Sky Blue

/skʌɪˈbluː/ n. 1. The colour of the unclouded sky at noon

Sky Blue is an online leadership programme for people who are working on our environmental challenges.

To tackle these challenges, we will need to re-imagine and transform the systems that support our way of life. This will require a multi-disciplinary approach.

We need leaders who can cross the boundaries of sector, generation, professional discipline and belief, and who can build cross sector collaborations that deliver results.

Sky Blue brings together a dynamic group of leaders from around the world, from many different fields, who have a common focus – our environment.

It gives them the cross-boundary leadership skills and broader networks to increase their impact, and a community of practice that enables the exchange of experience, ideas and strategies with their peers.

Lynda Mansson, Director General, MAVA Foundation

“We wanted to work with Common Purpose on the MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy because of their track record, and their expertise in crossboundary leadership. It has proved to be a very successful and fruitful partnership. It is hugely important that leaders working in conservation, and the wider environmental movement, are able to work collaboratively with leaders from other fields.”

Why collaboration matters

Collaboration – between sectors, organizations and individuals – is hard. The different agendas, objectives and motivations of the parties involved means that they often fail. Or, they may succeed on the face of it, but the original ambition is lost because relationships deteriorate or the priorities of the partners become more important than the collective vision.

Collaborations that tackle environmental challenges are no different; many of the issues are extremely complex and cannot be solved by any one individual, organization or sector, working alone.

The reward for effective collaboration is undeniable; and if we want people and our environment to flourish we need collaboration to work.

Sky Blue gives leaders at the heart of tackling these issues the skills, connections and peer-support that will increase their chances of success. Enabling them to create the quality of collaboration that is needed if we are to deliver sustainable, and socially just, solutions for both people and nature.

The aim, with this programme as the first step, is to convene a community of leaders around the world who are committed to our environment and who are working collaboratively, across sectors, to create a sustainable future.

Rashidatu Iddrisah, Head of Programmes, CAMFED Ghana - Tamale

“I saw first-hand how leaders from across all sectors shared the importance of building long lasting partnerships. As each leader spoke, I saw a pattern emerging – each one of them didn’t achieve success on their own; instead they achieved it through partnership and collaboration.

What is cross-boundary leadership?

For 30 years, Common Purpose has developed leaders who can cross boundaries – between sector, specialism, geography, generation, background and belief. We will bring our cross-boundary leadership knowledge to Sky Blue.

Leading Beyond Authority (LBA)

The ability to produce change beyond your direct circle of control. People who develop this ability are more effective in unfamiliar territory, where the authority (or credibility) gained in their own organization or sector is often not present.

Cultural Intelligence (CQ)

The ability to cross divides and thrive in multiple cultures. Our simple and empowering CQ framework helps leaders unpack their own culture and confidently work with others.

Our programmes in 2019:


feel better prepared to influence beyond their circle of authority


feel better prepared to thrive in complexity


feel better prepared to adjust their behaviour in culturally diverse situations

Shuvo Saha, Director, EMEA Customer Programmes, Google

"Like everything else they do, Common Purpose’s approach to online learning is unique – their online programmes unlock the energy, insight and transformation that only ever comes when leaders from completely different worlds connect on such a deep level.” 


We want to gather an exciting and dynamic mix of people from different disciplines, geographies and generations.  Diversity is important to creativity (and resilience) and we aim to convene a group of people that will inspire, challenge and support one another to develop existing projects and create new ones.

Is Sky Blue for me?

This programme is for you if you are:

  • working on a project, idea, challenge, or issue related to the environment that requires you to work with people from other sectors
  • want to connect with leaders from different generations, fields and disciplines from around the world who are working on environmental issues
  • prepared to bring your ideas, expertise and experience and share them with your peers.

When does it start? 15 November 2020.

Language: The programme is conducted in English. We hope to offer future programmes in other languages.

What will it cost? There is no cost to participants. Sky Blue is funded by an independent philanthropist through her foundation, The Heffner Rosenwald Howard Foundation.

How do I apply? Please click here to apply. The deadline to apply is October 15.

Want to find out more? 
If you would like to discuss the programme please contact us