Global Sustainability Innovation Labs:

CONTEXT: Global developmental efforts to address sustainability challenges often get stuck at institutional & sectoral silos. Leaders world-wide are emphasizing the importance of deeper leadership engagement and cross-sectoral innovations. India in particular is confronted with deep societal divide between haves and have-nots

OUR APPROACH: In partnership with Presencing Institute & MIT, we bring cutting-edge processes for cross-sectoral innovation and systems change to communities in India and beyond. We work with top-leaders in different countries across the world on sustainability challenges like agriculture, health, nutrition, climate change etc. We engage leaders across sectors who are passionate about bridging the societal divides in personal & systemic transformation journey (based on U-process):

  1. Co-initiating: with other leaders who share your passion
  2. Co-sensing: Journeying to edges of the system to seek insights from the field
  3. Co-presencing: Reflecting and connecting with your deeper source of inspiration
  4. Co-creating: Transforming inspiration into action by prototyping innovations
  5. Co-evolving: institutionalizing the innovations into the mainstream


Project: Transforming Anti-trafficking ecosystem in India

Partners: Kamonohashi, Save The Children India (STCI) & Presencing Institute
Context: Strengthening partnerships for co-creating an ecosystem that transforms the challenge of human trafficking in India
Work done in 2017: We started with a partnership workshop between key leaders of Kamonohashi Japan and STCI India. Using Theory U tools and Social Presencing Theatre (SPT), we explored existing conflicts and challenges faced by these partners in implementing anti-trafficking work in state of Maharashtra. We had follow-up meetings with various stakeholders and work started on 2 grass-roots based prototypes to transform lives of survivors and bring judiciary closer to community.
  • Renewed commitment to each other and the purpose of the partnership. New projects started with network of 9 partner NGOs working on anti-trafficking bill
  • Level of attention shifted from Level 1/2 (download/debate) to Level 3/4 (dialogue/generative engagement)
  • Reallocation of resources for proactively bringing judiciary closer to community
  • 2 prototypes started: 1. bridging gap between community and justice+police systems and 2. working with girls to redefine the mission from anti-trafficking to pro-dignity
Project: Women Institute of Leadership & Learning (WILL), India 
Partners: SSP India and their grassroots women entrepreneurs network, Synchronize Consult Germany, PI Europe
Context: Multi-Sectoral Partnership to develop a leadership network of  grass-root women entrepreneurs promoting green energy products and services (2012-15).  Their collective vision was to have their unique, distributed, action-learning based, leadership institute (WILL). We did extensive prototypes over 2017.
  • We prototyped the WILL with 20 women leaders over a year. They are now facilitators in Theory U & Social Presencing Theatre based systems change processes. 3 out of the 20 women got national awards for their outstanding work.
  • SSP group inner transformation led to winning large grant and successful development of clean-energy entrepreneurial network of 1000+ women.
  • Launched 6 resource centres that acted as an action-learning and networking centre for women entrepreneurs of the village.
  • We hosted a learning journey for automobile business executives from Germany to teach them grassroots-women-led systems change. This exchange led to new dream scaling the resource centres upto 500 across India thru digitalization. We have invited leaders from Europe, Africa, USA for Global Forums in India and traveled there for learning exchange
Project: Reframing Journeys: Social Entrepreneurs as Ecosystem leaders 
Partners: Ashoka India & Presencing Institute
Context: We worked with around 50 Social Entrepreneurs and 7 social enterprises teams who have been working with marginalised communities across India and South Asia, to help them explore how can they influence the larger ecosystem in future.
Work done: In 2016 we did first Social Presencing Theatre retreat (a contemplative art based workshop) in Kerela with 24 social entrepreneurs. In 2017, we did two retreats. One was in Goa in Feb 2017 with 25 leading social entrepreneurs. The second was a deeper engagement in which we invited 7 social entrepreneurs to come with their top teams to reflect and reframe their future journey as ecosystem leaders. These 7 organisations represented 3 divides— ecological, social and spiritual
  • Creating “embodied leadership” as a way of being in Ashoka network. They are now establishing these retreats as annual ritual.
  • Most participants shared a shift in the way they thought about future and their role as leaders
  • 7 organisations we worked deeply with over 2017 have significant future outcomes. Example: The Goat Trust realised in the workshop that they were keeping the grassroots too away from the ownership model. They invited us again to work with their team to help them shift the ownership framework. The same in implemented on their 9th anniversary in November 2017. Iswar Sankalp that works with people with severe disability, has implemented circle leadership framework as a result of the workshop. All 7 organisations have started practising mindfulness and movement as a daily practice. Two organisations working on ecosystem activation and herbal medicines took learning journey and evolved a partnership to accentuate their efforts to whole ecosystem.
Project: Bhavishya Alliance: Multi-Sectoral Partnership to address child malnutrition in India (2006-2012).
Partners: Unilever-UNICEF-Synergos Institute led partnership between corporations, Government, NGOs & global development agencies
Role: Facilitated partnership dialogues, projects and coached leadership team in building a strong project team leading to effective implementation
Outcome: 7 successful multi-sector partnership innovation projects leading to new learning. 16 percentile reduction in stunting of children (indicator of child under-nutrition) in 5 target districts.

Project: Agricultural transformation in Ethiopia (2013-2018)
Partners: Ministry of Agriculture, Synergos Institute & Presencing Institute.
Work done: This was extension of the work PI has been doing in Ethiopia over last 5 years on Agriculture Transformation project with senior leaders of Ministry. Intent on the workshop has been to develop their leadership capacity and understanding of a systems thinking perspective for addressing ministry issues.
  • 150 leaders trained. Leading to developing an ecosystem of leaders who share common vision and practice deep listening and dialogue.
  • Ministries evolutionary history mapped surfacing the underlying assumptions and sources of inspiration. This lead to renewed commitment of new and old leaders towards their common purpose
  • Synergos staff apprenticed with us to develop local capacity. They are now developing materials and raising funds to take this work to upto 57000 government staff in coming years
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