Digital transformation and emerging technologies have disrupted the workplace, from the skills employees need in the workplace to the entrepreneurial mindset they require in this dynamic and globalized economic system. In parallel, and aligned to the social, economic, and environmental challenges for building a sustainable future, leaders need to think responsibly and envision a pathway to maintain a balance between people, profit, and planet. 

The inaugural Responsible Leaders of the Future Conference were held at the end of May at Griffith University South Bank and Gold Coast campuses aimed at high school students from years 10 to 12. A total of 210 students from 16 different schools joined together with their teachers. Throughout the conference, students were encouraged to think as responsible leaders of the future, and they successfully put in practice the 21st century skills to design enterprising ideas that contribute to the grand sustainable challenges (or the SDGs, according to the United Nations). During the day, they also had the opportunity to see what life as a Griffith student would entail.  

The feedback from students and teachers was very positive. Overwhelmingly, students also enjoyed connecting and networking with students from other schools. They also enjoyed the opportunity to practice the 21st century skills (personal and social skills, critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration and teamwork, communication, and ICT skills) through designing tangible solutions.  One student expressed: ‘The encouragement and opportunity to build confidence to speak in front of large crowd. I was very proud of myself’. 

One of the teachers echoed: ‘The overall bringing together of ideas in the presentations. Having students talk to the various elements of their groups ideas was a great way to emphasise their products ideas.’  

For BSI, this event was also an incredible experience that gave us the opportunity to work collaboratively with colleagues across GBS, including professional and academic staff. Based on the overwhelming success of this event, BSI is looking forward to more such events where we can bring more students in to give them experience of being a part of Griffith University. 

A sincere thanks to Emilie McGrath, David Beirne, Haley Wheeler, Jaq Ford (and their team) for organizing such a successful event, and Dr. Marie-Louise Fry, Celeste Alcaraz, Dr. Sara Thaichon for their involvement in the interactive activities of the day. Also, a special thank you to Professor Fabrizio Carmignani for providing an engaging introduction and welcoming to the students at the beginning of the events.