9:45
Welcome and introductions
9:45 – 11:00
‘The challenges of leading wellbeing in rural contexts’
11:00 – 11:30
Coffee and networking
11:30 – 13:00
Open Space session 1
13:00 – 14:00
14:00 – 15:30
Open Space session 2
15:30 – 16:30
Closing circle

Call for papers: The conference will also coincide with the launch of a call for papers for a special issue of The Journal of Corporate Citizenship (JCC) published by Greenleaf. The issue will focus on the themes of leadership, wellbeing and rurality. We welcome ideas from you on the day.

We are pleased to announce a great line up of speakers for this event.
The conference will be opened by the newly appointed Vice Chancellor of the University of Cumbria, Professor Julie Mennell and Chief Executive of the Brathay Trust, Godfrey Owen.
A broad based panel discussion will start the conference discussion, with speakers John Roberts, Head Teacher Consultant; Mark Pannone, Superintendent, Operational Support; Cumbria Constabulary; Suresh Rao, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Frank Peck, Director of the Centre for Economic Development, University of Cumbria and Lucy Maynard, Head of Research at Brathay Trust. These speakers between them bring a wealth of experience, knowledge and inspiration across education, justice, health and business sectors, providing a great introduction to the rest of the day in which participants will contribute their views and ideas.
We will be using the Open Space framework to facilitate discussions, so please sign up and come along with your ideas. Registration for the conference is essential and can be done at our online store £50 full price. £20 concessions. 

Concessions will be for; Voluntary Sector workers, Students, Unemployed.
A limited number of complimentary tickets are available to students, voluntary sector and unemployed, please contact:
For more information: please contact Martin Pyrah/IFLAS on 015394 30228 or