skip to content

Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

Leadership Lab 2024

The Leadership Lab is designed to equip leaders with the mindset, insight, and practices to transform systems and deliver value for businesses, the society they exist within, and the environment they depend upon. 


21–22 October 2024

Duration, format and location

Two-day professional development residential seminar; Cambridge, UK



The course fee includes accommodation and meals. Discounts may be available for multiple delegates from the same organisation or participants from not-for-profits or developing countries. 

Find out more


The Leadership Lab focuses on the leadership capabilities we need to deliver the future we want.

This two-day Leadership Lab explores how the Cambridge Leadership for a Sustainable Future Framework can help leaders deliver sustainable impact. It identifies ways to catalyse and drive change, collaborate with others to build engagement and support, and provides opportunities to engage with and learn from like-minded peers.  

This workshop, conducted at one of Cambridge’s historic Madingley Hall, will combine presentations from experts, interactive sessions, and illustrative case study presentations, to enable you to create sustainability impact through purposeful leadership in your context. 

What topics will the workshops cover?

  • CISL's Leadership Framework for Sustainability Development
  • Leadership in complexity
  • Leading collaboration on a global scale
  • Emerging sustainability leadership dilemmas
  • Leadership and innovation
  • Creating and leading high performing teams
  • Leading in your context
  • Leadership mindsets, mindtraps and narratives for change


What is the Cambridge Leadership for a Sustainability Future Framework? 

This framework addresses the limitations that undermine the capacity of dominant leadership approaches from transforming systems. Instead, it promotes the significance of purpose, the relational nature of leadership expressed as four principles, and the importance of place and context to identify leadership characteristics for a sustainable future.  

Applying this framework identifies currently under-represented mindsets and capabilities that can help leaders elevate their impact and shape the future we want by tackling global issues.

Download our report: Leadership for a Sustainable Future.


Who should attend the Lab?

The Leadership Lab focuses on the leadership capacity to deliver the future we want. It targets individuals with over 5 years of leadership experience, and will be especially beneficial for senior leaders with strategic or sustainability portfolios looking to advance their sustainability acumen.   


“Transformational change is inevitable, but the outcome of that change is in our hands. And if there is one factor that will determine whether the transition will ultimately prove positive or negative, it is the leadership we create to drive and shape it.”

Lindsay Hooper, CEO, CISL


Benefits of attending

During this highly interactive programme you will explore emerging capabilities leaders require in light of the challenges and opportunities produced by economic, social and environmental forces. You will have opportunities to engage in problem-based learning exercises with the goal of deepening your understanding of and ability to respond to key leadership challenges. You will hear from thought leaders and expert practitioners, engage with peers through group activities and peer-to-peer coaching, and use journaling to reflect and process different perspectives on leadership as they relate to your context. In addition to fresh insights and knowledge, you will leave the programme with a personal leadership plan to help you put this into practice.


By participating, you will:

  • Explore emerging sustainability leadership capabilities required to manage risks and leverage opportunities to benefit people, nature, and planet.

  • Share insights into key dilemmas facing those leading transformative change, and discuss how new leadership capabilities can help navigate these

  • Reflect together on purpose, values and worldviews, and what it looks like to align personal purpose with your professional and wider societal goals
  • Experiment with strategies and tools for influencing and inspiring others
  • Explore what it looks like to nurture collective capacity for change
  • Participate in building resilience and capacity to adapt
  • Engage with problem-based learning exercises with the goal of deepening understanding of and solutions to some of the key leadership challenges. These may include long terms vs short term thinking, misalignment between personal purpose and organisational purpose; and resistance to change or a clash in diverse values.



Faculty and Contributors

Celine Crawford

Business Strategist at Arup, ex-Chairperson at Transport Research Arena (Ireland)


Kim Wylie

Vice President of People at (ex-Farfetch, ex-Google)


Jon Khoo

Environmental Policy Lead at The LEGO Group, Chair of Trustees at Surfers Against Sewage


Zoe Arden

Fellow, CISL; former Director SustainAbility, former Director of Sustainability, MSL Group


Ian Ellison

Associate Director, CISL; former Programme Director for Sustainability at Jaguar Land Rover and Corporate Responsibility Director at Airbus/BAE Systems


Gillian Secrett

Director of Leadership and Culture, CISL, Board Member of the International Leadership Association


Lou Drake

Fellow and Programme Director, CISL



Interested in this Leadership short course? Contact a member of the team to find out more, or apply.  



Download an overview of the Lab

Related Links

Resource: A handbook for nature-related financial risks: key concepts and a framework for identification

Report: Rewiring leadership: The future we want, the leadership we need

Blog by Dame Polly Courtice: Reflections on stakeholder governance: catalysing sustainable value creation

Blog from Alasdair Marks, Corporate Adviser at Business in the Community about the Lab he attended on sustainable innovation

Blog from Simon Davis, Agriculture and Sustainability Development Manager, NSF International about his experience of a Lab

CISL Network


Sustainable Innovation Lab

"This Lab built well on the previous Lab that I completed, and has really given me much food for thought and ideas for action."

Head of Sustainability, Pret A Manger

Business Model Innovation Lab

"A great two-day course that surpassed my expectations, using practical tools to challenge the way we think about our own business and challenge how bold we are being in our approach and role in tackling the sustainability issues in our own supply chains."

Agriculture and Sustainability Development Manager, NSF International

Embedding Natural Capital Lab

"Very informative, stimulating and an excellent networking opportunity."

Principal Geoscientist & Operations Geologist, Energy Geoscience

Embedding Natural Capital Lab & Sustainable Innovation Lab

“The Sustainability Leadership Labs enabled me to gain a global perspective on material issues that are impacting businesses today. I left the Labs with practical tools and knowledge that could be used immediately when I returned to the office… Every lab is unique but also consistent in providing a learning experience with other practitioners that prepares you for the volatile and uncertain environment we all operate in.”

Manager, Responsible Business, Old Mutual Emerging Markets 

Sustainability Leadership, Sustainable Innovation, & Business Model Innovation Labs

"The Leadership Labs at Cambridge have been a key way for me to gain direct insights from a broad range of academic and business thought leaders, on how organisations need to adapt in order to respond to the challenges and opportunities that sustainability poses. They also provided a forum to gain wide input from a range of other organisations how my company could respond to the opportunities and challenges. These insights have been crucial to allow me to more confidently influence internally, build business case and drive meaningful  change… and these Labs have offered an effective and flexible way to build and maintain my knowledge."

Fabrics Sustainability, W.L.Gore & Associates



Dr Tom Norton, Programme Manager