Board of Trustees Report 2017

Business and society

BI’s ambition is to be the preferred knowledge partner for businesses and the public sector through contributing to innovation, value creation and competitiveness in Norway and abroad.

Advisory Boards

BI has initiated several independent advisory boards, who had their first meetings in 2017. The boards look at BI’s activities from an outside perspective, and provide valuable input on the content of courses and programmes, strategic prioritisations and development. The boards are a concretisation of the interaction between education and working life, and contribute to strengthening the relationships between students, businesses, the school and alumni.

These boards started their work in the past year:

  • BI International Advisory Board.
  • BI Alumni Advisory Board
  • Tech Advisory Board for the bachelor programmes
  • Sustainability Advisory Board for the bachelor programmes

Partner programmes and cooperation

In 2017, BI worked to establish a comprehensive and dynamic partner programme. The partner programme will strengthen the quality of the interaction with businesses through cooperation between attractive national and international enterprises and BI. The goal is to explore and create new and sustainable business opportunities.

Partnerforum is a collaboration between BI Norwegian Business School, the University of Oslo and 20 partners from public agencies. Through this network, BI shares knowledge within topics that are relevant for public administration. Partnerforum organised 11 joint events that were open to all employees in the partner enterprises. An overview of participation in 2017 shows that Partnerforum covers a broad range of subjects in which the partners are interested. (link: more about Partnerforum: partnerforum.uio.no)

BI-Corporate mainly offers internal company programmes to the public and private sector. There has especially been increased activity within the school and day-care sector in 2017, where high demand has led to more classes. The programme in health administration will receive an increased allocation in the 2018 national budget, which will mean an increased demand in this area as well.

The school administration programme has crossed borders. An intervention project was initiated in  Danish schools in 2017. The project combines research, development, innovation and tailored education. Over a three-year period, 30 leadership teams from schools in Denmark will undergo the programme headed by BI. The programme is financed by the Maersk Foundation

Two of BI’s internal company programmes received international recognition in 2017 for excellent and efficient cooperation within management, learning and development. BI contributed two internal company tasks in different categories in the case competition “Excellence in Practice (EiP)” and won second and fourth place. The organiser was the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD). This is the highest a Norwegian business school has ever placed in the competition. The competition is an arena to showcase “best practice” interaction between academia and businesses or the public sector.

The processes that embrace tailored expertise development are long and challenging. There is a lot of work behind the collaboration agreements in both the private and public sector. New agreements were signed with Novartis and Enova, among others, in 2017. Established partnerships often result in recurring programmes and new developments, as a consequence of good academic and administrative deliveries. Major customers in the private sector include Nortura, Sparebank 1 and NorgesGruppen.

In 2017, BI strengthened its international position by entering into an education cooperation agreement with Tsinghua University in Beijing. The programme was made to increase the pace of development and to strengthen companies that have progressed beyond the start-up phase. The participants are managers and entrepreneurs in these companies.

On 8 April 2017, BI organised the BI Norway Day in cooperation with the Fudan University School of Management in Shanghai, China. Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Meland and Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende were part of the Norwegian delegation that participated at this event.

Participation in the public debate

Several of BI’s researchers were appointed to public expert committees in 2017. The invitations are a recognition of BI’s academic expertise within areas that are significant for societal development. A few examples:

In January 2017, Harald Benestad Anderssen was appointed deputy chairman of the Consumer Complaints Board by the Ministry of Children and Equality. The appointment was the result of his research and work on contract law issues spanning 20 years.

Professor Bjørn Wessel Hennestad participated in a government-appointed expert group that will contribute to ensuring that children and young people who need additional help or special education receive better, high-quality services. In a press release, Minister of Education and Research Torbjørn Røe Isaksen said that one of the goals of the expert group’s report is to provide everyone working in day-care centres and schools with a better basis for choosing the instruments and measures that are best suited for the children.

In March 2017, Gudmund Hernes was appointed to chair the board at Uppsala University. The board is responsible for planning and execution of all of the University’s affairs – scientific, financial and administrative.

In September 2017, Professor Rune Jørgen Sørensen was appointed chair of the board of a benchmarking unit under the Danish Ministry for Economic Affairs and the Interior. The unit, which was a new independent organisation, would conduct benchmarking of the task resolution by municipalities and regions, and thus contribute to ensuring the Danish taxpayers get maximum value for their money.

In a cabinet meeting, Professor Morten Kinander was appointed chair of a committee that will assess the duty of disclosure and the confidentiality duty of tax advisers.

Social responsibility and sustainable development

With today’s challenges and opportunities within sustainable development, BI is motivated by being a social institution with considerable influence. The possibility of pushing the future’s businesses in a more responsible and environmentally sustainable direction is an important driving force for BI’s employees and students.

BI is involved within social responsibility in three areas; in the research, in the education and in its own operations. BI’s stakeholders expect this involvement to be clear and documented. Ethics and social responsibility shall be integrated and reflected in all of BI’s activities.

The companies of the future will have responsibility and sustainability as key objectives for their operations. BI’s students expect the content of the programmes and their developed skills to answer these needs. Two new courses within social responsibility and sustainable development were launched at the master level in 2017. BI’s researchers have published several professional articles within the field and have organised multiple conferences during the year. A mapping of the status and adjustment of content in courses and programmes throughout BI’s portfolio will be high on the agenda in 2018.

BI participates in the UN network UN PRME – Principles for Responsible Management Education, as the first Norwegian education institution and the only one with status as “advanced signatory” since 2016. PRME is a global network for dialogue, interaction and development of responsible administration and management education. The membership means that BI must comply with PRME’s seven principles for responsible management education. A detailed account of BI’s activities within social responsibility and ethics can be found in BI’s PRME report that is published every two years, most recently in 2016. (link to the PRME report)

In addition to the specific goals and principles for business schools in PRME, BI works in line with the UN’s sustainability goals. The goals relating to quality education and access to lifelong learning (Goal 4), gender equality (Goal 5), sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all (goal 8), innovation (Goal 9), sustainable cities and communities (Goal 11), responsible consumption and production (Goal 12), as well as the goal to combat climate change (Goal 13) are particularly relevant to BI. In cooperation with other domestic and international players, BI can contribute to developing new knowledge and practice for responsible and sustainable development (Goal 17).

The BI Sustainability Council was established in 2015. The council will run, further develop and evaluate BI’s work on social responsibility based on BI’s social mission and the expectations of stakeholders. This is done in cooperation with BI’s academic forces within social responsibility and ethics. BI’s employees and students are involved in cooperation with a number of non-profit organisations through financial support and volunteer work that benefits various international projects. The Students Sustainability Council was established as a part of the Student Organisation BI Oslo (SBIO) in 2017.

BI has set ambitious goals relating to waste reduction and energy efficiency in its own operations. More information about concrete measures, results and action plans can be found at bi.edu. (link)