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S03E03 Shruthi Vijayakumar, Global Shaper, World Economic Forum

Season 3, Ep. 3

What we discussed: The fabric of society is a fine mesh of cultures. When we change world views – from western to Indian to Maori – we find different interpretations of how each culture considers their environment.

Why it matters: A sustainable future requires us to make new connections and partnerships with unlikely stakeholders. Yet each of these stakeholder groups are going to have their own expectations, assumptions and modus operandi. Shruthi is really teaching us how to be aware of the different groups we identify with, and how we can translate across those groups to achieve a sustainable future.  

What it means for you: This episode highlights the importance of understanding a person’s cultural roots and heritage as a lens of how they view sustainability. We can apply the same principles of listening, curiosity, and inviting others to join our journey, to our professional lives and our personal lives.

Interviewee’s Bio:

Shruthi Vijayakumar, Global Shaper, World Economic Forum, Auckland, New Zealand

MBA, Saïd Business School and Skoll World Forum Fellow

Shruthi is an educator, coach, facilitator and strategist in the field of systems leadership, sustainability and innovation. She has been recognized as a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum and a Global Changemaker by the British Council. She has spoken at WEF’s Annual Meeting in Davos and TEDx. https://www.linkedin.com/in/shruthivijayakumar/

 

In this interview, we discussed the following questions:

  • What is your favorite Haka moment?
  • What is the relationship between the Maori people and the New Zealand Government?
  • How does your multi-ethnic background frame your work in equity, justice and inclusion?
  • How would you frame environmental world view from these different frames?
  • How would you say that influences the work that you do? 
  • What would you consider your most important skill?
  • When you're facilitating these conversations, how do you impart that fabric of society onto the people you're facilitating?
  • When did you first noticed the interconnected web of moving parts?
  • About what age were you?
  • What were some of the grassroots projects you participated in?
  • When did you realize you could leverage change within this tangled web?
  • What was it like being inside the Boston Consulting Group?
  • How did you see innovation work within consulting vs. the work you do today? 
  • What's the difference between inclusion and building the table together?
  • What does Emerge Institute do?
  • Can you please speak to some of your work at ocean lab?
  • When you have big systemic change goals, how do you bring people along?
  • If you were to re-imagine the education system, what would you do?
  • What skill or expertise would you encourage students to learn?

 

About the Levers of Exchange

Interview by Jimmy Jia (www.jimmyjia.com)

Music by Sean Hart (www.seanhart.com)

Website: https://www.leversofexchange.com/

 

Season 3 is funded by a generous grant from the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, at the Saïd Business School, Oxford University.

 

More Episodes

8/3/2021

S03E09 Skills that students should learn

Season 3, Ep. 9
Personal Resilience. Vision. Listening, and a sense of curiosity. These were the skills that our Season 3 guests recommended students and early career professionals learn today if they want to enter the sustainability sector. Our guests spanned across telecom, water, finance, maritime, electric utilities and cultural systems. I was curious, are the skills to succeed the same or different? I asked every guest, what skill they would advise a student or early professional to learn. The answers were very revealing.Natalia Pshenichnaya, the former Head of Programmes at the GSMA Foundation tied personal resilience to how this deeper inner awareness keeps the person grounded in what's important to them. Joaquin Viquez, a water consultant for the German Development Agency G-I-Zed, also pointed out the importance of a vision and personal passion.James Mitchell trained as a cellist before creating a career in Sustainable Finance. Now at the Rocky Mountain Institute, he pointed out that just like in a chamber music group, listening to each other, hearing each other, responding and reacting in kind with each other, is a critical skill to learn.Three of our guests, however, pointed out the power of curiosity and asking the right question, including Jeremy McDaniels, now the Senior Advisor for Sustainable Finance at the Institute of International Finance.Stuart Hilen, a Portfolio Developer at EnergyAustralia, put it differently. He considered the skills he looks for when hiring team members.Finally, Shruthi Vijayakumar summed it up beautifully. Questions invite others into our own space, to question with us.So, there you have it. Those are the skills that students and early career professionals should learn. It's not the textbook lessons that will create systems change. It's the interpersonal skills of inviting others in, of making chamber music together, that will create the new systems for everlasting change.Guests:·Stuart Hillen, EnergyAustralia, Melbourne, Australia https://www.linkedin.com/in/stuart-hillen/·Jeremy McDaniels, Institute of International Finance, Washington DC USA https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeremy-mcdaniels/·James Mitchell, Rocky Mountain Institute, London, UK https://www.linkedin.com/in/james20/·Natalia Pshenichnaya, formerly GSM Association, Berlin, Germany https://www.linkedin.com/in/natalia-pshenichnaya-7107781a/·Shruthi Vijayakumar, Education New Zealand, Auckland, New Zealand https://www.linkedin.com/in/shruthivijayakumar/·Joaquin Viquez, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, San Jose, Costa Rica https://www.linkedin.com/in/joaquinviquez/About Levers of Exchange:Interview by Jimmy Jia (www.jimmyjia.com)Music by Sean Hart (www.seanhart.com)Website: https://www.leversofexchange.com/Image by Juraj Varga from PixabaySeason 3 is funded by a generous grant from the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, at the Saïd Business School, Oxford University.
7/27/2021

S03E08 What’s your superpower skill in making systems change?

Season 3, Ep. 8
Have you ever wondered if skills that got us to where we are today, may not be the same skills needed to solve the world's most pressing problems? For those who have been listening to Season Three, you know that we interviewed six practitioners who work deeply at the intersection of large systems. What are the skills necessary to thrive at those intersections?Shruthi Vijayakumar, a Global Shaper at the World Economic Forum and co-founder of the Emerge Institute, points out that making sense of cultural systems means understanding the historical context and how one fits into the social fabric. For Stuart Hillen, a Portfolio Developer at EnergyAustralia, as an engineer, he found his calling using his problem-solving skills to understand how things work and how things are made.Another trained engineer, Joaquin Viquez who works for the German Development Agency GIZ. He attributed a sense of knowing what's missing rather than noticing what was there.For all of us who work at the intersection of systems, it's communication that is the ultimate skill. Communication comes in many forms. For James Mitchell, Principle at the Rocky Mountain Institute, the stakeholder engagement he had to do in the maritime sector required a lot of listening in order to get the Poseidon Principles launched.Natalia Pshenichnaya, who spent many years at the GSMA Foundation, found new products and applications of how the Telecomm sector could alleviate poverty and improve agriculture businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa. She pointed out the importance to articulate messages in the language and jargon of whomever she was talking to.Finally, Jeremy McDaniels credited facilitation skills at bringing people together across many sectors. As the Senior Advisor for Sustainable Finance at the Institute of International Finance, he interacts with global actors, across 400 institutions and tries to strive for consensus.So there you have it - it's the art of figuring out what's possible. Some of it is curiosity driven, some of it is breaking down big problems into its constituent parts. But time and again, we heard just how important it is to translate between stakeholders - the jargon, the expectations and the underlying mentalities. Hopefully this episode gives you an idea of what skills you have, and what you can develop for a successful future.Guests:Stuart Hillen, EnergyAustralia, Melbourne, Australia https://www.linkedin.com/in/stuart-hillen/Jeremy McDaniels, Institute of International Finance, Washington DC USA https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeremy-mcdaniels/James Mitchell, Rocky Mountain Institute, London, UK https://www.linkedin.com/in/james20/Natalia Pshenichnaya, formerly GSM Association, Berlin, Germany https://www.linkedin.com/in/natalia-pshenichnaya-7107781a/Shruthi Vijayakumar, Education New Zealand, Auckland, New Zealand https://www.linkedin.com/in/shruthivijayakumar/Joaquin Viquez, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, San Jose, Costa Rica https://www.linkedin.com/in/joaquinviquez/About Levers of Exchange:Interview by Jimmy Jia (www.jimmyjia.com)Music by Sean Hart (www.seanhart.com)Website: https://www.leversofexchange.com/Image by ErikaWittlieb from PixabaySeason 3 is funded by a generous grant from the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, at the Saïd Business School, Oxford University.