An online programme that enables universities to develop students with Cultural Intelligence (CQ).

Common Purpose has created CQ Online—an online programme that enables universities to develop students with Cultural Intelligence (CQ)— at scale. This helps students cross boundaries: between geographies and generations, sectors and specializations, backgrounds and beliefs.

CQ Online uses the Core and Flex framework. This provides a common vocabulary that helps students have difficult—sometimes courageous—crosscultural conversations. Because our interactive learning techniques prompt participants to learn from each other, the online programme can help build a community of learners. This might be within a new intake of students, a faculty or across an entire university. We also deliver online programmes specifically for students who are preparing to study abroad.

Rakesh Khurana, Dean, Harvard College

“In our ever more complex and interconnected world which has no obvious historical parallel, Common Purpose has developed a breakthrough idea about the importance of Cultural Intelligence (CQ) in order to navigate both this new world and its contradictions.”

The programme

Core and Flex

Core and Flex helps develop CQ, a crucial competency for modern, inclusive leaders. The simple Core and Flex framework helps leaders understand cultures and cross boundaries: between sectors and specializations, geographies and generations, backgrounds and beliefs. Perhaps more importantly, it helps them to unpick their own culture—when it helps and when it hinders.

Learning Objectives 

Leaders with CQ are better able to:

  • Identify the cultural influences
    that make you think and act the
    way you do
  • Explore how understanding
    yourself can help you work with
    other people
  • Develop skills to recognize what
    makes others tick and behave the
    way they do
  • Understand the role of diversity
    in innovative problem solving
Our approach to online learning

For nearly 30 years, Common Purpose has specialized in experiential learning. This experiential approach is something we have translated into CQ Online. Exercises and games encourage students to explore their own culture and other cultures in real world settings. Videos enable participants to consider personal, honest stories from global leaders at organizations such as Google, EY and the UN. Then, using the Core and Flex framework, students reflect on these experiences and begin to hold difficult—sometimes courageous— peer-conversations within a community of learners.

Core and Flex®

Core includes everything from identity to behaviours, values to beliefs. Without your Core, you wouldn’t be you. Your Flex is what you adapt. A strong Core helps you to Flex confidently. Too much Core and you stop flexing.

Over time, the line between Core and Flex moves as leaders use their experiences to continually test and reassess where it lies.

All leaders inevitably have elements in their Core that are based less on judgement than on prejudgement or bias. Core and Flex helps leaders investigate these knots and move them to Flex or—if they simply can’t be moved—manage them.

The framework is hugely valuable as cultures meet and sometimes collide. It gives leaders the language to hold the difficult conversations that need to be had in the modern day.

More Information

Online Assessment

We also offer an online assessment, which helps participants identify their leadership strengths and areas for development.

Next steps

CQ Online can be delivered as a standalone offering or can be integrated into an organization’s existing learning programmes.

To discuss CQ Online further, please contact Andy Coxall:

+44 (0)207 608 8174

Andy.Coxall@commonpurpose.org