The way we view work as a culture is undergoing radical redefinition, and the way we individually and collectively lead workplace transformations is becoming as critical to our success as those changes we are trying to champion. For aspiring change agents pioneering new ideas, ideologies, and innovations within their respective fields, creating a community of like-minded individuals to share common experiences and future resources is an important first step on the path to large-scale change. The following change agent journeymen are hard at work training themselves and one another to take on the responsibilities of integrating work values and life values as they act to grow their dreams.
At the Pioneers Workshop — a German non-profit organization working to bolster the country’s academic business curriculum — future entrepreneurs and business leaders gain the confidence and skills they need to pursue unconventional career paths. For members of Pioneers of Change — a diverse international organization of young, committed visionaries — work is a vehicle for creative expression. It is a place in which to apply yourself to what truly matters, bringing personal passions into the workplace to produce sustainable social impact, corporate responsibility, and social entrepreneurship.
An increasing number of change agents are also discovering that making their visions a reality sometimes means ending one journey in order to infuse fresh energy and ideas into a feasible new project. Former Land’s End president and CEO Mike Smith, who left the security of that successful employer to launch a risky dot.com startup last year, is one of the those change agents poised to alter today’s business landscape. And he is not alone. Joining Smith in the workplace of the millennium will be grassroots motivators like Lennart Bjurstrom, who is working to manage change in his transitioning company while simultaneously reconciling international ecological initiatives with a burgeoning economy of smart businesses.
Chronicling the common experience of outstanding visionaries and change agents worldwide has never been more important. We live and work in an age ripe for innovation and opportunity, in an economy driven by unprecedented technology and innovation. Old borders are becoming obsolete and new directions are being drawn by pioneers who want desperately to meld their ideals and values with their work. In the following story, we recognize the efforts of change agents across the globe and across a wide spectrum of industries and disciplines. Behold our vision for the future.
- Workshop for Change
Inside a converted Berlin brewery unfolds the story of two change agents who are struggling not against the traditions of their company, but against the status quo of their country’s educational system. Amid great risk and growing support, the Pioneer Workshop is crafting an entirely new form of German education that embraces personal discovery and innovative thinking.
- Pioneers of the Future
They are young international visionaries who thrive off the energy, enthusiasm, and ideas generated within their ambitious online and offline network, Pioneers of Change. Their diversity and compassion for change are their greatest assets. Their commitment to educating future generations of change agents is their greatest promise.
- Where the Land Ends, and the Change Begins
Mike Smith, former president and CEO of Lands’ End, is striking out on his own, straying from a paved corporate path to travel the rocky startup route. His change effort represents an intensely personal risk, a blurring of the lines between professional and private spheres that is becoming a prevalent reality in this new economy of startup entrepreneurs. Find out how — and why — the change of Smith’s life comes with a surprising sense of ease and comfort.
- Conductor of a Change Orchestra
Once the president of the world’s largest student organization, Lennart Bjurstrom says he earned his MBA at AIESEC International, the real-world leadership forum that inspired him to pursue a career in environmental business management. Now he’s guiding a merger integration effort that affects change on a global scale.