Common Purpose

Frontrunner is a leadership development programme for university students.

What is Frontrunner?

Young leaders of today recognise that they need to engage with their communities to solve the problems that face them. Common Purpose Frontrunner is designed to help students understand how the city in which they are studying works, and doesn't work. The course takes students into their local community to learn about what makes communities thrive and how leaders lead.

The programme will be run in 10 new wave cities each year. On each instance this will be for 100 students within the city from various Higher Education Institutions, from diverse streams/academic disciplines and for those of different levels (from undergraduate to postgraduate level students).

What happens on the programme?

You will explore the challenge 'What makes a city smart?'. You will meet visionary thinkers from businesses, governments and not-for-profit organisations to help you understand the challenge and find creative ideas to solve it.

During the four days, participants will:
  • Meet all kinds of leaders: Some with power and others with influence. Those who are elected, appointed or simply volunteer. Leaders who are up against it or playing the long game.
  • Discover how cities work: See how communities and sectors interconnect. Investigate how decisions are made and why some are never made.
  • Work on a local challenge: Unpick the issues and develop new ideas, Identify solutions and present the outcomes to local leaders.


This results in:
  • Appreciation of the complexities of leadership.
  • Learning to work with people who are very different from you.
  • Development of your own leadership story.
  • Understanding how your city - in fact any city - and society works.
  • Getting engaged in local issues in your city.
  • Starting planning your career as a citizen.
  • Learning to innovate together.
  • Engaging with local NGOs and other city stakeholders to deliver solutions.
  • Becoming someone who can lead complex change.

Who could you meet?

During the four days you will direct your own learning, speaking to leaders from and visiting organisations from the Social sector, Private sector and the Public sector.

What are the benefits?

As a result of Frontrunner students are:

  • More employable.
  • More responsible.
  • Prepared to be leaders.
  • Ready to tackle complex problems.
  • Equipped with broader horizons.

In addition to this, the participants will learn how to develop innovative solutions to complex problems and to collaborate and leverage on their individual strengths towards a larger objective.

Important information

When and where?

The dates for the next programme in this series will be announced shortly.

How can I apply to attend?

Fill in the online form to apply for Frontrunner. If you have any questions about the programme or the application process please contact your local Common Purpose office here

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