Where We Started
Global Business Network (GBN) was founded in 1987 by five friends who envisioned a worldwide learning community of organizations and individuals — a network, connected by the open and generous exchange of ideas, "out-of-the-box" thinking, and ruthless curiosity.
At that time, early signs of significant change — even discontinuity — were emerging in the business environment, driven by a convergence of technological, social, political, economic, and environmental forces. GBN's cofounders were convinced that organizations would be able to translate those emerging opportunities into sustainable growth and a better future — but only if they were able to question — and change — their mental maps, embrace uncertainty, and stop predicting the future based on the past. To accelerate this shift, GBN offered scenario-based consulting and training and a membership program, called WorldView. GBN also established and engaged a multi-disciplinary network of visionary thought leaders to help organizations think more broadly, creatively, and long-term.
GBN founders, L-R:
Jay Ogilvy, Peter Schwartz, Lawrence Wilkinson, Stewart Brand, Napier Collyns
Similarly, the five founders each brought unique experience, interests, and perspectives to the venture; all five remain actively engaged in GBN's practice and network.
- Peter Schwartz, Chairman, is a renowned futurist and business strategist. The author of five books, including The Art of the Long View, The Long Boom, and Inevitable Surprises, Peter previously served as the head of scenario planning at Royal Dutch/Shell in London and directed the Strategic Environment Center at SRI International.
- Stewart Brand is a noted writer, futurist, and inventor of ideas and organizations; in addition to GBN, he co-founded the Long Now Foundation, Whole Earth Catalog, CoEvolution Quarterly, and The WELL computer network. His books include The Clock of the Long Now, How Buildings Learn, and The Media Lab.
- Napier Collyns, networker extraordinaire, spent 30 years at Royal Dutch/Shell in planning, public affairs, and human resources. As part of Pierre Wack's original scenario planning team at Shell, he pioneered the use of visionary networks to challenge, broaden, and deepen corporate thinking.
- Jay Ogilvy began his career as a professor of philosophy at Yale and Williams before heading the Values and Lifestyles (VALs) research program at SRI. He is the author of many books and articles, including Creating Better Futures and Living Without a Goal , and is "dean" of GBN's acclaimed scenario training programs.
- Lawrence Wilkinson, a multimedia innovator and investor, was also cofounder and vice chair of Oxygen Media, former president of Colossal Pictures, a film and television producer, and a classics scholar.
President Andrew Blau is responsible for evolving and overseeing GBN's growing practice, through geographic expansion; new tools, services and expertise; and collaboration with colleagues across Monitor.
Our Relationship with Monitor
In December 2000, GBN joined Monitor, greatly enhancing our ability to grow and serve the diverse needs of our clients. With 28 offices and 1500 professionals around the world, Monitor's mission is to help its clients grow — their enterprise, their value creation, their capabilities, and their social impact. Monitor works around the globe with corporations, governments and nonprofits that aspire to world-class leadership and that seek to harness the power of new ideas and sustainable practices. The company also invests in and runs new companies — with $2.0 billion assets under management. Monitor's goal is positive impact with the results to prove it: doubled growth rates for client relationships have doubled; 85 percent of from revenues come from repeat clients; investment management performance is in the top decile; and Monitor's philanthropic efforts touch more than 600,000 lives.