We believe it is high time to mainstream new ways of learning, working and innovating that are adapted to the challenges our economy, society and environment face in the 21st century. Our current education system is outdated and does not provide us with the kind of skills and attitude required to assume leadership in an increasingly complex and rapidly changing world. As a consequence:
Over the past 7 years, with the help of renowned experts in the fields of experience-driven learning, based on the work of C. G. Jung, S. Covey and Silicon Valley innovators, in collaboration with Swisscom, UNITAR and the ETH, and with plenty of testing and failing, we have developed an award-winning approach to empower changemakers. Together with visionary businesses, institutions and NGOs in Switzerland we co-create the world's first The Unleash Project and make our 2030 vision happen of a society where changemaking becomes the desired lifestyle of our times.
The Unleash Project tackles a key challenge in the development of youth leadership: The integration of values, vocation and wellbeing into a career. As recent studies show, 90% of youth seek jobs with meaning and 85% would like to do something useful for society in their profession (Shell Jugendstudie 2015). However, when facing the choice of entering the professional workforce, youth are often left alone and get quickly disillusioned, eventually giving up on their ideals and dreams. This leads to a severe leadership crisis with known consequences (e.g. scandals at Volkswagen, UBS or FIFA).
Therefore, the Impact Career Academy provides future and present decision-makers with the experience, tools and mindset it takes to co-create trustful, open and empowering work environments in which authenticity, teampreneurship and self-organization thrive. The participants –selected after an interview to see if they match our values– first learn how to "do it" (for example by initiating a new volunteer project at WWF, by setting up an innovative incentive system at Swisscom or by organising one of euforia's event-trainings imp!act or STEP into action). Second, they learn how to "train the doers" (training, coaching and empowering youth and executives in the first module). Third, they learn how to "train the trainers". Fourth, they choose one of three coaching tracks in order to turn their commitments into an impact career beyond this program.
Over the course of this service learning program, which will be co-created with and led by young volunteers, the young participants will explore their CHANGEmaker sweet-spot for an impact career: where they live their values, do what they are passionate about and use their key strengths to address a need they care about in the world. In doing so, they will benefit from the support, expertise and experience of leading institutions in the area of value-based leadership and changemaking, such as for example Ashoka, the Impact HUB, WWF, the United Nations and B Corporation. These organizations are active co-creators of this initiative and the smart movement of partners that is being convened around it. Together we show the young participants and the greater public that a career is not just a means to make a living, but rather a vocation to have a positive and sustainable impact on our society, environment and economy for present and future generations.
Young participants can follow the modules of The Unleash Project next to their studies or their job in 18 to 24 months. Throughout and beyond the program they will benefit from mentoring, professional networks and career planning that will allow them to create or find their impact career job. As for the kind and duration of implication of employers, we will co-create the program with them directly in order to maximize the impact of our collaborations. We have identified the following areas in which this project can create great value to them:
euforia has a hybrid business model: Our standard trainings are priced symbolically for youth (CHF 50-200) and sold to companies (CHF 7’000-10’000/executive for a 8-month high impact leadership program). In parallel, we are developing custom-made corporate culture transformation programs (CHF 200-400’000). We thereby raised our self-financing ratio from 5% in 2013 to 50% in 2015 and are expecting to become fully self-funded for existing operations in Switzerland by 2016.
During our past collaborations, employers have shown a great interest in getting their own young staff trained by us, in recruiting the exceptional young talent present at our programs and in further developing their corporate culture in order to properly integrate this new generation of employees. This comes at no surprise, as by 2020, millennials will form 50% of the global workforce (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2011). Building on these experiences, the business model of The Unleash Project will focus on developing three revenue-generating services that will allow the project to break even by 2019:
Tailor-made trainings provide employers with effective tools to prepare high potentials and executives for impact careers and for fostering work environments characterized by inter-generational collaboration, open innovation and sustainability.
Different membership levels offer employers more or less exclusive opportunities for recruiting, brand marketing, future market trend research and eco-system building within The Unleash Project.
Customized consulting services empower employers to imagine and implement the work cultures of the future together with their young employees in order to go beyond the outdated career models where staff stay at the same employer in the same line of business for 30 years.
For the pilot phase of The Unleash Project from 2016 to 2018, the objective is to train close to 30'000 youth and 3'000 executives of 600 employers in Europe, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. Overall, 10-20% of the young participants will be youth with special needs that we will include thanks to specific collaborations with public agencies and expert organizations in the field of economic inclusion, integration of migrants and youth with disabilities. In total, over 2'500 young volunteers will work on the project and through the service learning aspect of the program, an additional 100'000 youth will be empowered to take their civic engagement to the next level thanks to trainings, events and activities led by the young participants.
In the first phase of the project (2016), most importance will be paid to the development of the community of like-minded partners that will co-create the strategy and content of the project in order to give it a solid basis for scaling. In the second phase (2017), the focus will shift to the development of a sustainable business model on the basis of the value propositions identified with our business partners. Companies from the B Corporation network, Allianz and Swisscom have all already shown their interest. In the third phase (2018), the project will popularize the concept of impact careers with the broad public and promote replication of its approach.
We believe there are no limits to what we can achieve, if we are willing to give credit to others. This is why, In scaling our approach to new regions, we follow an empowerment-approach too. We are reaching out to like-minded partners with a proven track record, extensive networks and the skills it takes to replicate and scale The Unleash Project. We offer these partner organizations trainings in our methodology, advice them in how to adapt the program to their local context, support them in building a viable business model and provide them with starting funds. In return, we expect them to live up to our values, do rigorous impact evaluation and bring in matching funds.
This will allow us to move much faster than building up our own brand, contacts and programs without knowing the local context. Our first confirmed regional partners are B Corporation for Europe, UNITAR for Africa and the changemakerxchange network in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA). In order to make sure this initiative provokes a tipping point phenomena in how we think of our careers, a large coalition of 100 organizations from the private, public and civil society sector will be mobilized to co-create the project. All insights and methodology of this project will be shared open source with like-minded initiatives in form of a step-by-step guide, a tool box and a Train-the-Trainers offer. Last but not least, a multi-channel PR campaign will popularize the concept of impact careers with over 10 million people through traditional (TV, newspapers, radio) and non-traditional media channels (social media, viral marketing).
The outline of this project is based on successful co-creation and prototyping in 2014 and 2015 with over 200 youth and executives in Switzerland, France, Colombia and Rwanda. As a result of the test phase, young volunteers are now replicating euforia's approach in 10 countries on 3 continents. Many more are just waiting to be found by us or to find us in order to join the movement. Youth all over the world are eager to take our future into their own hands and make sure our legacy to future generations is one we will be proud of. Here are some examples of the kind of impact this program has on youth and here on how it looks like for executives and companies.
We are now looking for visionary venture philanthropists who want to partner with us in order to provide us with the means, expertise and skills it takes to build a sustainable and scalable project over the next three years that will allow us to unleash an unprecedented movement of (young) changemakers, gamechangers and leaders!