The streetwise mba: London
In partnership with Transport for London

A programme for leaders who want to be more inclusive: to lead diverse teams, serve diverse customers and work with diverse stakeholders.

Inclusive leadership: the next step

For modern leaders, the next step in their leadership development is Cultural Intelligence (CQ): a transformative approach that doesn’t just encourage inclusive thinking, but translates it into action. An approach that enables leaders to work across different cultural boundaries: geographies, generations, sectors, specializations, backgrounds and beliefs.

In our view, CQ can’t be taught through lectures or role-play exercises. That’s why Common Purpose—with the help of TfL and other organizations in London—is launching the streetwise mba for high-potential leaders. The streetwise mba will take participants out onto the streets: to places they have never been and might never choose to go. We will immerse them in unfamiliar cultures and they will have the chance to take a hard look at their own culture and the biases it might have created. In the process, they will learn from leaders who have had no choice but to become agile, inclusive and culturally intelligent—because they lead in the places where London’s diverse cultures collide.

Mike Brown, Commissioner of Transport for London

"Common Purpose creates experiences so powerful that the things you learn about leadership and yourself will last a lifetime.” 

Who is it for?

High-potential leaders who are either based in London or have been posted to London.

They could be leaders who:

  • Need the agility to operate in a global role
  • Need to broaden their horizons beyond their specialism
  • Work with customers or stakeholders from different sectors
  • Are in transition and will need to adapt fast
  • Have to function in ambiguous environments
  • Are disruptors who are prized as innovators within their organization

Each participant group will have a balance of leaders from across the public, private and NGO sectors with a broad base of backgrounds and experiences.

The outcomes

The streetwise mba will develop inclusive, agile leaders with the CQ to work more effectively with diverse colleagues, customers and stakeholders.

Drive bold innovation

Participants learn how to lead diverse groups to create innovative solutions by seeking out difference and even discord, instead of avoiding them.

Develop as leaders

Participants become inclusive leaders, with the skills and the understanding to inspire different people in uncertain, complex environments.

Make better decisions

Participants learn to recognize their biases and blind spots—and even move beyond them—so they can make better decisions.

Broader networks

Participants see the world through other people’s eyes; and forge new relationships with a broader range of people.

Jonathan Donner, Strategic Advisor and Chief, Capability Development, United Nations World Food Programme

“The CQ framework, coupled with the sophisticated experiential learning, provides a powerful follow-through for leaders who have realized either through experience or unconscious bias training that they need to be more inclusive.”

Elements of the programme

(Six hours)

By fully preparing participants for the next part the programme, our online accelerator will maximise their eventual learning. They will develop their understanding of CQ and its relevance to modern leadership. They will use our Streetwise assessment to identify their leadership strengths and areas for development. And, working with our dedicated facilitator team, they will begin to uncover unconscious biases that we will then use to design their immersion experience.

(Four days)

Part one: individual immersion (Day 1)

Instead of trying to confront blind spots theoretically, in a training room, we will place participants in a real-life environment that challenges the very roots of their biases. This might mean spending a day walking in the shoes of bankers, artists, activists or community leaders. They might have to lead an interfaith meeting or work with inmates in a prison. The immersion will be a unique opportunity for participants to understand how preconceived views can affect their actions.

Part two: experiential programme (Day 2 to 4)

Through a series of site visits and masterclasses with different organizations and leaders in London, participants will explore the skills and behaviours required to become an inclusive, agile leader. Throughout the process, they will work within a diverse group to digest learning and develop the ability to collaborate and innovate with people who are different to them. Learning groups will also help to sustain behavioural change beyond the programme by helping to set personal targets and through peer coaching.

Action Learning (online: six hours)

Our Action Learning module will provide an invaluable platform to share individual leadership challenges as participants begin to apply their learning back to their organizational role.

Line manager conference (face-to-face: one evening)

As part of our post-programme offering, we bring together the participants and their respective line managers to discuss CQ, the programme and its outcomes. This helps to embed the participants’ shifts in thinking and behaviour within their own organization.

Streetwise Assessment (online)

Participants will complete a second Streetwise assessment to identify where they need to put renewed energy.

Alumni network (continuous)

Streetwise mba participants become Common Purpose alumni, meaning they can continue their learning in a community of over 60,000 leaders worldwide.

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.”

Programme Information


The programme runs for four consecutive days with online commitments both before and after. Participants and their line managers then attend the Line Manager Conference: a follow-up evening that takes place at a later date.

Online Accelerator: TBC

Next programme: 28-31 March 2017

Line Manager Conference: TBC

Upcoming programmes: 
July 2017, October 2017


A diverse group of 40 people on each programme from at least 15 organizations across the public, private and NGO sectors.


We believe the impact of our programmes is greatly increased when two or more participants from the same organization attend the programme at the same time. Our pricing structure is therefore based on multiple participants:

two participants: £10,000
five participants: £20,000

However, for small organizations, or to meet individual needs, we welcome single applications.


We are offering five bursaries on each programme for exceptional individuals who are unable to pay the full fee.

If you are interested in the streetwise mba please contact Maria Arntzen