SOIL is an experiment in “Higher Education”. It aims to build leaders with “Character, Competence and enthusiasm”.
Most of the problems that the world faces require “Inspired Leadership” rather than “good old management”. We cannot “manage” terrorism, climate change, corruption, loss of community and other such global challenges. Instead we need to create leaders who are truly “aware”, deeply “care” and “dare” to make a difference.
In SOIL, we have started a new conversation on “Inspired Leadership”. We believe that “Character” can be built at any age. We refuse to take the defeatist view that all values are shaped in our early childhood and cannot be changed once our minds our “set”.
The five values that define character in our eyes are; Mindfulness, Ethics, Compassion, Sustainability and Diversity.
Mindfulness is about living in the moment and not having regrets about the past or the anxiety of the future.
Mindfulness is developed at SOIL through education in “Wellness” that covers Yoga and meditation. It is practiced every morning through the ritual of the “morning circle” in which all of us hold hands and then recite a prayer from any denomination and observe silence for a short while.
Ethics is the difference between our right to do things and the right things to do. It is explored through week long intense simulations of live cases from our everyday lives by deploying theatre to appreciate “dilemmas” while acting in the roles of the concerned stakeholders.
Compassion is about the capacity to feel for others and take action. Compassion is developed in SOIL through our “Social Innovation Program” which entails every student working with a NGO, one day a week to focus on a social cause.
It is also reinforced through a week long learning journey to Chinmaya Mission’s Tapovan Ashram at Sidhbari in the Himalayas.
Sustainability is about balancing the needs of today with tomorrow and is taught through courses in sustainable business and by observing daily practices to conserve our resources like energy and water.
Diversity is about valuing and leveraging the uniqueness o each person. It is practiced by profiling of each student in terms of multiple intelligences like IQ, EQ, creativity etc and encouraging students to work in teams by leveraging each others’ uniqueness.
Competence is about the capacity to think holistically and innovatively. It is taught in Soil through courses in whole systems, critical thinking, decision making etc. It is reinforced through “Action Learning Projects” in which teams of students work in organizations on real life problems.
Enthusiasm is developed through courses on “Self Leadership” which enable students to define their purpose/vision and values and identify their gifts and learn to leverage their gifts towards their “calling”.
This comprehensive approach to development helps students not just to learn the basics of management subjects like Finance, Marketing, operations, Strategy, HR and IT but use this conceptual knowledge in ways that creates the highest impact and positive energy.