Just wrapping up an international management conference in Chicago produced by Common Ground, an innovative collection of “knowledge communities” in a diverse range of areas, from aging, to climate change, to health and wellness, to management, to universities.
Indeed, diversity is a signature thread within Common Ground productions. The diversity of topics collected under one or another aspect of “management” – knowledge, culture, and change are key categories – is dizzying enough. Grouped in a single session with my own presentation on change management in troubled financial times (what else?) were others on an analytic framework for evaluating Malaysian public schools, key decisions on a successful aging support program in the UK, and the ad hoc leadership training used by the Turkish Air Force!
Equally diverse were the participants themselves. Just page one of a list of attendees included representatives (a striking number of them practitioners rather than academics) from Albania, Ghana, Egypt, South Korea, Kuwait, Italy, India, Germany, Canada, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates.
Perhaps the only better place than Chicago for such a gathering might be Manhattan, in the vicinity of the United Nations.