MIT Sloan Action Learning
Conference 2012

Action Learning Conference 2012

MIT Sloan held its inaugural Action Learning Conference, "New Dimensions in Action Learning: Reinventing Leadership Development," on August 1–2, 2012. The conference brought a select group of more than 100 academics, practitioners, and business leaders together in Cambridge to discuss best practices in leadership development through experiential, project–based learning.

We are pleased to present materials from the conference here, including videos highlighting the conference speakers and panelists, as well as a sampling of speaker’s slide presentations, brief biographies of all presenters, and photos from the conference.

  • Program Overview and Welcomeplay
    Program Overview and Welcome
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    Presentation by Peter Senge
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    Presentation by Anjali Sastry
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    Presentation by Yury Boshyk
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    Developing Innovative Leaders: The Role of Action Learning
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    Action Learning and International Engagements: Learning to Lead in a Borderless Environment
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    Presentation by Yasheng Huang
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    Presentation by Joe Raelin
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    Action Learning in Action: Reimagining Business/
    Academic Partnerships
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    Learning How to Learn: Transformational Action Learning Design and Pedagogy
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    Conference Reflection by Professor Emeritus Edgar Schein
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    The Future of Action Learning in Developing Managers

View some of the conference speakers’ slide presentations, and read brief biographies of all the presenters.

Celine Abecassis-Moedas

Catolica Lisbon School of Business and Economics,
Universidade Catolica Portuguesa

Celine Abecassis-Moedas is Assistant Professor at Catolica Lisbon School of Business and Economics, Universidade Catolica Portuguesa, where she teaches Strategy and Business Consulting. She was an International Faculty Fellow at MIT Sloan in 2011. She is also the Deputy Director of the Institute for Innovation and Competitiveness (i7). She holds a Ph.D. in Management Studies from Ecole Polytechnique, Paris and she is a graduate from Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan and La Sorbonne, Paris.

Celine was an Assistant Professor at Queen Mary-University of London. She worked in business development in a software firm in New York and in management consulting at AT Kearney in London. As a consultant, she worked in several sectors (media, banking, retail and consumer goods) mostly for the British market. Celine has developed some coaching experience in The Lisbon MBA Consulting Project course. Her research interests include Design management, New Product Development, Innovation Management, and Entrepreneurship in Creative Industries. Her articles have been published in various journals including Journal of Marketing Management, Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, and Journal of Product Innovation Management.

Maarten Nijhoff Asser

Consultant, Global Leadership, Culture, Organizational Dilemmas and Strategy, Team Collaboration

Maarten Nijhoff Asser is a highly regarded speaker and facilitator on the topics of Globalization and Integration, Global Leadership and Dilemma Management, Intercultural Competence, and the process of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for professional audiences large and small around the world.

Asser’s areas of expertise include, global leadership, cross-cultural management, innovation and sustainability, dilemma management, as well as strategic scenario planning and competence development. He designs and facilitates executive development work sessions on the basis of a business-driven action learning approach. He explains how strategic dilemma management, innovation, and intercultural leadership lead to organizational learning and competitive advantage. He teaches at various international business schools, including Duke CE, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, India. He has been a visiting faculty at IPADE in Mexico, Harvard Business School, and Columbia University's Graduate School of Business.

Asser graduated from the University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Law, with a degree in international organizations and intellectual property (1987). Further studies include an MBA in innovation, strategy, information and technology (1997) from Theseus International Management Institute in Sophia Antipolis, France, and extensive coursework at NYU.

Yury Boshyk

Global Executive Learning Network

Adviser, educator, and author, Yury Boshyk is co-founder and Chairman of the Global Executive Learning Network ( a worldwide association of practitioners and thought leaders who design, deliver and provide content for executive programs and learning interventions globally, primarily with global Fortune 500 companies. His other area of practice is analyzing and advising on geopolitical and future trends affecting company and country strategies.

Yury organizes and chairs the annual Global Forum on Executive Development and Business Driven Action Learning, a “by-invitation-only” and not-for-profit community of practice founded in 1996 ( He is also a member of the International Editorial Advisory Board for the journal Action Learning: Research & Practice published in the U.K.

Yury has written research reports, books and articles that deal with subjects on contemporary global issues, as well as on modern European history. Yury has edited four books on Action Learning and written articles on executive education and development, including Business Driven Action Learning, an approach developed by the GEL network.

Formerly: Professor of Strategy and the International Environment of Business at IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland; Professor of Geopolitics and Strategy, and Director of Executive Learning, at the Theseus International Management Institute in the Sophia Antipolis Science and Technology Park, southern France; and faculty positions at the University of Toronto and Harvard University Summer School. Yury completed his doctorate at the University of Oxford, his Master's degree at the London School of Economics, and his B.A. at the University of Toronto.

Yasheng Huang

MIT Sloan School of Management

Yasheng Huang is an expert source on international business, political economy, and international management. His newest book, Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics: Entrepreneurship and the State (Cambridge University Press 2008), is a detailed narrative account of the history of economic reforms in China. Based on archival and quantitative evidence spanning three decades of reforms, Huang's book shows that private entrepreneurship, facilitated by financial liberalization and microeconomic flexibility, played a central role in China's economic miracle.

Huang founded and runs the MIT China Lab and India Lab, which aim to help entrepreneurs in China and India improve their management skills. He has held and received prestigious fellowships, such as the National Fellowship at Stanford University, and the Social Science Research Council-MacArthur Fellowship. Huang is a member of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center, a fellow at the Center for Chinese Economic Research and the Center for China in the World Economy at Tsinghua University, and a World Economic Forum fellow. Huang also served as a consultant to the World Bank.

Huang is the International Program Professor in Chinese Economy and Business and a Professor of Global Economics and Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He holds a B.A. in government from Harvard College and a Ph.D. in government from Harvard University.

Valerie Lingeman

Consultant, Organization Development and Leadership

Valerie Lingeman enjoyed a 25-year career at the Central Intelligence Agency, where she managed on the front lines of intelligence collection before redirecting her career in 1998 to focus on learning and development. As an organization development consultant and leadership coach now in private practice, Valerie is coaching leaders and teams who are striving to transform US government agencies while delivering consistently on mission.

Valerie introduced action learning as a cornerstone of experiential learning for leader development at the CIA. She has experience standing up and managing action learning programs, as well as coaching organizational problem solving teams. Valerie has also helped teams of managers use action learning to solve individual leadership challenges, in the process creating a climate of mutual support, possibility, and accountability for action.

Valerie imagines how the world might be if more people embraced the practices of action learning as a way of being.

Alan MacCormack

Harvard Business School

Alan MacCormack is the MBA Class of 1949 Adjunct Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. His research examines the management of innovation and product development in high-technology industries, with a particular focus on software. Alan’s research has been published in a variety of leading journals including Management Science, Research Policy and Harvard Business Review. In addition, he has written over 50 cases and notes that explore how organizations like Intel, Microsoft and NASA successfully manage innovation. Alan is currently teaching FIELD, a new required MBA course that develops students’ teamwork and leadership abilities by solving real world problems in small project-based teams. In 2011, he received the Apgar Award for Innovation in Teaching for his role in designing this course. Alan holds a DBA from Harvard Business School, an MSc from MIT's Sloan School of Management and a BSc from the University of Bath in England.

Joe Raelin

Northeastern University

Joe Raelin is an international authority in work-based learning and collaborative leadership development.  He holds the Asa S. Knowles Chair of Practice-Oriented Education at Northeastern University and was formerly Professor of Management at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College.  He received his Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo.  His research has centered on human resource development, focusing in particular on executive education through the use of action learning.  He is a prolific writer and also a management consultant with some thirty-five years of experience working with a wide variety of organizational clients.  Among his books are:  The Clash of Cultures:  Managers Managing Professionals, considered now to be a classic in the field of professionals and bureaucracy (Harvard Business School Press, 1991), the latest edition of Work-Based Learning: Bridging Knowledge and Action in the Workplace (Jossey-Bass, 2008), Creating Leaderful Organizations: How to Bring Out Leadership in Everyone (Berrett-Koehler, 2003), and to accompany the latter, The Leaderful Fieldbook (Nicholas-Brealey, 2010).  Joe was named the recipient of the 2010 David Bradford Outstanding Educator Award from the OBTS Teaching Society for Management Educators.

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