About the Center
The Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit exists to create a world in which business can prosper, human beings can flourish and nature can thrive.
Here, we advance the concept of business as an agent of world benefit through our internationally used AIM2Flourish program and annual Flourish Prizes, our Global Forum series, and through research, teaching and applied service.
The Fowler Center was established in 2009, with the timely and generous gift of Chuck and Char Fowler. Originally named the Fowler Center for Sustainable Value, the donation launched the Inquiry into Business as an Agent of World Benefit initiative, started in 2002, to a new level of priority, scale and scope as an interdisciplinary center of excellence.
“Sustainability is here to stay,” said Chuck Fowler, “and it's not just the right thing to do but it's a business innovation engine—doing good and doing well are totally and mutually reinforcing, and sustainability provides an overarching ideal and storehouse of leadership tools to make it so.”
The Fowler Center's aim is clear: to build on and leverage the legacy and to create the finest research, education, and applied center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit in the world.
Mission and Purpose
The Fowler Center helps propel business success and flourishing enterprise through the belief that business is one of the most powerful and positive forces for advancing a better world. The center challenges, at every turn, what might be called “the great trade-off illusion”—the myth that doing good is at odds with doing well. Peter Drucker, one of our first advisors, was clear that every business exists to create value and advance a better society.
“Every social and global issue of our day is a business opportunity in disguise... just waiting for the pragmatism of good business, its capacity for radical innovation and entrepreneurship, and its management for results.”
— Peter Drucker
The research, teaching and service mission of the Fowler Center is to be one of the world's most powerful, science-based and inspiring organization development centers for the advancement of business success and what we call “full spectrum flourishing.”
The concept of business as an agent of world benefit is about accelerating, as the new normal, the kind of full spectrum flourishing enterprise that's about:
- People being inspired every day and bringing their best selves to work;
- Innovation arising from everywhere; and
- Realizing remarkable relationship value with stakeholders—customers, employees, supply chain partners, communities, and the biosphere—to create unprecedented, enduring business advantage.
About the Founder
“David Cooperrider is changing the world with his ideas and who he is as a person. There are few who combine such insight, inspiration and energy.”
— Jane Dutton, former President of the Academy of Management
David L. Cooperrider, PhD, is the faculty director and founder of the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit. He is a Distinguished University Professor and holds the Fairmount Santrol - David L. Cooperrider Professorship in Appreciative Inquiry at Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. Cooperrider is also the honorary chairman of Champlain College's David L. Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry at the Robert P. Stiller School of Business. In 2017, he received "The Lifetime Achievement Award"—the highest honor in his field of organization development.
Cooperrider is best known for his original theoretical articulation of Appreciative Inquiry, or “AI,” created at the Weatherhead School of Management in the 1980s. Today, AI's approach to strengths-inspired change, instead of problematizing change, is being practiced everywhere from the corporate world to the worlds of public service, economics, education, faith, philanthropy, and social science scholarship.