KARL MOORE – This is Karl Moore of the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, Talking Management for The Globe and Mail. Today I am delighted to sit down with my McGill colleague Henry Mintzberg to talk about his new GROOC.
So Henry, what is a GROOC?
HENRY MINTZBERG – Come on Karl, everyone knows what a GROOC is, you don't know? No, actually I am just kidding. It is a term we invented – it is a MOOC for groups. A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course, you know one of these things where, you know, 150,000 people sign up and 26 finish or something like that, but not quite. So we are doing one for groups. It's not the first time people have tried to do one for groups, but it is the first one called a GROOC so we are laying claim to the term.
KARL MOORE – So what is the topic of the GROOC?
HENRY MINTZBERG – It is called "Social Learning for Social Impact" and it's to encourage people around the world to get together through groups, through our own GROOC, to get together in groups and undertake social initiatives; whether it is injustice in their own society, or health, or meals on wheels for older people, or something to do with the environment or whatever. We are trying to encourage people to create their own social initiatives that will change the world, the way Grameen Bank was a social initiative that started with some village women in Bangladesh to micro-finance them and became a worldwide phenomenon.
KARL MOORE – Why now? Both the topic why are you and McGill getting into MOOC's now.
HENRY MINTZBERG – Well, a lot of people are getting into MOOC's because it's actually an interesting way to bring a large part of the world to educational processes that they could never access. So we have somebody literally registered from Papau New Guinea, for example. He can't or she can't come to McGill but they can sign up for this. But we are also trying to stimulate more social initiatives because there is so much more imbalance in the world with the private sector being so influential, as I talk about in my book Rebalancing Society, and the public sector and civil society, that I call the plural sector, being weak these days that we need to strengthen the plural sector as the sector that is neither government owned or business owned or privately owned. These social initiatives are plural sector activities, so give people a good taste or what is possible there.