The ICSE Academy will consist of four practical workshops that will provide the attendees with the tools, methods and frameworks that will enable the embedding of sustainability into the DNA of a nascent company, as a lens for innovation and a source of competitive advantage.

The following four workshops are being planned on August 28, but only two can be selected by each participant. Each workshop will last for about 1.5 hours.


Sustainable Advantage – The Business Case for Sustainable Entrepreneurship​

Bob Willard, Chief Sustainability Champion​, Sustainability Advantage​, Ontario, Canada

Is it possible to cost justify being a purpose-driven sustainable entrepreneur? Could being environmentally and socially responsible really give you a sustainability advantage? This workshop will provide an overview of free, open-source toolkits that can help you answer those questions for your venture. Sustainable businesses are essential partners in building a resilient society on our finite planet. This workshop, facilitated by Bob Willard in-person, shows you how to thrive while doing so.

Bob Willard is a leading expert on quantifying and selling the business value of corporate sustainability strategies and has given over a thousand presentations to corporate, government, university, and NGO audiences. His six books, two DVDs, business case worksheets, and extensive Sustainability Champion Slide Decks provide capacity-building resources for sustainability champions. ​ He previously worked 34 years with IBM Canada, “retiring” in 2000. He serves on the board of the Future-Fit Foundation and the B Corp Standards Advisory Council. He was inducted into the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) Hall of Fame in 2011, received Clean50 awards in 2015 and 2017, and earned “Best for the World – Overall” awards for certified B Corps in 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2018. He is an ISSP Certified Sustainability Professional and has a PhD in sustainability from the University of Toronto.​ His mission is to ensure his three children and three grandchildren’s quality of life is at least as good as he has enjoyed.


Impact Investing – How to Pitch with a Purpose

Alain-Olivier Desbois is a result-oriented intrapreneur & entrepreneur with more than 20 years experiences as investor, coach and strategic developer of startup companies and PE & VC investment funds. Alain-Olivier is passionate about impact investing and development of new business models that integrate impact, sustainability and life cycle thinking.

As head coach and designer of incubator-accelerator programs for impact companies at EspaceINC and l’Esplanade, a Montreal-based accelerator dedicated to social innovation, he contributes to the growth of innovative, efficient and sustainable start-ups. As Senior Manager of SVX Québec, Alain-Olivier is building communities of coaches, experts and investors willing to support and invest in impact companies.

Prior to working on fostering the incubator-accelerator ecosystem in Québec, Alain-Olivier was Co-Founder and Partner at Cycle Capital Management, a leading Canadian Cleantech Venture Capital Fund, where he was instrumental at defining and creating fund’s investment strategy and operational activities. Previously, he was Director of investment for the VC technology division of la Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. He is a CFA and graduated in Finance from University of Sherbrooke.


Biomimicry Design – Regenerative Design & Innovation for Entrepreneurs

Margo Farnsworth, Biomimicry Institute Fellow and Jacques Chirazi, Innovation and Commercialization Manager, The Biomimicry Institute

Businesses are increasingly being pressed into innovation spaces, not only to satisfy client needs and concerns while limiting supply costs and optimizing profit, but also lower impacts on the environment and enhance benefits to employees and the community at large. To help you tackle this array of goals, we will teach you the methodology of biomimicry (the emulation of nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies) and introduce you to biom* (the broader approaches including biomimicry, bionics, bio-utilization and bio-inspired design). We will explore how successful businesses have integrated these practices into their workspace and solved real world problems while using both biomimicry and biom* as a launchpad toward greater success in their businesses. As we guide you through the process of biomimicry in an interactive session, you will, while working in a small group setting, create a potential solution for one of two pervasive challenges faced by common businesses. You will round out your experience by identifying potential impacts of that solution to the triple bottom line.

Participants will gain a basic understanding of both the biomimicry process and the broader array of practices included in biom* while learning about businesses which have been successful and unsuccessful in deploying it at their companies. You will learn what Earth’s overarching patterns are, how they have shaped life over time and how the resulting strategies exhibited by an array of organisms respond to those contextual patterns, which helps optimize their efficiency and resilience. You will then transfer that knowledge to the context of business to solve for one of two broad challenges businesses face today. Along the way, you will have an opportunity to discuss how your solutions could impact the triple bottom line and identify what they could do for your business. You will learn and understand research and development methods related to biom* and biomimicry and apply the actual methodologies for deploying biomimicry to your business. The session will culminate in a hands-group exercise to give you basic experience with these tools.


Sustainable by Design – Design a Flourishing Business Model

Ondine Hogeboom, Flourishing Enterprise Startup Strategist & Coach – Co-Founder Lean4Flourishing

How do you design an enterprise that is financially rewarding, socially responsive, and environmentally regenerative? We call enterprises that aim to generate tri-impact, social, environmental and financial value a Flourishing enterprise. In this workshop we will experience a new visual collaborative approach to designing flourishing enterprise business models.

This is a hands-on experiential workshop that introduces collaborative, visual sense making tools and processes developed at OCAD University by the global community of practice the Strongly Sustainable Business Model Group and Lean4Flourishing – specifically the Flourishing Business Canvas and incorporates the Lean4Flouirshing Startup’s Method.

** Flourishing Enterprise: creating the possibility for human and all other life to flourish on this planet forever” –John Ehrenfeld, MIT.

Expected outcomes:

  • Learn and understand an innovative approach to co-creating business models for flourishing enterprises, based on economic, social, and environmentally-effective design principles.
  • Discover the next generation collaborative visual model design tools for modelling flourishing enterprises in any sector.
  • Be equipped to begin use the tool after the workshop in the evaluation of existing enterprises, and to envision new initiatives.