There are only two days left until we all take off to Colombia. The whole team is very excited by now and looking forward to this upcoming great experience. But who are these people going to Bogotá actually? Where are they from? What drives them forward? Why do they fly so many hours just for a Design Thinking Workshop?
Let me introduce you to the team! It’s an international group of 22 people, mostly from allover Germany but also from Switzerland, Colombia itself and the US. What unites us all is the passion to move things forward, to come up with innovative solutions that create an impact. And also, we share a great enthusiasm for working with people, getting to know different cultures and being creative as a team.
Michael Koegel and Camila Lombana had the idea to take ImpactWeek to Colombia.
Organizer and moderator Michael Koegel is working for SAP in Heidelberg. He took part in the ImpactWeek in Kenya last year, which had been such an impressive experience to him that this year he wanted to organize an impact week by himself. He wants to help students to see the challenges in their environment as business opportunities and entrepreneurship as a potential future. Thus he told his collegue Camila Lombana about the project, who loved the idea immediately. Since she is originally from Colombia, they developed the idea of taking ImpactWeek to Bogotá. “I consider it to be important to bring well known tools to countries in transformation instead of importing solutions that are not empathetic to local cultures”, she says.
Our team members at the first All-hands-meeting at SAP Apphaus in Heidelberg.
The rest of the team consists of a couple of people from SAP as well as a bunch of participants who work for Lufthansa, the main sponsor of the whole project. Even though the team is mixed, in regards to age as well as each individual background, and almost no one knew anyone beforehand – the aim is the same for everyone. Working towards the same goal and striving for the same ideas and values automatically fosters some kind of team spirit. During our frist All-hands-meeting Hartmut put it into words when he said: “It’s a great opportunity to make a contribution to something valuable, for a useful purpose while having the chance to learn and grow myself through the experience.”
But ImpactWeek would not be ImpactWeek without any participants from the destination country. And of course, they are just as much a part of the team as well. There will be around 120 students and teachers in Bogotá who want to learn Design Thinking methods to bring about change. What is their motivation to join ImpactWeek?
Manuela and Lolly are two of the 120 students in Bogotá looking forward to ImpactWeek.
Lolly Arévalo Ayala for example wants “to get to know different cultures and different people in a way that helps me to learn about internationalization and that adds to my personal knowledge.” And Manuela Ferroni Castro feels “passionate for learning new ways to create things that are sustainable and involve cultural aspects.”
Like Phil Jackson (a famous NBA Coach) once said: “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” With this in mind and also with the famous quote of Henry Ford, who said “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself” the ImpactWeek can actually become nothing else but a great success.
So let’s have a great time together and create some impact!
Before we start on our journey to Colombia and hold our first Impact Week outside of Africa we want to show you where we will be collaborating with teachers and working with students on exciting topics to generate innovative business idea.
The Impact Week will take place at La Universidad de Bogotá Jorge Tadeo Lozano in the heart of Colombia’s capital. Commonly called Tadeo the university has another two campuses besides the one in downtown Bogotá. Botha are located on the Caribbean Coast.
INNOVAMOS: ES NUESTRA ESENCIA
La Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano offers a wide number of undergraduate professional & technological programs as well as a variety of graduate programs including master’s and doctoral degrees. As it actively promotes research, innovation and creation in all academic areas it is the perfect palce to the Impact Week 2017. Our „Train the Trainer“-Session and the Ipact Week itself will be hosted by the Faculty of Art & Design as well as the Faculty of Social Science. It has conference auditoriums, classrooms, spaces for colaborative work and creative labs great for working the methodology of Design Thinking.
The university also aims to establish productive links with domestic and international companies as well international alliances. By bringing the Impact Week to Bogotá and to Universidad Tadeo we strive to foster intercultural exchange at the university and amongst our team. The organisation of the Impact Week in Bogotá at Tadeo enables us to facilitate such international network for teachers as well as students.
We are excited to be sharing our knowledge of Design Thinking with teachers at the university and to be working with over 100 students on topics such as education, public policy, regional development, fair trade and tourism. ¡Hasta pronto en Bogotá!
The last topic we want to look at during Impact Week 2017 in Bogotá is Public Policy. Perhaps one of the most urgent issues for Colombia due to the upcoming parliamentary election early next year our goal within the Public Policy is to find solutions to improve accountability and ensure transparent political activities.
Colombia has experiences several corruption scandals over the past few months and the country is passing through a dire corruption crisis on a scale the country has never faced before. This instability has direct impact on public policies and is affecting transparency as well as diminished accountability within politics. However it does not only affect the political system, but the abstract and complicated consequences have a wide-raging impact on other areas as well. With the public administration being responsible for education, healthcare, natural resources, housing and transport the crisis affects the entire population and a big part of their lives.
Bolivar Square in the old city near the government buildings. Source: http://elstonhill.com/Colombia1.html
In order to combat the crisis, that is affecting so many areas and halts the development of the entire country, the Colombian Government has presented the National Development Plan 2014-2018 called „Todos por un Nueva País“ (All for a New Country) in order to improve political circumstances. The plan is based on three pillars to sustainably improve the system: Peace, Fairness and Education. It provides strategies to mainstream political activities in order to move towards the nation’s long-term objectives and medium-term goals for economical, social and environmental development. With a additional Digital Government Strategy the Innovation Center of the Colombian government has established a public digital innovation ecosystem to bring together stakeholder communities as well as strengthen relations amongst the community.
For the Impact Week 2017 in Bogotá we want to draw on the countries innovative approach and are excited to see that Government’s Innovation Center has successfully organized a number of innovation projects using open innovation schemes already and has developed disruptive concepts in e-government. Collaborating with students at UTadeo we expect to work on the challenges of citizen’s participation and strive to find solutions to increase civic participation like voting and political engagement. Believing that public policy, affecting so many areas of peoples lives, plays a major role for change we want to use the opportunity for effective sustainable development. We are looking forward to finding a way to further strengthen the innovation culture and encourage entrepreneurship and small enterprises and support the government’s goal to generate opportunities for productive business activities at the base of the income pyramid.
In preparation of our Impact Week in Bogotá our team is researching issues that currently trouble Colombia in order to facilitate a successful workshops with students at Universidad Tadeo. One topic that is crucial to cast a glance at in the development of Colombia is Regional Development.
Colombias history has been scarred by years of poverty, violence and armed conflict that have lead to regional discrepancies. Not only have criminal and violent activities of different rebel groups left civilians terrorized and frightened, it has also lead to the displacement of masses of Colombians over the years. Almost 8 million people from rural regions of Colombia didn’t see any prospects for themselves in their hometown und have migrated to various slums across mayor cities.
Eva Hasenbalg, member of our Impact Week team and Junior Coach for Regional Development, believes that „now is the most interesting time – a once in a lifetime opportunity to kick in with the regions, explore their potential and help foster businesses“. The gap between urban und rural regions of Colombia have grown for years and lead to a variety of issues within society as well as the economy of the South American country. The lack of adequate education for example has lead to a lack of skills and thus a growing gap between rich and poor. This is one of the cause that has contributed to a deep split within the Colombian society. This in turn complicates matter to recognize subsequent issues. Needs of minority groups such as the inclusion of rural women needs thus are rarely regarded. Eva says: „The diversity of the regions is a huge challenge but I am convinced that with such great energy we will be able to develop an amazing idea / solution!“
Looking at Medellín, a city representing a great example for successful regional development through innovation in Colombia, we believe that an entrepreneurial and creative approach plays a vital role in sustainable development. The city has experienced a holistic response to prevailing issues and a rapid transformation towards a strong urban society. Similarly we aim to bridge social, economic and territorial gaps during our Impact Week in Bogotá that are results of Colombia’s history of violence and insecurity.
You want to find out more about our track topics? We have talked to our track team working on the Tourism Track.
Talking about Tourism in Columbia leads to questions like “How to shake off the ‘danger tag’ associated with this beautiful country”. But in fact, Colombia is a quickly developing country with a booming capital city and incredibly fast increasing numbers of visitors.
Tourism in Bogota has recovered a lot within the last 20 years. There have been several actions to re-establish control over all of the nation's territory, fighting illegal drugs and organized crime, and strengthening the justice system. The great variety in geography, flora and fauna across Colombia has also resulted in the development of an ecotourist industry, concentrated in the country's nationalparks.