Focus on new ways of facing change

Luke Van Der Laan. Picture: Supplied
Luke Van Der Laan. Picture: Supplied

The inaugural Nelson Mandela Bay Futures Summit will present a rare, not-tobe-missed opportunity for the city’s private and public sector leadership to exchange ideas with leading world experts in futures research.

The summit, at the NMMU Business School on Monday and Tuesday, brings together top South African and international academics, headed by Professor Sohail Inayatullah, who holds the Unesco Chair of Futures Studies.

Presenting a one-day master class on future scenarios for business alongside Inayatullah is Professor Luke van der Laan, director of professional studies at Australia’s University of Southern Queensland.

Van der Laan, an expert in research and advisory services for large multinational organisations, will speak on the unprecedented change facing nations, organisations and communities globally.

He sees the summit as “fundamentally important for communities, governance and business in South Africa”, as today’s leaders face serious challenges that cannot be dealt with using existing knowledge and strategies.

Van der Laan – who calls himself a “pracademic”, combining scholarly insight with extensive board-level corporate experience – said: “I will present insights showing that traditional approaches to leadership and strategy are outdated and causing significant systemic dysfunction.”

He said his presentation would address the nature of these challenges and provide suggestions for the most compelling capabilities at an individual, team and organisational level.

“I will also present my personal insights as to how large corporates and government or public agencies are either building these capabilities or failing, and how this can be measured, identified and developed.”

Van der Laan said the seminar, hosted by NMMU with The Herald as media partner, was designed to “begin an ongoing local and national dialogue that is currently largely missing”.

He said his and his fellow speakers’ research had shown that developing engaging and powerful individual, community, business and national visions could bring about real change.

“Getting this group of people together with leaders is very unusual internationally.

“It’s a wonderful example of a university engaging with leaders and communities in achieving human-centred futures.”

Limited seats are available. To register, visit

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