This ambitious undertaking requires an unusual strategy. GOLDEN is a “big science” and “engaged scholarship” initiative of a global network of academic researchers, working in partnership with business and other organizations.
“Big science” is a technical term to describe science-based investigations of unusual scale, and reflects GOLDEN’s long-term nature, its global scope, the number of people and organizations involved, and a commitment to make a profound contribution to a critical issue. “Engaged scholarship” for GOLDEN refers to a mode of research where academics work in deep and sustained collaboration with managers and their stakeholders to create knowledge for mutual benefit.
GOLDEN is undertaking three types of activities that are interdependent and produce valuable synergies, for the public good.
The Observatory aims to be a pre-eminent, public data-base about corporations and strategic change towards sustainability. It is based on a systematic analytical framework that draws from public sources, and supplements them with surveys, interviews and focus group data. The Observatory is a resource for academics and practitioners to accelerate the evolution of sustainability-driven strategic initiatives, and improve company performance across social, environmental and economic dimensions.
Experiments are designed to investigate the effectiveness of change interventions and to identify enabling and hindering factors. In collaboration with business and its stakeholders, GOLDEN identifies strategic sustainability questions and challenges they are facing, and designs interventions to evaluate their relative effectiveness.
Often these research initiatives are designed around on-going change projects with implementation led by internal corporate staff and their consultants.
Experiments are undertaken at three levels. Decision-Makers Labs assess effectiveness of learning and development processes for individuals. Enterprise Labs evaluate the impact of corporate sustainability initiatives. Industry Ecosystems Labs develop knowledge about how to generate systemic change in operating environments.
Computer simulations and modeling can make important contributions to a firm’s decision-making and strategy development. Also, they can effectively support public policy creation. Using its Observatory data and the outcomes of its labs, GOLDEN will create simulations that produce a multi-level understanding of the evolution of sustainable enterprise.