Creative Enterprise Leadership Action Learning Network



Pratt Institute
Organizations/areas of the university involved

Design Management and Arts and Cultural Management, Pratt Institute


A practice field for 21st century leaders to design, lead, innovate and manage enterprise activity to close the gap between intention and action in aligning enterprise aims with global goals.

Established 20 years ago, the international graduate programs in Creative Enterprise Leadership at Pratt Institute bridge the disciplines of business management and creative leadership. The programs prepare future leaders that are reflective, strategic, and collaborative to design, lead, innovate and manage enterprise activity and take on critical global challenges. 

The Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Design Management and Arts and Cultural Management degree education embeds the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs or Global Goals) throughout the curriculum and its program level learning outcomes. Participants are assessed against their ability to apply the SDGs in a “Triple Bottom Line by Design and Culture” framework to lead innovation and transformation. Anchoring the work of our programs is our recently published book, Leading As If Life Matters: An Invitation to Attend A Future of Our Own Making (2021).

The Programs partner with the Pratt Institute Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment and the Pratt Earth Action Week Initiative to develop co-curricular, interdisciplinary programs including faculty collaboration, joint research, and shared community work to advance experiential education and community service participation with an emphasis on the Global Goals.

The strategic intent of our Creative Enterprise Leadership Action Learning Network is to deepen our network of over 1,800 graduates, faculty and partners from around the world who are ‘leading as if life matters.’ The network connects our innovative global leadership education to a larger audience through knowledge sharing, experiential learning and applied research focused on achieving the Global Goals. Our Catalyst Platform hosts conversations with thought leaders and exchanges cases to shape best practice. Our Leader Learning Journeys connect curriculum to our dynamic world by inviting program participants, alumni, faculty and learning partners on an eight-day trip to experience, reflect and experiment with innovative creative enterprise in local contexts. We have studied together now in Ireland, Japan and Spain. Our applied research projects focus on closing key knowledge gaps and designing pathways and strategies to tackle the climate crisis and equity crisis.

Results and impact measured or expected

Mapping learning outcomes with the SDGs. In order to fully integrate SDGs into program education and Integrated Capstone Research, we map curriculum tracks and course learning outcomes against the SDGs. For example, the Design Management program begins with an intensive team building experience where participants run a multinational food company for two days. The Leadership Behavioral Simulation is a practice field to learn about the trends and transformation of the sustainable food industry addressing Goal 2, 12, 14 and 17. Participants are assessed based on their demonstrated ability to lead and manage transition risk toward achieving the Goals. The program culminates in an Integrated Capstone which assesses participants against Program Learning Outcomes that benchmark participants’ progress in strategic, collaborative, and reflective leadership around Agenda 2030 from start to endpoint of the program.

Connection with the SDG framework

Participants begin their two-year study with Leading as if Life Matters: An Invitation to Attend a Future of Our Own Making. The book codifies our curriculum focused on aligning aims to achieve the Global Goals and designing life-centered innovation. It challenges the embedded assumptions of traditional leadership practice and provides an original 7-point framework for moving from a bottom line to a triple bottom line by design and culture (TBLD+C) model within the next decade. Throughout the program, faculty embed these concepts to advance the strategic design and management of place, products, services, structures, experiences and organizations that enrich, enliven and encourage progress around Agenda 2030. The program culminates with the Integrated Capstone, which requires participants apply a TBLD+C enterprise approach to a new or existing organization that contributes to the trillion dollar shift toward the Global Goals.

Barriers and follow up

Barrier: Faculty Capacity. Faculty capacity is one of our biggest barriers. Integrating SDG learning involves refining existing content and course tracks in the curriculum. As executive level faculty teaching on weekends, it has proven difficult to dedicate time and coordinate across functions. We have spent three years removing curriculum silos and overcoming resistance to design a coherent learning experience. Faculty are now part of the solution. 

Solution: Setting a Participatory Research Agenda.  We established a research agenda among faculty by curriculum track to demonstrate how the disciplines of Design Management and Arts and Cultural Management can unlock enterprise profits aligned with the SDGs. For example, faculty worked together to integrate sustainable finance research into the financial reporting and analysis as well as the financing companies and new ventures courses and invite social venture capitalists and other relevant practice leaders from the Catalyst Platform as guest lectures.

Transferability of the initiative

Taking program projects public. A rich suite of sustainable design awards and challenges are integrated into assignments to offer project visibility to participants who are interested in securing potential funding for their ventures.

Applying research on the road. We partner with host country governments and communities on our leader learning journeys to share our innovation work and apply and document research to tackle real world challenges inspired by local contexts. 

Co-creating with our global community. The Creative Enterprise Leadership Action Learning Network opens doors of global education and global partnership by connecting program participants, alumni, faculty, and creative enterprise leaders across the world to catalyze conversations, cases, collaborations and caravan leader learning journeys around the theme of leading as if life matters. We share best practices, learn from one another and work together to align enterprise aims with the trillion dollar shift toward the Global Goals.