“You cannot lead if you don’t know what is coming at you,” said Dean Carolyn Y. Woo in 2009 at the launch of the Foresight in Business and Society course in Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.
Here’s some of what is coming at us, according to students who took the course in fall 2010:
• A booming job market for windmill-repair technicians because so many electricity-generating wind turbines are being installed
• A developing world with an increasing appetite for meat because greater affluence usually leads to greater meat consumption
• An uptick in some manufacturing jobs in, of all places, the United States because of rising transportation costs globally and improving wages in outsourcing meccas such as China
Those predictions came from the more than 60 displays in the Mendoza atrium on Dec. 9, 2010. That was the day about 300 students in the Foresight in Business and Society course, who work in teams, presented findings from their semester-long research projects.
Foresight in Business and Society teaches students to think critically about emerging global and environmental trends, their implications, proposed actions for intervention, and the ethical considerations of different choices. Mendoza is the first business school to require such a course as part of its core curriculum. Students take the course during their junior year. Foresight instructors Suzanne Coshow, Samuel Miller and Chad Harms recently were awarded a Smarter Planet Skills Innovation Award from IBM for their proposal for broad-based curricula.