Building on its successful launch in January 2015, the Beacon Institute commits to create an online Virtual Institute that will serve as a platform for knowledge and resources and as a digital community for global leaders to demonstrate, exchange and integrate their collective ambition to transform the working world and shift the definition of success beyond profit. Through the Virtual Institute, Beacon will offer the data, tools, and case studies and stories from other companies (relevant and actionable by industry) that make the case for why and how companies should incorporate purpose into their core business models, moving beyond philanthropy and CSR add-on strategies.
The Virtual Institute will elevate the profile of businesses that are innovating and evolving through their own purposeful transformations. Business leaders will share their journeys including successes and mid-course corrections with an eye towards developing new information and wisdom for businesses. In this process, companies strengthen their own brands while stimulating others to join the movement. Powered by the right incentives and a supportive community, the Virtual Institute will host compelling and honest conversations on the challenges and opportunities that come with the new ways of conducting business.
The Virtual Institute will host a library of global thought leadership and resources. In the first year, it will be populated with a range of content to be updated quarterly including: eight video interviews with leading executives on the challenges and successes they have faced in implementing purposeful change in their companies, 1012 member-sourced content pieces (such as op-ed-style articles), 15 research articles and thought leadership pieces created together with Beacons research collaborators, more than 100 purpose-related articles from different sources integrated with the Beacon LinkedIn Showcase page, and five case studies detailing why and how companies are transforming through purpose.
Additionally, Beacon will co-develop the curriculum for a massive open online course (MOOC) in conjunction with its academic and thought leadership collaborators. This will be a free course, integrating video content, lectures from Beacon community members, and discussion forums. The MOOC may be delivered in year two via the Virtual Institute or an established educational platform (e.g., Coursera, edX). The Virtual Institute platform will be used to source and beta test course content, promote the MOOC and provide an additional outlet to share the materials developed for the MOOC.
The Virtual Institute will also offer direct connections between Beacon members, mechanisms to share best practices and stories, and a Purpose Pledge platform for members to define and share their purpose with each other and the world. The Virtual Institute will livestream and archive global Beacon events and host discussion forums with Beacon members on purpose-related topics and challenges in business.
Finally, the Virtual Institute will offer tools and frameworks that will enable executives to take action and make their organizations more purposeful. These include a purpose integrity assessment survey that allows companies to evaluate how well their organizations purpose is defined, communicated, and activated. Beacon will also seek to offer portions of the macro framework and methodology for EYs purpose-led transformation (PLT) for executives to use within their own organization.
In its first year, the Beacon Virtual Institute aims to engage 1,000 members from 500 global organizations. The content produced and collected in the first year will be made available to the public. Registered Beacon members will benefit from early access to this content.
October 2015: Identify an agency to create the Beacon web-based member portal and public-facing site
November 2015: Aggregate initial thought leadership library and content for launch
The Virtual Institute will offer thought leadership pieces developed internally by Beacon and knowledge produced around the world on purpose-led transformation. Authors will be selected on an ongoing basis, determined by the thought leadership team at Beacon who will consistently survey the landscape for the latest thinking on purpose from academics, business leaders, and thought-leaders. For example, this team is producing a State of the Debate study on purpose, which Beacon will release in Fall 2015 and include on the Virtual Institute. This State of the Debate will help inform the thought leadership aggregated for the pilot launch in January 2016.
January 2016: Launch of v1.0 of pilot platform to an open audience, with Beacon members having early access to the content
Business leaders representing companies of all sizes, industries and geographies will be utilizing the Virtual Institute. Beyond that, the Virtual Institute will also engage and serve MBA students and academics.
Beacon will execute against its content creation plan to develop an initial library of content for launch focusing on the how and why of purpose-led transformation. Beacon aims for the launch to include: two interview videos with leading C-suites and executives, two pieces of member-sourced articles, five pieces of research and thought leadership, and five videos of archival footage from Beacon events over the course of 2015. This base content will be refreshed quarterly with new collateral to reach the goals of content production for the year.
February 2016September 2016: Further development of content for pilot platform
During this timeframe, Beacon will engage community members, host events, and develop content that will populate the Virtual Institute. This will include the cultivation of individuals and groups within the Beacon community, adding individuals for general membership as well as Executive Circle members (global CEOs and chairpersons of corporations who can influence the early majority of purpose-led companies), and Leadership Council members (thought leaders from diverse sectors who are leading purpose-led transformation).
During its first year, the Virtual Institute will aim to launch a total of:
- Eight video interviews with leading c-suites and executives on the challenges and successes they have faced in implementing purposeful change in their companies
- 1012 member sourced content pieces (such as op-ed style articles)
- 15 research articles and thought leadership pieces created in collaboration with Beacons research partners
- More than 100 purpose-related articles from different sources integrated with the Beacon LinkedIn Showcase page
- Five case studies of companies who are on their own purpose journey, detailing the challenges and successes they have experienced, and why and how they are transforming through purpose
In business, the ability to innovate and transform is critical to survive and thrive. Leading corporations are doing business in fundamentally different ways, attuned to the changing expectations of customers, employees, regulators, and other stakeholders. Across this spectrum, individuals increasingly believe that the next evolution of business is to serve the purpose of benefiting society, creating value for all humans in a companys ecosystem, and spurring growth and innovation. There is a growing movement to shift beyond philanthropy and isolated corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities into purpose driving the very core of business strategy, operating models, and entire brands themselves. This movement calls for measuring success beyond profit.
Although there are many disparate players trying to define and evolve new ways of doing business, there is a need to clearly define success beyond profit and to create shared tools and processes to support such a transformation.
In response to this systemic shift and to address the gap in implementation and practice, Ernst & Young LLP (the firm) and the global EY organization (EY) created the Beacon Institute (Beacon) to accelerate and mainstream the movement for the full integration of purpose in business and the transformation of the working world. Beacon illuminates what could define success beyond profit: businesses providing for well-being and value creation for all stakeholders (customers, employees, suppliers, investors, partners, and community) through an end-to-end experience involving (organizational structure, business and operating model, tools and technology, process and function, and products).