“silence is the mother of all creativity”
Mandar and I have a brilliant conversation where he shares his life philosophy, and his learnings from using breathwork and peace to approach violence differently. Almost a decade ago, Mandar was part of the Shell gamechanger innovation incubator programme and realized that many leaders did not understand that innovation is not just a technical process . Indeed you may need domain knowledge but in addition, innovators also need to develop their mental and social skills to successfully bring their idea to the marketplace. Mere structures, processes, scrum boards and budgets are all necessary but not sufficient to really change the way people think, act and interact.
People emotionally armour themselves and wear masks, but violence and trauma exist everywhere, and we can never know what people are going through; leaders must invest their time in this and in their people;
Mandar shares his vision, experience, stories and his insights from his programme ‘Be the change’ to highlight how simply some of these techniques can be adopted, yet how powerful they are also in changing conversations and actions across the globe.
The main insights you’ll get from this episode are :
– Innovation is not just about technology, it also has social, psychological and emotional elements – new ideas are often rejected because the person with influence doesn’t like the person suggesting it, rather than not liking the idea itself.
– Large companies see the impact of social and environmental degradation on their people and are spurred on to expand innovation/tech programmes to address the interface between society and business, encompassing social and philanthropic innovation.
– Innovation culture requires a huge ecosystem to bring an idea to the marketplace – everyone can innovate and should feel empowered to bring ideas to the company, regardless of their role (= breaking down silos).
– This requires personal empowerment and encouraging people in all aspects to create a social impact innovation incubator – if they bring their passions to work, these can be leveraged more broadly to create new value, thereby releasing untapped potential and power.
– A key moment of truth for large companies is to find a business case for CSR (e.g. what is the significance of sustainable development goals for the business model?) and a financial return to tally with metrics.
– Vision of Cities for Peace: when we are in the grip of negative emotion, the inability to cope with it gives rise to violence – towards ourselves and others – and leads to anxiety and depression; peace is our very nature, but we must manage things that take us away from it.
– Most violence is ‘curable’ if it is treated as a public health issue, and we should provide access to mental wellness solutions as early as possible in education systems, as having this knowledge is where peace begins.
– Ideas are imperfect but we need to allow space for imperfection – leaders must not wait for people to ask for time off but offer/anticipate a wellness ‘time out’ to give people a taste of inner wellbeing/peace.
– People emotionally armour themselves and wear masks, but violence and trauma exist everywhere, and we can never know what people are going through; leaders must invest their time in this and in their people.
– They must role model natural ways of wellbeing, show vulnerability and invite people to manage their own wellness, or integrate wellness as part of a learning programme on innovation and leadership training.
– Safety is huge in the corporate world – if physical aspects demand such attention, why not also mental aspects? The cost of mental illness is likewise huge and warrants investment; the loss of inner wellness manifests also in problems with relationships, yet we must thrive for people around us to thrive.
– Legacy is an important personal journey and has a social footprint, which may be small but is unique. To be effective, we must be grounded in our own culture and values and create memorable experiences for others – a personal touch distinguishes average leaders from great leaders.
– Being present is so important for observing change over time, and the part of us that is not changing is observing change – the unchanging aspect of our own existence is our inherent consciousness/presence/energy/witness, and we must nurture it, creating self-awareness.
– It is important for leaders to be present; to become compassionate; to take quiet time for recalibration; to take an intentional approach; and to be open and intuitive – meditation and consciousness allow more effective healing and create more prosperity, as peace and prosperity go hand in hand.