APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
Acumen will build national and regional training programs around the world that will use the foundation of the Acumen Fellows Program and the lessons learned from Acumen Fund's global portfolio to invest in leaders who have strong business skills, moral imagination, and a deep commitment to social change. Pending funding, Acumen plans to launch two programs in 2011, starting in Kenya and Pakistan, with plans to scale to at least five programs by 2014.
The national and regional programs will be twelve months and will include twenty individuals from diverse sectors, cultures, and economic backgrounds who are driving social change within businesses, public sector organizations, governments, and non-profit organizations. The twelve month training will include five seminars on the following topics: patient capital, building a good society, human centered design, leadership and collaboration, and business management. It will also include a regional trip for all participants. The program will end with a two day Innovative Collaboration Summit, in which Acumen Fund will provide seed funding to promising collaborations between the participants. The aim of the Innovation Collaboration Summit is to develop innovative new products, models of service delivery, and partnerships that can bridge the gap between business and society. One example and inspiration for this aspect of the program was the development of MPESA, a Safaricom service allowing you to transfer money using a mobile phone, which was a partnership between the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and Safaricom to deliver a new banking product to the poor.
Acumen plans to monitor this initiative by committing to the execution of at least five programs, pending funding, in the next four years. In the short-term, Acumen will measure this program along the following indicators: recruitment and selection of top candidates, execution of program in five geographical regions, quality of innovations funded in each region, success of leaders inside their organizations post-fellowship, and sustainable sources of funding. Their long-term metrics will include the professional accomplishments of the leaders, the collective actions of the Fellows over time and the use of their network, the integration of social values into the institutions in which the leader works, as well as the demand and sustainability of the program.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
Pending funding, Acumen's first program will launch in Kenya in the spring of 2011, with the second launching in Pakistan in the fall of 2011. India and the two other sites, to be determined upon the success of the first two programs and the geographic expansion of Acumen Fund, will be launched in the two subsequent years.
As societies become more interconnected, sectors merge, and the gap between the rich and poor continues to grow, the world is calling out for a new type of leader. This leader must have the ability to learn from, engage with, and influence senior policy makers, captains of industry, and grassroots change makers. In addition, this leader must have the operational and financial skill sets of the private sector and the moral imagination to see the world through the eyes of the poor. Currently, very few national training grounds for these leaders exist, particularly in the developing world.
In our preliminary research, we have studied multiple programs focused on social change and have found the following trends: first, many of the programs, such as Ashoka, Echoing Green, Endeavor, and the African Leadership Initiative, focus solely on entrepreneurs. Second, many of the programs target either an older segment, 45 and up, such as Henry Crown Fellows, African Leadership Academy, and Fast Forward Fellowship or a very young segment, 20 and under, such as African Leadership Academy, Equity Group Foundation, Student for Free Enterprise (SIFE) Kenya, and Youth Venture. Third, there is no other program that offers a multifaceted training like Acumen focusing on business skills, innovation, collaboration, empathy, leadership training, storytelling, and philosophical reflection.
Given this research and their track record of success with the Acumen Fund Fellows Program, they believe that their new initiative offers a unique opportunity for emerging leaders in the developing world. Acumen's vision of investing in leaders within organizations will allow them to not only help those individuals gain stronger business and leadership skills but also support the development of new initiatives within their organizations and also drive innovative collaborations across organizations.
Through each of our Regional Fellows Programs, Acumen offers world-class training to diverse individuals from across cultural, sector, and socioeconomic backgrounds in a fully-funded year-long fellowship experience. We are not looking simply to find the small group of elites that already have access to the premiere leadership programs both locally and globally, but rather to build a cohort that cuts across geographic, socioeconomic, regional, cultural and tribal lines of difference, to enable Fellows to learn the skills of knowing themselves and knowing others. This will cultivate a safe space in which people who otherwise would not come together will build bonds of trust that will last a lifetime. In order to continue offering this program to new cohorts of leaders year after year, we seek the support of individuals or institutions that are passionate about leadership development and who are interested in partnering with Acumen to help build the next generation of social impact leaders for the world.
SEEKING: Financial Resources, Implementing Partners, Best Practice Information, Media/Marketing Opportunities
Acumen is seeking three types of partners: funders, recruiting partners, and training partners. As they build this program we aim to have local funders in each of the geographies. They are currently focusing on India, Pakistan, and Kenya, but will also be looking in West Africa and the Middle East. In addition, they are looking for business, government, and social sector partners who could help them identify top talent for the program. Finally, they are seeking top training partners to execute on components of the curriculum.
OFFERING: Best Practice Information
At this point, Acumen can offer best practices in leadership development and look forward to learning from others as well.