2020 Acumen Fellowship Program for Social ChangeMakers
Deadline: August 11, 2019.
The Acumen Fellowship program is an intensive leadership development program cultivating a pipeline of tomorrow’s social changemakers. Over the course of a year, Fellows remain in their jobs while participating in five, multi-day immersive seminars and engaging in online content between seminars. Currently operating in Malaysia, Bangladesh, Colombia, East Africa, India, Pakistan, and West Africa, the Fellows Program equips leaders from across the country or region with the knowledge, skills and community to become more effective, collaborative agents of change.
1. ADAPTIVE LEADERSHIP: Based off the work of Harvard Professor Ron Heifitz, Adaptive Leadership is a practical leadership framework that helps individuals and organizations adapt and thrive in challenging environments. The content supports Fellows’ ability, both individually and collectively, to catalyze and embrace the gradual and meaningful process of change.
2. AUTHENTIC VOICE: Building off the work of Marshall Ganz, Fellows develop their capacity to articulate their story of self, us and now. Fellows are equipped to articulate a hopeful vision, speak across lines of difference, and move others to action.
3. GOOD SOCIETY READINGS: The Good Society Readings explore the meaning of a just society and the moral and historical foundation of social change through a series of curated readings of great thinkers such as Plato, Amartya Sen and Nelson Mandela. Fellows reflect on core human values, seek common ground and cultivate a richer understanding of their social change work in a broader historical context.
4. MANAGING POLARITIES: Fellows are taught decision-making methodologies that empower them to embrace competing goals and navigate the tensions between them. In an increasingly interconnected world, the ability to navigate ambiguity and cross lines of difference is critical.
5. SYSTEMS THINKING: Fellows explore the concept of Systems Thinking through frameworks and on the ground application by working collaboratively on live challenges. Fellows are provided with frameworks to better understand larger, systemic problems and design more effective interventions.
Their Fellows are individuals who dare to do what’s right, not what’s easy, to create positive change in their region. Fellows can come from diverse cultural, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds and work in any sector, and they must be committed to ending poverty and injustice in their community through their work. They are individuals who are making a long-term play at system-level impact and are seeking the leadership skills and moral imagination to make it happen.
The Fellows we seek are:
- Typically in one of the following trajectories: entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, and organizational builders whether for-profit, nonprofit, or in government. We define that as…
- entrepreneurs: founding or leading a for-profit or nonprofit organization that provides critical goods or services to the underserved
- organizational builders: supporting the growth of an organization, institution, or company focused on alleviating poverty or injustice but not as the founder of CEO
- intrapreneurs: creating innovative solutions to tackle poverty or injustice from within an existing institution by shifting its culture and building new collaborations
- Individuals who have a demonstrated history of impact, commitment and concrete connection to the region.
- Leaders with strong personal integrity, unrelenting perseverance and moral imagination.
- Committed individuals ready to undergo an intensive year-long personal transformation and leadership journey followed by an induction into the larger Fellows Community.
- Individuals of all ages and education levels who are able to participate in a program conducted in English, or in Spanish for those in the Program in Colombia.
1. During the Fellows Program, Fellows are equipped with the knowledge, support systems and skills to challenge the status quo, work across lines of difference and mobilize their communities. Curriculum includes: Good Society Readings, Adaptive Leadership, Authentic Voice, Polarity Management and Systems Thinking. Though seminars and online content between seminars,
2. Fellows build trust and test new leadership skills within their cohort. This cohort-based model creates deep bonds of trust and fellowship, which persist long beyond the first year and which Fellows utilize to create greater impact.
3. The seminars are typically held in or around major cities across the program region. In the past, they have been held in:
- East Africa Program: Nairobi, Kampala, Kigali and Dar es Salaam
- India Program: Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Raipur and Mysore
- West Africa Program: Accra, Lagos
- Colombia Program: Bogota