Leading Sustainable Systems
Leading Sustainable Systems (L-Lab) tackles critical issues of leading change in global business sustainability. The course combines an on-site field project experience focused on complex sustainability initiatives with systems thinking tools and thought-leading reflective practices that develop personal and collective leadership skills.
L-Lab is organized as a reflective practicum, weaving theory, assignments, guest speakers, living cases, and an immersive project experience. The course uses experiential workshops and interactive class sessions to build students’ leadership capabilities that are essential to generating the social, ecological and economic value of sustainable systems. These capabilities are put into practice when student teams partner with organizations at the forefront of sustainable innovation to work on projects in locations that may be local, national, or international.
In January, the student teams—typically composed of four graduate students—spend three weeks on site, working closely with organizational leaders to address critical issues of sustainability and develop capacities for systemic change, where leading across traditional organizational boundaries is often required.
Throughout their project work with the host organizations, the teams also work with MIT faculty mentors who help students integrate classroom learning and provide coaching to support their work with organizational leaders.
Previous L-Lab projects have involved organizations such as Argos (Columbia), Ferrovial (Spain) IBM, Nike, PepsiCo, IBM, S.C. Johnson, Natura (Brazil), and Oxfam.