Keynotes

Prof. Dr. David Cooperrider

David L. Cooperrider is the Fairmount Minerals Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University. Professor Cooperrider is past President of the National Academy of Management’s OD Division and has lectured and taught at Harvard, Stanford, University of Chicago, and Katholieke University in Belgium, MIT, University of Michigan, Cambridge and the Drucker School of Management. David is Faculty Chair of the Fowler Center for Sustainable Value.

David has served as an advisor to senior executives in business and societal leadership roles, including projects with five Presidents and Nobel Laureates. David’s ideas have supported the success of a wide variety of organizations including the Boeing Corporation, Sloan-Kettering, Fairmount Minerals, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, PWC, Parker Hannifin, Sherwin Williams, Dealer Tire, Wal-Mart as well as American Red Cross, American Hospital Association, Cleveland Clinic, and World Vision. Most of the work has been inspired by the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) methodology for which Professor Cooperrider is best known. His founding theoretical work in this area has created a positive revolution in the field of change; it is helping institutions all over the world discover the power of the strength-based approaches to multi-stakeholder innovation and sustainable design.

Prof. Dr. Kenneth J. Gergen and Prof. Dr. Danielle Zandzee

KENNETH J. GERGEN is a Senior Research Professor at Swarthmore College, and President of the Taos Institute. He has served as president of two divisions of the American Psychological Association, and the Associate Editor of both the American Psychologist, and Theory and Psychology. Gergen has been a major contributor to social constructionist theory and organizational change practices. Among his major works are Realities and relationships, soundings in social construction; The Saturated Self; An invitation to social construction; An Invitation to Social Construction; and most recently, Relational being, beyond self and community. Gergen’s work has received numerous awards, including fellowships, foundation awards, and honorary degrees in both Europe and the U.S.

Danielle P. Zandee is Professor of Sustainable Organizational Development at Nyenrode Business Universiteit in Breukelen, the Netherlands.  As one of the Chairs of Nyenrode’s Center for Sustainability, she develops theory and practice to facilitate collaborative processes of change that nurture sustainability in and of organizations.  Danielle studies and applies Appreciative Inquiry since the mid 1990’s when she was a PhD student in the Organizational Behavior department of Case Western Reserve University. In her work, she renews and strengthens the philosophy and craft of Appreciative Inquiry, by exploring its potential through a discursive, artful and relational lens. She embraces Appreciative Inquiry as both a dialogic approach to OD and a generative form of action research. Danielle serves on the Conference Organizing Committee of this 5th World Appreciative Inquiry Conference.

Prof. Ir. Klaas van Egmond

Motivated by the Dennis Meadows 1972 report to the Club of Rome on the Limits to Growth, KLAAS VAN EGMOND worked since then as environmental scientist in support of national, European and global policies. As director of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, he has been advisor to the Dutch government on the many scientific and technological issues in the field of environment, global change and sustainability. During that long period he has learned that the solution for the sustainability problem has to be found in social and cultural dynamics, rather than in technological development only. Lack of consensus in the understanding of human nature allows societies to degenerate into its own caricature and associated catastrophe, by one sided overexposure of genuine human value orientations. Sustainability can only be achieved by understanding and discouragement of this recurring mechanism. It implies encouragement of policies and political structures that recognize human and societal virtue in between materialistic and spiritual/ cultural values, and in between egocentric and collectivistic orientations. Sustainability is synonimous with human dignity; the recognition of genuine human values.

Prof. Dr. Ron Fry and Prof. Dr. Gervase Bushe

Ron is Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University and Chairman of the Department of Organizational Behavior, consistently ranked one of the best in the world by the Financial Times. He has been honored with the University Award for Outstanding Teacher in the Professional Schools and the Weatherhead School’s Distinguished Service Award. He received his MS and PhD from the Sloan School at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after completing a BS in Engineering at the University of California at Los Angeles.
We are honoured that Ron holds a keynote at this 5th World AI Conference, also because of the special relationship he has with Belgium & the Organising Committee. Since the mid 1990’s, Ron has led student exchanges between CWRU and KU Leuven University and participated in a growing network of AI practitioners through projects with STEBO, Kessels-Smit, Evenwicht, and alumni from KUL’s Certificate Program for Consulting in Groups and Organizations (CIGO). Collaborations with this network have culminated in the first ever Belgian Learning Network for Talent Development (now in its second iteration) and advising the core founding group for WAIC 2012.

Gervase R. Bushe is Professor of Leadership and Organization Development at the Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada. His has won awards for his research on teams, collaborative organizing, and organizational change.  He has been experimenting with and studying appreciative inquiry since 1989 and published the first research assessing it.  Over the past 7 years his studies have uncovered the critical role “generativity” plays in the transformational change potential of appreciative inquiry.  He has lately turned his attention to developing an integrated theory of “Dialogical Organization Development” – processes of change that do not rely on data collection and diagnosis, but focus on changing conversations to transform human systems.

Dr. Diana Whitney

Diana Whitney, Ph.D. is President of Corporation for Positive Change, a global consulting consortium dedicated to the creation of collaborative advantage and life affirming organizations. She is an internationally recognized consultant and pioneering thought leader on topics related to Appreciative Inquiry, the social construction of innovation and positive change, Appreciative Leadership and spirituality at work. Dr. Whitney is a co-founder of the Taos Institute, a fellow of the World Business Academy, and a Distinguished Consulting Faculty with Saybrook University.

She is an award-winning writer. Her major works include, The Power of Appreciative Inquiry (with Amanda Trosten-Bloom), Appreciative Inquiry (with David Cooperrider), Appreciative Team Building and her newest Appreciative Leadership: Focus on What Works to Drive Winning Performance and Build a Thriving Organization.

Dr. Anastasia Bukashe and Dr. Ilma Barros

Dr. Anastasia Bukashe (nee White) currently serves as the Executive Director of The Wilgespruit Fellowship located in Roodepoort, South Africa. She has been active in the Appreciative Inquiry community since the early 1990’s. She is also a graduate (2004) of Case Western Reserve University, Weatherhead School of Management OB programme, where Prof. David Cooperrider was her Supervisor.
Anastasia is a true scholar-practitioner who is passionate about participating in the birth of a new global order. With this as her inspiration she works primarily in the field of transformation and specialises in peacebuilding. Having travelled extensively and published a number of articles and book chapters, Anastasia is increasingly being drawn into global movements.

Dr. Ilma Barros is a Distinguished Fellow at Fowler Center for Sustainable Value, at the Weatherhead School of Management. She has worked on some of the largest strategic planning summits in business and social change over the last 12 years. She is an ELIAS Fellow (Emerging Leaders for Innovation across Systems) and a member of the Presencing Institute. Most recently, Ilma facilitated the Global Forum Latin America, an encounter that gathered 1200 people to think about sustainability in a systematic manner, including business leaders, academic researchers, the government, and the civil society.
As part of her activities in Brazil, Ilma coordinated five B.A.W.B. (Business as an Agent of World Benefit) conferences and today she is a member of the research team at the Fowler Center for Sustainable Value. She was responsible for the methodology and content used at the Future 10 Parana Forum, a platform of proposals for the strategic planning of Paraná State, and the document created and officially turned in to President Lula, the Governor of Parana State, and all the cities mayors in the state of Paraná.

Mario Fleurinck (CEO Melotte)

Mr Fleurinck (CEO Melotte) presents a breakthrough business case in the area of Direct Digital Manufacturing. Originally being a mould making company Melotte is now manufacturing medical prostheses and other high end, high precision goods. Daily Melotte is searching for market opportunities by analysing product transformation possibilities for change of analogue into digital processes with the ultimate goal to realize social, economic as well as ecologic added value. By doing so the innovation is not just technology driven, also the business model, the HR policy etc. change dramatically. The speaker will nurture the audience, with his vision on business and society change, and how these two should interact. His vision of a blue economy (vs. green) is the baseline, in which social and financial profit must go hand in hand. He will explain how this vision is brought into practice and what the results are. The results are significant and growing rapidly. He may end with an open invitation to the audience to even strengthen his (international) business case.

Ilja Heitlager

Ilja Heitlager is Information Officer for Schuberg Philis. A privately owned company and IT Service provider that knows no other way than going a 100% for customer satisfaction and quality of service. He graduated in Software engineering. Ilja once brought a Supply Chain solution called VivaCadena (now Agentrix) from start to a global solution, including offshored support Siemens India. Jointly developed with Eli Goldratt, the Theory of Constraints based VivaCadena serviced customers like: Heineken Export, Shell, SnapOn and Nike.

He deeply believes that the way to organise companies is “people, ideas, systems, …. in that order!” He finds himself lucky to have worked with great minds like David Cooperrider, Jeff Sutherland and Eli Goldratt.  He is really enjoying himself finding great new ideas for Schuberg Philis and its customers.

Ilja is married to Helen and they are blessed with two lovely daughters: Mila Luna (7) and Selma Fee (4).  Every day he loves doing endurance sports more and more.

Koen Vanmechelen

The Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen (1965) is an internationally renowned, conceptual artist. In his work he uses a variety of artistic tools: from painting and video to installations, sculpture and glass.

One of his groundbreaking artistic projects is called The Cosmopolitan Chicken Project: a crossbreeding project with chickens. More specifically, the artist interbreeds domestic chickens from different countries aiming at the creation of true cosmopolitan chicken as a symbol for global diversity. The project occupies a unique place in art history and gained fast international recognition. It positions art categorically in the middle of society: between people, and always committed. At the World AI Conference, by talking about the Cosmopolitan Chicken, Vanmechelen will challenge us in our vision toward global questions about diversity and identity, uniqueness and globalisation.

Over the past decade Vanmechelen has collaborated with scientists from different disciplines. That earned him an honorary doctorate at the University of Hasselt in 2010. He has presented his work on almost all continents. Most recently his work has been selected and presented at the World Expo in Shanghai and the Biennal of Venice.

Leo Bormans

Leo Bormans (B) is the author of the worldwide bestseller “The World Book of Happiness” in which 100 experts of 50 countries share their knowledge on happiness, subjective well-being and quality of life. European Chairman Herman Van Rompuy has sent the book as a special New Year’s gift to all leaders of the world.

Leo Bormans has been working for more than 20 years for the government in Belgium on active citizenship, empowerment, communication, positive education and positive journalism. His initiatives have inspired lots of organizations and policy-makers. Now he has become an international ambassador of positive change and quality of life. The Conference of Appreciative Inquiry in Nepal has been one of the triggers in his life to focus on these topics. He is giving workshops and lectures for small groups and broad audiences all over the world. He also is a board member of the Foundation of her Royal Highness Princess Mathilde in Brussels and has organized different conferences in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany with the contribution of experts in the field of positive psychology, including Lord Richard Layard (UK). In Ghent he unveils some of the secrets of how you get people engaged in change, active citizenship and responsibility: how to put a successful megaphone on the positive message?

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