Responsible Business Forum (RBF) on Sustainable Development 2016, Singapore: the global complexity challenge and the role of economic institutions


Responsible Business Forum (RBF) 2016, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.

Haoliang Xu, Assistant Secretary General, UN and Director, Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, UNDP speaking at the Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development 2016 opening discussion panel. The topic was on collaboration and innovation to deliver global goals. The forum was held from 22 to 24 November 2016 at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) Convention Centre in Singapore. The panelists include (L-R), Erin Meezan, Chief Sustainability Officer, Interface, Sathasivam Subramaniam, Minister of Health, Malaysia and Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International. The session was chaired by Malcolm Preston, Global Sustainability Leader, PwC.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

The 5th Responsible Business Forum (RBF) on Sustainable Development took place at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre in Singapore from 22– 24 November 2016. If there was a practical recurrent theme to the forum, it would be the highly complex nature of the concept of sustainability and sustainability goals, as exhibited by the 17 SDG tracks with a total of 34 SDG workshops in agenda for participants. Each track had for their session, panelists presenting case studies on each topic. The case studies presented provided for an interesting exchange of ideas during the brief Q&A (question and answer) session towards the session’s end. The main idea is to create a greater sense of awareness of how corporations and their businesses processes, with their multinational reach can actively shape global events, working together with economic institutions and governments in order to shape policies that will have a positive cascade of betterment in living conditions for the greater number of people.

Connecting ideas in theoretical physics and the language of education


Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Mid-Sweden 2016

Autumn in mid-Sweden 2016.
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

The reflections in this post stem as part of a theme I’m currently reading on the democratisation of education, based on literature reads Biesta [1], Leathwood [2], Martinsson [3] and Kalonaityté [4], followed by Lekebjer et al. [5]. Amongst the reads, I and was immediately drawn back to Biesta’s life’s work in academia that revolved around education philosophy, only after he began a decade’s work into teaching physics [6].

There seems to be one consistent message in Biesta’s scholastic pursuit, reflected in the myriad of literature he has produced, and influenced. Within this message, I have picked up three themes that resonate with my own learnings through my academic career with undergraduate foundations in the field of the study of the English language and critical discourse analysis – language (of education / of learning) [1, -10], subjectivity [6,9,10] and purpose [6-11].

I have personally pondered the paradigm of knowledge transfer and the role of the education institution in today’s society of digital infrastructure and information communication technologies (ICTs), and the realisation of the impact of technology on what skills would be needed for tomorrow’s societies. Formal education will certainly have a hand in helping mold the minds and fostering the craftsmen of tomorrow. But how? And to what purpose in the context of flux and uncertainty? One needs only to look at the developments in autonomous automation to envision a different factory of the future, machines communicating with machines, machines building machines, already in the making, now.

I was thus intrigued to listen to the ideas behind Biesta’s works,

The 8th IEEE International Conference on Management of Innovation and Technology (ICMIT2016), Bangkok, Thailand


Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Chai Kah Hin, ICMIT 2016 conference, Bangkok, Thailand.

To the right, Dr. Chai Kah-Hin, Associate Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering of the Engineering and Technology Management Division, at the National University of Singapore (NUS), at the 8th IEEE International Conference on Management of Innovation and Technology (ICMIT2016), Bangkok, Thailand. Assoc. Professor Chai is the conference program chair, and in 2014, he was awarded Outstanding Reviewer for Managing Service Quality in the Emerald Literati Network 2014 Awards for Excellence. To the left, Dr. Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, present as session chair to “Service Innovation and Management”, and paper presenter.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

The 8th IEEE International Conference on Management of Innovation and Technology (ICMIT2016) took place between 19 to 22 September in Bangkok, Thailand. The conference was initiated by the IEEE Engineering Management Society Singapore Chapter in 2000 that sees countries within the region of Southeast-Asia as event host locations. Focusing on the tripronged framework of science, technology and innovation (STI), the eleven tracks of the ICMIT2016 conference provides a platform for insight exchange of the latest developments in the field of innovation and technology management for scholars and practitioners alike.

The 26th annual RESER (The European Association for REsearch on SERvices) Conference 2016, Naples, Italy.



Patrik Ström, Associate Professor in Economic Geography, Head of Department of Business Administration at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg, and President of RESER (The European Association for REsearch on SERvices), in Naples, Italy, for the 26th Annual RESER Conference that took place 8 to 19 September 2016. To the right, Dr. Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, also presenting a paper at the conference.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

The 26th annual RESER (The European Association for REsearch on SERvices) conference was held from 8 to 10 September in Naples, Italy. RESER was established in 1988 at the time when research in services was just beginning to develop in light of new global economic and social restructuring after the early 1980s recession. The University of Gothenburg had the honour of organising RESER’s 20th annual conference where Patrik and I were part of the main organising committee, and this year, the conference was organised by the University of Naples Federico II, with sessions held at the Congress Center Federico II, via Parthenope. The year’s theme was expressed in the interrogative What’s ahead in service research? New perspectives for business and society. that acted too, as a directive for research and practitioners of the field.

Neue Pinakothek, München, Germany 2016, in semiosis

LANGUAGE // PHYSICS // Study visits

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Neue Pinakothek, München, Germany 2016

In semiosis at the Neue Pinakothek, München, Germany 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Museums are to me, the language of space that affords you to cross time and geographical boundaries, continuing conversations with individuals who once were, picking up subjects where you last left off as if on another coffee break. It is space defined both in its Euclidean sense, and in its Minowskian sense [1]. The former defines an architectural closure and the latter as an interwoven fabric of a spacetime continuum.

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Neue Pinakothek, München, Germany 2016

hunsinger in der Neuen Pinakothek.

Stepping into the Neue Pinakothek felt as if I was once again in close proximity to artists whose works I am familiar with, last seen when I left the Musée d’Orsay in Paris in March 2016.

Technology convergence, systems thinking and the role of international business studies


Systems Biology Trinity

Illustration of the Trinity of Systems Biology, from the Institute of Systems Biology (ISB) and ISB’s Innovation Engine. “This virtuous cycle of biology driving technology driving computation can exist only in a cross-disciplinary environment where biologists, chemists, computer scientist, engineers, mathematicians, physicists, physicians and others can come together in teams to tackle grand challenges.” [1] Perhaps a potential complementary knowledge gap to be filled in the trinity of the innovation engine would be economic geography and the field of international business (IB) studies to investigate the facets of impact of such an innovation engine on economic policies and global value chains.
Text © CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

When studying trends of technological innovation, my thoughts are often drawn towards the evolution of the robotics industry and the impact of systems biology on machine design / function. Developed from the perspective of biological evolution as described in a 2006 study on self-modeling resilient machines, intelligent machines can self-diagnose its context, morph, adapt behaviour and replicate:

“Here, we describe an active process that allows a machine to sustain performance through an autonomous and continuous process of self-modeling. A robot is able to indirectly infer its own morphology through self-directed exploration and then use the resulting self-models to synthesize

Singapore Management University
BSM Scandinavia 2016
visiting the Swedish west coast


Swedish west coast, Singapore Management University (SMU) Business Study Mission (BSM) Scandinavia 2016

The Singapore Management University (SMU) on their 2016 Business Study Mission (BSM) Scandinavia group visits the Swedish west coast. The group is headed by Tom Estad, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Student Matters, SMU.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

For a number of years now, students of the Singapore Management University (SMU) have made it a tradition on their annual Scandinavian Business Study Missions, to visit the actual departure point of the Swedish East India Company (1731-1813) yearly voyages to China. It was in the aftermath of these trips and those of the Portuguese, Dutch and the English companies that the very state of Singapore was founded just a few years thereafter as a British trading post in 1819.

Some years back, I found myself in discussion with a professor of economic geography, of the travels with students on a geography field study trip to an ice cave in Russia where during the time of the late 1900s, travel routes between Sweden and Russia were not as accessible as they are today. Listening to the somewhat humour filled challenges of gathering about sixteen students on the trip with either poor clothing choice or sometimes even lack of proper food during the long outdoor treks, I wondered if I could myself ever pull through such an expedition. I asked the professor what motivated him to arrange this student ice cave travel to Russia?

A village of Walden huts


In a recent round-table session, the concept of ‘ideas’ was discussed and the question of whether ideas could in fact be stolen, and if so – is that a bad thing – was debated.

Two related thoughts were put forth. The first was from Henry D. Thoreau’s book Walden (1854).

“Be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought.” (p. 343)

The other was Matt Ridley’s, The Rational Optimist and “The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge”:

“Innovation is about the combining and re-combining of ideas. That virtually every technology that we can think of is a combination of other technologies. …That is the fuel of innovation and that’s why innovation happens where people can meet and exchange ideas.” [1]

Thoreau’s Walden bravely postulated that we should not be afraid of being open to whole continents of new thoughts. More than a century later, we find that current information technologies make possible the creation of entire villages of Walden huts. I am here not quite using the concept of Thoreau’s cabin as it was meant by Thoreau himself, but rather in metaphor of a network of connecting ideas. In such a case of an evolution of perspective and technologies over time, one could conclude that the more open the environment for the sharing of information and ideas, the greater the mutual benefit for the people.

Introduction to quantum physics 5th century: Dionysius the Areopagite


atlas CERN 2012

Candidate Higgs boson event from collisions in 2012 between protons in the ATLAS detector on the LHC. Image: ATLAS/CERN [1]

Dionysius the Areopagite

Mystical Theology

Chapter I

These things thou must not disclose to any of the uninitiated, by whom I mean those who cling to the objects of human thought, and imagine there is no super-essential reality beyond; and fancy that they know by human understanding Him that has made Darkness His secret place. And, if the Divine Initiation is beyond such men as these, what can be said of others yet more incapable thereof, who describe the Transcendent Cause of all things by qualities drawn from the lowest order of being, while they deny that it is in any way superior to the various ungodly delusions which they fondly invent in ignorance of this truth? [2,3,4]

[1] CERN 2015. ATLAS and CMS experiments shed light on Higgs properties. Internet resource at, retrieved 27 March 2016.
[2] Stanford University, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, First published Mon Sep 6, 2004; substantive revision Wed Dec 31, 2014. “Ch. 1: Introduction, and allegory of Moses’ ascent up Mt. Sinai.” Internet resource

The latent image


Auguste Rodin, L’aurore (Camille Claudel) c.1885, Musée Rodin, Paris.

Auguste Rodin, L’aurore (Camille Claudel) c.1885, Musée Rodin, Paris.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Dionysius the Areopagite

Mystical Theology

Chapter II

How it is necessary to be united with and render praise to Him Who is the cause of all and above all. Unto this Darkness which is beyond Light we pray that we may come, and may attain unto vision through the loss of sight and knowledge, and that in ceasing thus to see or to know we may learn to know that which is beyond all perception and understanding (for this emptying of our faculties is true sight and knowledge), and that we may offer Him that transcends all things the praises of a transcendent hymnody, which we shall do by denying or removing all things that are like as men who, carving a statue out of marble, remove all the impediments that hinder the clear perceptive of the latent image and by this mere removal display the hidden statue itself in its hidden beauty.

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