Two years ago, I applied for the Impact Week in Kenya with the motivation to learn and apply Design Thinking in Africa. Ever since I have experienced much more than I ever thought would be possible. One Week of learning experience has expanded to more than two years in a row. A few weeks ago, I had the honore to join the second independently organized Impact Week in Kibera, Kenya – what a success!
The Impact Week in Kenya 2016 inspired me in multiple ways as it created a win-win-win situation: By being trained in Design Thinking and by guiding a group of students subsequently, the participants – Teachers, Professors, local NGO and company employees, as well as my Lufthansa colleagues – experienced both, a learning and practical experience. Through tackling a real-life problem of the local students, the groups finally came up with innovative, already prototyped ideas which were pitched at the last day of the Impact Week – at the final ceremony. Hereby, the newly-trained Lufthansa Junior Coaches and our colleagues were just as exited and motivated as their student-participants. For a good reason, since the winners were awarded with financial support and guidance. Within this program, the Kenyan students learned thinking customer-centric; Meanwhile, professors and NGO employees (among others) equally deepened their Design Thinking skills for further use after the departure of the German team. Indeed, they are essential to ensure a sustainable impact of the program. And more than that: I could take a lot of the untiring ingenuity of my African team, which knows no limits and no hurdles.
This experience has left a lasting mark on me. And so, I took part in an Impact Week one year later. However, this time in the leadership team of the Impact Week Rwanda: A challenging but exiting role in which I spoke in front of a group of over 100 participants for the first time. Thereby, I gained personally but moreover professionally – If one manages to attract the attention of 100 vivid participants bustling with creativity, one can more easily stay calm in other tricky situations later on.
A few weeks ago, I had the great honor to travel to the second independent Impact Week in Kenya, which took place independently from the core organization. Conducted and organized by Design Thinking trainers whom we trained in Kenya and Rwanda during the past Impact Weeks, this event proved the sustainable impact of the program. What was special about this Impact Week was not only the 100% Kenyan implementation, but also the fact that this Impact Week took place in Kibera – in one of the largest slums in Africa. There can hardly be a greater need for a simple methodology to create a good business model.
And so, for about one week I lived and worked in Kibera – and I am telling you, it was a great experience! It was great to see that the Kenyan professors continue the Impact Week 1: 1 without our support. Proving the efficiency of our train-the-trainer approach, creating a snowball effect that really gets going! A participants told me, that she left the program as a different person than the one she came! But most of all I was touched by the cohesion of the participants. In an environment where few can afford insurance, the only insurance is the community. Everyone is valued and accepted. This fact creates a speed and strength from which I could learn a lot for my work in Germany.