Giselle's List (#14): August 23, 2021

Giselle's List (#14): August 23, 2021

. 4 min read

I’m just putting the finishing touches on my new website ( which had me thinking, as I often do, about how to communicate messages in ways that engage audiences. So, it seemed only fitting that this week’s list should follow that theme too.

This week’s list is about communication and creativity.


(CURRICULUM) “We turn humour into a weapon of mass instruction.” At the most recent Academy of Management meeting, David Stolin from TBS Education in France asked attendees to nominate a topic that is difficult to teach. He then created, along with comedian Sammy Obeid, a humorous video about it.  Topics included investing and market efficiency, Bayes’ Theorem, and Expectancy Theory of Motivation. The challenge wasn’t just about making a topic more fun; it was also about how to make digital education more engaging. Videos and corresponding teaching notes are available for others to use and this paper outlines the method fully. The comedian became the inaugural member of the TBS Inspiring Guide project where the school welcomes interesting, original and accomplished guests to collaborate on innovative e-learning content.

+How do you engage students in content during the pandemic/virtually? Click here to share your thoughts.


(RESOURCE) One of the resources I have on my website is a regularly updated list of sustainability documentaries, now organised by SDG. The last one I watched was “My Octopus Teacher”. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. It is full of messages that every business student should hear…and see.  Another recent favourite was “See Me: A Global Concert” produced by the World Economic Forum, filmed during COVID with women conductors and young musicians from around the world. Although this list is primarily in English, I will be adding more French and Spanish ones. If you are in need of inspiration, any of these will do the trick. Let me know if I’m missing any.

+ What documentaries do you use in the classroom or recommend to students and why? Click here to share your thoughts.


(STRATEGY) In addition to my known focus on sustainability and management education, I also study the sustainability practices of chocolate makers globally. One of my favourites is Omnom, a bean to bar chocolate company in Iceland. In addition to some impressive sustainability credentials, they are also known for their range of bars made with very creative flavours (e.g., their Superchocoberrybarleynibblynuttylicious bar). Every new employee is asked to come up with, and test out, an idea for a new flavour and encouraged to go with whatever crazy idea goes through their head (yes, even adding soy sauce). While not all of them make it onto the shelves, the exercise has numerous benefits both for staff engagement and the bottom line.

+How can you give everyone the opportunities to present and explore new ideas?  Click here to share your thoughts.


(CAMPUS) Have a great idea but need a bit of cash to help get it started? Boston University, through BU Sustainability and Innovate@BU, created Seed Grants for students with ideas for sustainability innovations which provide solutions for Boston. Each project can receive up to $500. This year’s recipients include a student group producing plant-dyed notebooks out of paper from BU recycling bins, an app that helps users prevent food waste by tracking expiration dates of food and leftovers, a project to add an icon to BU Dining Hall menus that show “low carbon options” and connecting different organisations together to reuse each other’s waste as a raw material to name but a few.

+How do you support student engagement?  Click here to share your thoughts.


“How can students build connections with people in ways which respect cultural traditions and allow for reciprocal, mutually beneficial relationships to develop in their future occupations and workplaces?” The University of Canterbury in New Zealand has a core level course on Business and Culture that invites students to reflect on their own participation in multiple cultural forms: ethics, occupational, gendered, national, digital, global, temporal etc. A focus of the course is students understanding the culture of New Zealand’ Indigenous Maori in contemporary workplaces and how it underpins the management of resources in New Zealand. The course also looks at political and regulatory influences on business and the economy.

+ What is Business Culture? What is it not? What should it be?   Click here to share your thoughts.


(IDEA) History books share some, but not the whole story. So how do we ensure that sustainability related stories and first-hand accounts are not lost? Documentaries are one way. Another is using memory keepers. It has been over 76 years since the US dropped the first atomic bomb over Hiroshima. While nuclear bombs haven’t been used in combat since, many countries are still spending billions of dollars on new forms of them. The number of survivors, along with their personal accounts of what happened and why we cannot let this happen again, are dwindling. The city of Hiroshima has been training volunteer memory keepers, or denshosha, to be able to retell these survivor stories without sensationalizing them. The training takes three years to “become almost like a translator to fill the gap and bridge between the generations”.

+ How could students and staff become memory keepers for sustainability?    Click here to share your thoughts.


(JUST BECAUSE) The world is a very colourful place. Different colours are known to bring out different emotions in different people (warm colours such as pink and yellow evoke feelings of happiness while cool such as blue and purple can spark creativity). If you want to have a go at playing with colours try doing some colourpushing or pretend to be Jackson Pollock (it’s not procrastinating, it’s about mental health).  When I’m in need of inspiration, I flip through The Secret Lives of Colour by Kassia St Clair to learn the fascinating stories behind every colour you can imagine. The colours of 2021 are Ultimate Grey and Illuminating Yellow (to symbolize strength and hopefulness), but any colour will do really.

+ Add a pop of colour to your life/outfit/office/campus.  Click here to share your thoughts.


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