Levers of Exchange
S03E08 What’s your superpower skill in making systems change?
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.
- 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)
Season 3 is funded by a generous grant from the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, at the Saïd Business School, Oxford University.