What to do, and what not: Putting my Harvard experience to use at Amani Institute

Last weekend, I returned to the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) for my 10-year reunion. At first it felt that I had studied there in a past life; so much has happened to me (and to the university) since I graduated.

Being there, and listening again to extraordinary professors like Marshall Ganz and Ronald Heifitz, both of whose courses I still actively use in my day-to-day work and that we teach at Amani Institute, and reconnecting deeply with my classmates, all nudged me to remember what makes this school so special. (And that’s not even taking into account the near weekly visits we used to get from international Heads of State!)

My experience at Harvard naturally played an important role when we set out to design our educational model at Amani Institute. Here are 5 things we explicitly designed for, based on how Harvard does, and does not, do it.

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My Stanford Social Innovation Review series

I’ve collaborated with the Stanford Social Innovation Review to write a series of articles about our work in social innovation education. Here is the list of articles I wrote or co-wrote as part of the series, in chronological order. In July 2017, we compiled them into a little book called Your Work Begins at No, which is available on request.

1. Social Change and the Shadow Side of Passion – find out what we mean by the ‘Wound-Gift Concept’. January 2014

2. Seven Elements of Social Innovation – our social innovation framework that underpins our training and education model. March 2014

3. Looking to Nature for Social Innovation – seeing nature as a guide and mentor towards improving our capacity to be innovators. June 2014

4. From Motivated Professional to Social Changemaker – 15 insights on leadership and transition from the frontlines of professional education. August 2014

5. World Literature on Social Innovation – A Quest – a new book makes an important contribution to a field screaming out for diversity—but may also illustrate why there isn’t more diversity. September 2014

6. The Inner Journey of the Changemaker – How we manage ourselves and empathize with others are as important as professional management skills in creating social impact. November 2015

7. Decelerate to Accelerate – Sometimes the fastest way forward may be to slow down. January 2015

8. Schools Aren’t Just Buildings – Why innovation in education is about a lot more than just building schools. July 2015

9. Time to Align – We get 24 extra hours this year, a great opportunity for social change leaders to look at the connection between who they are and what they do. February 29, 2016

10. Are You Delivering Services or Are You Providing Value? – social innovators need to ask themselves whether the products and services they offer are actually new—and whether they in fact benefit the people they aim to help. February 22, 2017

11. How to Develop Worthwhile Internships – Four guidelines for making internships valuable to both your organization and the next generation of social change leaders. June 6, 2017

12. Building a Financially Sustainable Social Enterprise in Emerging Markets – Six lessons on achieving financial independence in a resource-constrained era. July 27, 2017

Check them out and share your thoughts!  And do share it with anyone you think might be interested!

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The 12 Best Books I Read in 2017

I read 24 books in 2017. On LinkedIn, I shared the best 12, sorted in 3 genres, with a short review of each. Some are very popular today, and some are obscure. I would recommend every one of them.

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Fixing the Social Enterprise Skill Shortage: Why a ‘Fundamental Rethink’ is Needed

As part of a series of essays on talent development in the social sector, I wrote an essay for Next Billion in which I argued that living one’s values and following one’s purpose are fundamental ingredients for a fulfilled career. More importantly, these factors hold the potential to transform the global talent problem. We just need to support individuals to match their desire for making an impact with the soft and hard skills to do so.

Please click here to read the whole article. 

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How To Survive the Age of Nationalism: A First Step in Finding Common Ground

In a world increasingly and bitterly divided along values-based lines, how do we connect with those who disagree with us? And isn’t that an imperative for civil society in this new age of nationalism?

On LinkedIn, I describe an experiment we conducted in a class at Amani Institute and what it showed us. Please click here to read the article.

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The Best of Times? Reflecting on a Turbulent Year for Changemakers

On LinkedIn, I reflected on 2016, a disastrous year. Or was it? Perhaps 2016 wasn’t as bad as it was made out to be. And for our work at Amani Institute, it was a game-changing year.

Please click here to read the whole article.

And click here for my other LinkedIn essays.

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Changemaker U

Should social impact be the basis of all higher education? This is the question that Tricia Bisoux sought to explore with me in this interview on BizEd. BizEd is a bi-monthly magazine for individuals and organizations involved or interested in collegiate business education. The magazine is published by AACSB International—the world’s leading membership association for educational institutions with business programs and organizations devoted to advancing business education.

In the article, she explores the motivation behind our work at Amani Institute, and how we’re supporting higher ed through developing our next generation of changemaker leaders globally.

Please click here to read the whole interview.

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