Business experts provide insights for firms’ sustainability and strategy

Industry experts discuss unlocking strategy in business
Entrepreneurs in Residence and Visiting Industrial Fellows discuss strategic innovation in business.

As part of the Entrepreneurs in Residence and Visiting Industrial Fellows talks 2023-24, Oxford Brookes Business School was proud to host a roundtable discussion on the topic of Unlocking Strategic Innovation.

The panel included; Dr Simon Biltcliffe, Founder and Executive Chairman, Webmart Ltd, Dr Teresa Moore, Director, A Greener Future and Rob Johnson, Former Global Purchasing Director, Jaguar Land Rover.

This roundtable discussion was a great opportunity to hear from expert business leaders about how they have been resilient and what innovations they have implemented to grow their business. Discussions centred around different types of strategy drivers such as growth, change, collaboration and adaptability. Our guest speakers shared examples of how sustainability is becoming a part of business strategy and the dangers for businesses of being reluctant to adopt a strategic approach.

We were also delighted to welcome Oxford Brookes University alumnus, Oli Coles (BEM), founder of Windo for a guest lecture on Corporate Social Responsibility. 

Guest speaker and Oxford Brookes graduate, Oli Coles

Oli delivered a dynamic talk to a highly engaged audience of students, staff and former students on the development and growth of his most recent digital platform Windo. 

Windo is a free to use app through which users can find information and compare the sustainability aims and actions of large organisations. Currently Windo is aimed at the graduate recruitment market, having identified the issue of talent retention among Generation Z for large firms. Tension between the values held by Generation Z and the values demonstrated by larger firms on sustainability is a recognised barrier to graduate recruitment and retention.

The combining of commercial opportunity with societal values is an area in which Oli specialises, having been awarded a BEM (British Empire Medal) in 2020 for his work encouraging the beleaguered hospitality industry to help feed frontline NHS workers during the pandemic. Hospitality for Heroes provided 150,000 meals and raised over £250,000 in public donations thanks to his creativity in connecting a need with untapped capacity.

There was substantive interest from the audience, with many questions including the potential for development of the app to include SMEs reporting on sustainability, the issue of carbon leakage in sustainability reporting and, more broadly, challenges facing a fast growth digital organisation such as Windo.

Professor Tim Vorley, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean of Oxford Brookes Business School said: It is fantastic that our Entrepreneurs in Residence and Visiting Industrial Fellows are so engaged with sustainability in different ways. We are committed to promoting responsible management and sustainability through our education and research, and bringing external insight into the School is key to achieving this.          

Oxford Brookes Business School looks forward to further interactions with Oli, Simon, Teresa and Rob in the future and are very excited about our partnership with them.