Program Details

Building a pipeline of leaders who understand what it takes to create lasting change

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Program Overview

The Acumen Fellows 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 in-person, multi-day immersive seminars and engaging in online content between seminars. Currently operating in East Africa, India and Pakistan, 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.

Where We Are

Our Program In A Nutshell

In-person Seminars

Our Fellows Program centers around five in-person seminars design to improve individuals’ capacity to innovate and drive change while remaining in their full-time jobs.

Virtual Content

Our unique virtual content enables Fellows to connect with peers and continue developing the skills to make lasting social impact between seminars.

Self-Reflection

We provide the space and security for Fellows to practice self-reflection, broaden their perspectives and identify areas for personal development.

Focus on Real-World Applicability

We design content that is focused on being relevant and applicable to Fellows’ everyday lives and social impact work.

Our Core Curriculum

  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

     

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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.

Take a Course

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.

Take a Course

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.

Take a Course

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.

Take a Course

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.

 

Take a Course

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Frequently Asked Questions

Our Fellows are all ages, come from diverse cultural, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds and work across multiple sectors. The Fellows Program is designed for individuals who are currently leading, or are an integral part of building, an initiative that exists to eradicate poverty and/or injustice. Fellows are often on one of the following trajectories:

+ Community Organizer/Activist: mobilizing communities and calling attention to unseen, unheard and/or marginalized communities or causes

+ Intrapreneur: creating innovative solutions to tackle poverty from within existing institutions by shifting institutional culture and building new collaborations

+ Organizational Builder: supporting the growth of poverty-focused institutions from within, but not as the Founder/CEO

+ Public Sector Leader: leveraging the government to create policy changes, partnerships or adoption of new models to tackle poverty

+ Social Entrepreneur: founded a for-profit or non-profit organization that provides critical goods/services to the underserved

The purpose of the Acumen Fellows Programs is to develop a community of leaders who challenge the status quo, work across lines of difference, and inspire their communities to believe in a brighter future

No. While all costs associated with participating in the program are covered (such as travel and accommodations), we do not provide scholarships, stipends or funding. If you are interested in learning more about Acumen’s investment criteria and how to apply for investment, click here.

No. Acumen’s leadership development programs are run separately from our investment activities.

No. Although many of our Fellows work in social enterprise, Fellows can be working in any sector (for-profit, nonprofit, social enterprise, government).

No. Fellows can be entrepreneurs who started their own organizations or intrapreneurs influencing change within existing organizations. They can be public sector leaders leveraging the government machinery to tackle poverty, or community leaders mobilizing change in their communities. We are looking for an entrepreneurial attitude, mind-set and approach – people who don’t accept the status quo.

There are no specific academic prerequisites. However, Fellows must be able to fully participate in a program that is conducted in English.

Yes. All seminars and trainings are conducted in English. Proficiency in English is a requirement to ensure Fellows are able to give and get the most from this experience.

Yes. We consider applications from citizens of the country/region. We will also, on an exceptional basis, consider applicants who demonstrate a concrete connection to the region (i.e. long-term employment, residency, focus of social change project).

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