(June 27, 2012)

Centenary and Oxford join forces to build a better northwest Louisiana

SHREVEPORT, LA — The Frost School of Business and Oxford University engaged a select group of area leaders in community-based scenario building in Centenary's Bynum Commons, June 26-27. The participants, Centenary-Oxford 2050 Fellows, learned ways to anticipate and act on the driving forces that will shape the future for northwest Louisiana residents.

Dr. Wilkinson and group
Dr. Wilkinson mentors group

"The purpose of this program is to bring our regional leaders together to explore and discuss how this area might look in 2050 so we can better prepare for that future," said Dr. Chris Martin, Dean of the Centenary Frost School of Business. "The work of these Fellows complements the variety of strategic planning that is taking place across the Ark-La-Tex."

Dr. Angela Wilkinson, who holds a joint appointment at Oxford University's Said School of Business and Smith School of Enterprise and Environment, led a series of activities and discussions to identify major forces that would influence the region's future. Wilkinson has over 25 years of analytical, managerial, consultancy, and leadership experience, and was a member of Shell International's Global Scenario team prior to joining Oxford.

"In scenario thinking, we believe that prediction is not possible around the long-term. Rather than relying on cloudy crystal balls, it is better to be suitably prepared than precisely wrong," said Dr. Wilkinson. "We get people to think of alternative futures that might come about whether they would like them to or not, so they more fully consider the actions and choices they are facing today."

The group also discussed solutions that would mitigate any economic downturn and how to bolster initiatives already underway in the community. Many of the Centenary-Oxford 2050 Fellows are members of NWLA 2050, which was also a sponsor of the event. NWLA 2050 seeks long-term sustainable economic growth for the Shreveport-Bossier area.

Moving forward, the group plans to broaden community engagement through a website, which will launch in the near future.