A Failure Playlist to Help You Sleep at Night

Failure is endemic to social impact work. Unfortunately, it’s also endemic to love. And thus, songwriters have always been able to tap into the bowels of failure to help us feel better with our lives. Published in the India Development Review, here’s a “failure playlist” you can dive into when change-making knocks you down, one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever written!


Posted in Social Change | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in 21st Century Education, Harvard Sixth Course | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Miscellaneous | Leave a comment

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. 

Posted in 21st Century Education, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in 21st Century Education, Social Change | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Social Change | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in 21st Century Education | Leave a comment

Tackling Complexity and Change

Wasafiri is a global consulting firm that “aspires to be a 21st century guild that brings together consultants into a professional community of practice that, as before, transcends institutional boundaries, promotes learning and offers our clients an assurance of quality.”

In 2016, as part of a research project on dealing with complexity in the field of social impact, they ran this interview on the bigger picture, the higher education system, that we are attempting to tackle through our work at Amani Institute.

The interview deals with some of the topics within systems thinking: tipping points, emergence, systems change. If you are interested in any of these topics, you can read the interview here.

Posted in 21st Century Education, Social Change | Leave a comment

How Do You Learn How to Change the World?

In April 2016, I was honored to give a TEDx talk at TEDxAmsterdamED. It was a thrilling experience to walk onstage at a TED event, to find your way in the darkness to that red dot of a carpet, turn to face an audience of 500 that is all looking at you but you can’t see, take a deep breath, and begin.

I spoke about the growing trend of people all around the world seeking “careers of meaning and impact”, and willing to make personal sacrifices to do so. And how this would be a giant wave of change that our education systems and organizations aren’t yet ready for. Do watch the talk!



Posted in 21st Century Education, Social Change | Leave a comment

The Role of Social Innovation in Sustainable Development

Social entrepreneurs have been known to invest in areas where not so many people are willing to channel their money into, in an effort to make a good business while achieving social good. CNBC Africa’s Charles Gitonga interviewed me on the role of social innovation in sustainable development. You can watch the feature below, which was aired on CNBC Africa in March, 2016.


Posted in Social Change, Uncategorized | Leave a comment