Standing at the threshold: Discussing ‘Scale’ at the ILSS Flagship Leadership Program

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(Image courtesy: ILSS)

The sun was about to set. The Energy and Resources Institute campus  in New Delhi was calm and serene. I was facing the 15th Cohort of  ILSS Flagship Leadership Program. Every time I face accomplished  leaders, I tend to get anxious. The Imposter Syndrome sets in. The  topic of our discussion was how to catalyse societal impact at scale. 

We got the ball rolling with my personal journey, sweeping across  childhood, graduation, corporate career and the transition to societal  development. Each stage, the crossing of a threshold. Each crossing, an opportunity to learn and grow. We settled in and I could feel that I  was in the presence of souls that had journeys similar to mine. 

We opened the discussion on how to catalyse societal impact at scale.  A steep hike started with talking about scale. What is scale? What are the paradigm shifts essential to address our challenges at scale? Why do we need to graduate from making linear changes to enabling  exponential change? Why think about what works at scale rather than  scaling what works? The courage to embrace diversity as a solution  rather than try to contain it like a problem. The empathy to restore  the agency of people so that they can solve problems in their context. 

Time flew by. We were reminded that it was time to wind up. But we  had only just begun. We borrowed time, sustained the discussion  over dinner and then continued to exchange notes till midnight. As  we split to conclude the day, we realised how aligned we were in our  aspirations, how excited about making a difference at scale. 

We are all wanderers from various walks of life, standing at the  threshold, preparing to push forward into uncharted territories,  anxious. All we seek are co-travellers to jumpstart the journey and  hope that they show up for coffee when we need company.

Learn more about designing for scale with Societal Thinking here.

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