“At their core, most social enterprises are trying to solve incredibly complex social or environmental problems. And at the start of every social enterprise’s journey is the need to truly define the problem they are working with, and who is impacted by this problem. But it can be hard to work on a complex problem without being biased by our own pre-conceived ideas and perspectives.
Being placed in an unfamiliar space allows us to look at a challenge with a new perspective. Our perceptions are still there, but often they are far easier to identify and consider. Being immersed in Bangalore allowed students to sit more comfortably in this problem definition space and understand the value of defining a problem before launching into designing a solution.
Aside from a focus on problem solving, the intensive learning and practical application allowed the students to walk away after the week with a much stronger appreciation for when and how to use many of the tools and frameworks they had studied previously, as well as some new ones.
Embracing the constraints and barriers
Every project or start-up has to juggle a lack of time, access to resources, money or other limiting factor. Embracing these constraints to innovate embodies the concept of Jugaard innovation that permeates throughout India. Whether it was overcoming a language barrier, lack of time or even distance, each team creatively worked through their constraints and produced incredible social enterprise designs.
On our way back from visiting one of our case study social enterprises, the skies opened up and the city went into complete flood induced grid-lock. After an hour on the bus brainstorming and working, the students decided to roll with the situation and ditched the bus to find an alternate route home. While the weather had thrown up a hurdle, getting over the hurdle turned into one of the most enjoyable afternoons possible as the group waded through a congested open-air market to get to the underground metro station.
Road testing theories and 360-degree learning
Anyone wanting to road test their theories around social enterprise, sustainable development, leadership and business model innovation will benefit from this immersion. The more diverse the group, the better, as this is a space where learning comes from every angle – your peers, facilitators, the micropreneurs and social enterprise leaders who share their stories and the myriad of stakeholders you engage with throughout the Field Trip.
In 2019, we have extended the program to seven days in India to give students just that little more time to reflect on what they are learning as they go and to absorb and apply more during the program.”
Find out more and register for the 2019 Social Impact Field Trip to India 14-22 September 2019!