01 Dec 2000

Global Leadership Initiative's Director Focuses on Technology

by Nancy O. Perry


As the first director of the HBS Global Leadership Initiative, Alan Price is working to extend the School's reach in the teaching of leadership. Launched in 1999 by Dean Kim B. Clark and headed by leadership expert Professor John P. Kotter, the initiative is intended to establish an institutional legacy of leadership beyond the scope of the School's MBA and Executive Education Programs. "The idea is to reach out to alumni and to the world at large, deploying innovative technology to leverage traditional and nontraditional learning," says Price, who was appointed director last January.

A 1992 graduate of Harvard Law School and a former consultant in management and negotiation strategy, Price says that HBS is interested in developing "technologically appropriate" approaches that will reach an optimum number of people with useful and engaging material at a reasonable cost. One of several incubators at the School experimenting with electronic distance-learning models, the Global Leadership Initiative has already launched a number of key research projects.

The first, an interactive Internet survey available on the HBS Working Knowledge Web site (hbsworkingknowledge.hbs.edu), enables Kotter to share ideas and receive feedback from alumni on cutting-edge leadership questions, concerns, and issues in real time. Another project seeks to simplify the rhetoric and scholarship surrounding leadership and to make the ideas more accessible. The initiative is gathering inspirational stories about "everyday leaders" that can be packaged in multimedia formats.

A third project, led by Harvard Graduate School of Education doctoral candidate Ellen Pruyne, examines how people develop the ability to envision a better future. What teaching and learning approaches can help develop this ability?

These and other projects are in the early research phase, Price notes. He emphasizes that the initiative's collaborative structure draws on the talents of HBS faculty and includes assistance from other experts in the field. "We have marshaled an extraordinary group of people to help with this," he says, "and we'd like to have our first Internet application ready by the spring of 2001." An elective MBA course in leadership is also on the drawing board.


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