Sustainable Innovative Collaboration



Written by Alexis Dursunyan, Graduate Student of International Communication at St. John’s University. 

A round table allows for equal, free flow of conversation and collaboration between individuals. Research shows that circular seating arrangements lead to people feeling a need to belong. ICSB Academy was a series of round tables; inspiring innovation, creativity and best of all friendship.

Collaboration opens up a new level of human functioning which contributes towards human development. To achieve a goal, personal or global, one must seek out all possible resources they can. Young people have proven that they are inclined to collaborate, and that contributes to solving some of society’s most complex development challenges. Working towards the realization of Sustainable Development Goals necessarily demands collaborative action.

I was one of eight students from St. John’s University who traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina, this summer to be a part of the ICSB Academy. Together with students from China, Canada, Germany, Afghanistan and Argentina we experienced true innovative collaboration through working in diverse student teams. Each day of the conference we were compelled to exchange sustainable development ideas and learn ways to start a business.

As one develops an idea it goes through different phases. One would assume that – since the body needs 7-9 hours of sleep – an idea only has a timeframe of 15-17 hours to evolve. Luckily, the mind is like a muscle that requires no slumber, leaving an idea the potential to continue to develop while the body is at rest. While in Argentina we were so fully immersed in our sustainable small business ideas and workshops that I literally dreamt about them! I don’t know if it was the 11 hour flight or all the delicious Malbec; either way, each day of the conference I felt more connected with our idea and the overall idea of meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

None of the sustainable development goals will be met unless all of us, big and small, work together. Small businesses have a unique strength that will shape the future of our society. ICSB Academy provided me with an experience that has encouraged me to make a difference. What I first thought would be an educational trek through the city turned out to be an entrepreneurial exploration of the future.


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