Business and academia collide

Academics and senior business leaders met at the first Ideas for Leaders service, helping businesses improve managerial practice

Ideas for Leaders has been created to share the huge untapped value of academic research from the world’s top 50 business schools – including Ashridge, Chicago Booth, Columbia, CEIBS, Cranfield, IESE, IMD, INSEAD, ISB, London Business School, MIT, Stanford and Wharton – with the people and organisations where it can make a difference. 

The new service unearths the latest thought-leadership and translates it into a concise and accessible format – that can spark discussions and thinking on how executives can change, develop and make organisations better places to work – and to work better.

The breakfast briefing was arranged in response to requests from businesses seeking an opportunity to find out more about the theory-practice gap, and about the wealth of underused knowledge coming out of business academia.

Dr Vicki Culpin, Dean of Faculty and Director of Research at Ashridge Business School, said in her keynote address: “The research undertaken at leading business schools has huge potential to be of real value to business education and therefore make a significant impact in the commercial world – it’s just a question of getting it out there.  The traditional process of publishing research in academic journals often prevents it reaching the potential end users who would benefit most from it.  This is why Ideas for Leaders is so important: it bridges the cavernous gap between academia and the corporate world.”

Launched last year, Ideas for Leaders is rapidly expanding.  In the past six months [July – Dec 2013] Ideas for Leaders has seen a growth rate of approximately 180% in enquiries, as UK businesses review their current business learning strategies and seek to refresh and review their practices.

Peter Chadwick, CEO of IEDP Ideas for Leaders, said: “Business school research centres are hotbeds of game-changing new thinking which, until now, has largely remained buried in academia.  Our purpose at Ideas for Leaders is to identify the best and most useable of this work, and distil it into ready-to-action ideas which can actually be implemented in the real world. Once communicated in an accessible format, these thoughts and ideas can kick-start fundamental change in people and have a profound impact on business performance.” 

The renewed focus on leadership and innovation as key factors in driving business growth has pushed the better development of leadership skills higher up the boardroom agenda recently.  Through partnerships built up over the past decade with key academics at the world’s top business schools, Ideas for Leaders is in a unique position to channel previously untapped thinking directly to businesses, in a format which means it can be easily implemented.

The third speaker of the morning was Dr Tara Swart, Neuroscientist and guest lecturer at Saïd Business School, Stanford Business School and MIT Sloan School of Management. She commented: “Ideas for Leaders presents often complex academic research in accessible and visually engaging bite-sized chunks and is ideal for stimulating workplace discussions and thinking so that, starting today, teams can work better and motivate others in a sustainable way.’

Ideas for Leaders is already working with a wide cross section of companies, including: a multinational food and beverage company, a multinational pharmaceutical, a worldwide transport operator, and a leading brewing company.  A bespoke package is developed for each organisation depending on its specific corporate learning requirements.

Further details about Ideas for Leaders is available at:


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