Markus helps his client disrupt the education system in India

Hi, I’m Markus from Germany, about to finish off my twen era. After my studies in Software Engineering and Design Thinking, I have been working in consulting for about 3 years.

Growing into the corporate world, I learned that “faster, harder, stronger” and that 60-80-hour work weeks get you to climb the career ladder rather quickly. During that time, I became more professional, more rational, more productive. I went through my Déformation professionnelle (meaning a tendency to look at things from the point of view of one’s own profession rather than from a broader perspective.)

In order to stay hungry (and foolish) I wanted to do something outside of the box again. I was researching sabbatical opportunities in the social field and came across _SocialStarters in India.

Getting involved in the greater good is truly rewarding. The client I have worked with in Hyderabad was Ignis, a social startup disrupting the education system in India. Since the ability of speaking English largely determines the chances of an Indian kid in later life, Ignis optimises how English is taught in schools, especially for the poorer parts of the population. Instead of making children memorise answers to a catalogue of questions for the exam, Ignis facilitates “learning experiences” in which children are individually activated to participate, speak up, draw, dance and reflect on their lives. Having gained extensive experiences as a workshop facilitator myself, I could immediately identify with this participatory approach.

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Working with Ignis turned out to be an invaluable exchange of perspectives. Ignis started as a small venture founded by Rennis Joseph and Imma Mary, a married couple, in 2009. By 2016, they have grown to over 50 employees in 5 different branches. Acting as their Interim COO, I supported Ignis in crossing the chasm between being an elementary startup and becoming a continuously improving work culture that scales. Therefore, I have moderated a series of Design Thinking workshops across all departments in which we discussed and framed the key activities and milestones throughout the academic year in Ignis.

In addition to relieving barriers and fostering transparency, we thereby collaboratively created the “Ignis calendar”, a large poster that is now hanging in every office of the company.

Having had the chance to work (and cook!) with Rennis and Imma, thought leaders in the field of education, this experience has definitely broadened my horizon.

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With the rest of the _SocialStarters Consultants during our training week…

There’s still time to join our next cohort in India in February 2017… reckon you could take 6 weeks out your life to disrupt the status quo, volunteer with a social entrepreneur whilst thinking about your own “what next”? If the answer is YES, then great! But Hurry – Get your application in now and tell us how you think you could help a social entrepreneur through your business skills and experience. APPLY HERE. Can’t take 6 weeks out your life? Don’t worry we have opportunities for you to do something completely different overseas from as little as 2 weeks. For more information visit our website www.socialstarters.org

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