Challenges and Opportunities in Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy

JULY 23–27, 2018 (MONDAY TO FRIDAY, 9AM–5PM)
RYERSON UNIVERSITY, TORONTO
IN-PERSON / LIVESTREAM / ONLINE
OPEN-ACCESS / QUALIFIES FOR PROFESSIONAL ACCREDITATION

Course Description

This class serves as an introduction to the concept of ‘transition’ to a low carbon, sustainable and just economy and explores the disruptive implications of transition for all aspects of society and the economy.

The political, economic, social, technological, legal and ecological drivers for transition are discussed and debated and students are encouraged to consider the implications of those unfolding drivers for social/community systems, financial/capital systems, energy systems, transportation systems, food systems, water systems and urban/infrastructure systems in Canada and around the world.

Students will learn basic principles of strategy and design, and explore approaches to effective leadership and cooperation across sectors: public, private and civil society.

The importance of an inter-disciplinary and entrepreneurial mindset to addressing challenges and enhancing value through sustainable innovation will be demonstrated with reference to case studies and the personal interests of students in the class.

Learning Objectives / Outcomes

Students completing the class will develop knowledge and experience of:

  • Applying systems thinking, design thinking and principles of social innovation within the constraints of a ‘one planet’ reality.
  • Applying drivers of the world’s transition to a low carbon economy to real organizations in different social realms — turning complex challenges to opportunity in public, private and civil society/community organizations and social enterprises.
  • Developing mindsets and personal skills needed to lead organizations pursuing transition through new forms of value creation.
  • Organizational strategy and product design for transition in different systems: social, financial, energy, transportation, food, water and urban/infrastructure.
  • How to access and apply further learning in transition-related topics.

Class Dynamics

For in-person attendees, this class will run like a typical intensive class: ten sessions of approximately 3.5 hours spread over five days. There will be a maximum of 40 students per class to ensure optimum dynamics and team diversity.

For online attendees there will be limited opportunities to engage with the ‘in-person’ class, but it will be possible to self-organize in learning groups formed in the class depending on technology and the availability of external tutors.

Tutors wishing to take groups of students through the class synchronously or asynchronously should contact the Course Leader by May 1st at the latest via dwheeler@yorku.ca.

There will be in-class assignments and presentations but there is no examination or formal course work assumed in the class. Students wishing to turn the class into university or college credit are advised to seek a personal academic advisor, agree on an assignment (or assignments) based on the content of the class with the advisor, and satisfy the advisor’s grading requirements for the program of study in which the student is enrolled.

Students attending at least nine sessions will receive a certificate of attendance which may count towards professional certifications.

Session Format and Content

Each 3.5-hour session will typically include some or all of the following:

  • Consideration of readings and the broader literature and/or contemporary developments featured in the media in recent days.
  • Lecture/guest lecture.
  • Video commentaries.
  • Case studies.
  • Group work.

Schedule

SESSION 1
Learning to Think Like Leonardo
Design-thinking meets systems-thinking to foster experimentation and innovation

SESSION 2
Drivers of transition to a low-carbon economy
Learning to live on one planet

SESSION 3
Follow the Money
Understanding Capital Markets and How and When they Reward Social and Environmental Performance

SESSION 4
Society and Technology
Understanding the Role of Technology in Disruptive Social Change

SESSION 5
Leadership Skills for a Sustainable World 1
Reconstructing Value in Corporate Environments

SESSION 6
Leadership Skills for a Sustainable World 2
Entrepreneurial and Start-Up Environments

SESSION 7
Inspirational Cases in Transition 1
Energy and Transportation

SESSION 8
Inspirational Cases in Transition 2
Food and Water

SESSION 9
Inspirational Cases in Transition 3
Urban and Infrastructure

SESSION 10
Summary and Personal Action Planning

COURSE LEADER
David Wheeler
Co-Founder

Former Chair of Business & Sustainability, Schulich School of Business, York University