The Alchemy of 21st Century Science & Technology Business Leadership, and Its Impact

The Brown Executive Master in Science and Technology Leadership’s (EMSTL) first inaugural session last May began with a presentation by Brown Alum Frans Johansson on his best-selling book, The Medici Effect. He explained how innovation seems like a dark art shrouded in mystery, but in fact, what lies at the core of change is the creative crash of difference. Logic and expertise are critical ingredients to progress, explained Johannson, but these are capacities available to all. In an environment where the rules are always changing, applying more of the same, won’t give you the competitive edge to break existing norms.

Three months later, the most recent EMSTL residential session demonstrated how the program takes that message to heart in its pedagogical approach to cultivating science and technology business leadership for today’s complex, fast-paced and global markets. In addition to creating a carefully curated set of interdisciplinary courses from leading Brown professors – across leadership, economics, entrepreneurial management, psychology, innovation and tech development  – we brought in guest speakers that offered students the opportunity to stretch their boundaries and apply these frameworks in familiar business fields – software and digital  – and in less familiar ones – classical music – for breakthrough thinking.

Unilever CIO Jane Moran

On the practical end of the spectrum, Unilever CIO Jane Moran presented to the students about managing technology for the world’s largest consumer goods company. She talked about how the CIO role has migrated from back-office to front-office business management challenges. Using her integration of cloud computing at Unilever, as an example, she shared her story of creating an adaptive culture at a leading global conglomerate.

On the ethereal end of the spectrum, as part of Professor Robert Allio’s course, Effective Leadership: Theory and Practice students observed an extraordinary musical performance by the renowned Aurea Ensemble. They were asked to look for evidence of leadership in this non-hierarchically organized quartet. It sparked a fascinating conversation between the musicians and students about leadership models that engender great performances in groups of creative experts where trust and room for spontaneity and “aha” moments are critical.

Professor Robert Allio & Program Director Sandra Smith with the Class of 2018

From the classics to today’s digital world, the residential session ended by bringing the focus back to cohort members’ application of lessons-learned to real-world business needs. Students presented their proposals for their Critical Challenge Projects (CCP) to communication experts and advisors who provided valuable feedback for improving the impact of their work. They will continue to work with a range of Brown experts on their CCPs over the remaining 16-month program to deliver significant results and drive their careers, companies and industries forward.

The impact? We invite you to explore the thought-provoking and empowering effect of the EMSTL business leadership alchemy on the Class of 2018 in the Linkedin post What is Leadership to You? EMSTL 2018 and AT&T Lead, Organization and Leadership Development, Yovany Jerez aggregates his fellow students’ thoughts on this question. Join this vibrant conversation and discover what leadership is to you.

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