4 Rules to Make You Smarter, Your Networks Stronger, and Your CSR Programs Better

Jun 16, 2015 10:05 AM ET
Thirty years ago, a small group of corporate citizenship professionals gathered on campus at Boston College to found the Center for Corporate Citizenship. I am sure that they never imagined that the Center’s members would grow in number and diversity to the group that we have today, but what was certain was that the combination of knowledge, tools, and a room full of smart people would bring innovation and deliver business and social value through environmental, social, and governance initiatives.

Those same principles were at work at the Center’s annual International Corporate Citizenship Conference, where a community of more than 600 smart people shared knowledge and tools about corporate citizenship. As part of the event’s 26 breakout sessions, I facilitated a workshop designed to share ideas and tools to make you smarter, your networks stronger, and your programs better. Who wouldn’t want to do that?

The workshop had four guiding principles:

  1. You are not the smartest person in the room
  2. Great ideas are everywhere
  3. Bring all ideas to the table
  4. Make everything visible

These principles are not unique, they are the underpinnings of Design Thinking—championed by IDEO—and Appreciative Inquiry, taught widely here at the Carroll School of Management. The approach encourages innovation and creativity and is particularly relevant to the field of corporate citizenship.

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