A New Methodology

Our approach to learning prioritizes experiential, practical, reflective, group work over academic approaches. We believe that making an impact is hard, and you need to train accordingly for it – like a doctor or Olympic athlete would train.

We’re building the equivalent of medical school or Olympic training for the social sector.

What does this job market want?

What are the skills and experiences students should acquire to make an employer feel they could be a successful change maker? And what type of training would get us there?

Our research study – in which we interviewed both CEOs and HR managers as well as entry-level staff in 50 organizations in the social sector – showed that the attributes employers most value in prospective employees are largely not acquired from a typical university degree. Employers consistently ranked leadership and problem solving initiative as more important than academic and analytical skills.

In addition, the Amani methodology is also built from our team’s combined experience of several decades in social impact work globally, in which we worked with some of the most impactful changemakers in history, from Nobel Prize winners to former heads of UN agencies to local community leaders. We observed, over many years, the skills, mindsets and behaviors that made them successful. Finally, we drew from the curricula and methods of leading training organizations that we respect for the quality and proven results of their work.

Much of the learning at Amani Institute is outside the classroom, as it should be. All Fellows in our Social Innovation Management program either complete an apprenticeship in an organization of their professional interest or work actively on building their own social venture. Other programs draw on site visits to leading organizations, real-life consulting projects, and other hands-on group work experiences.

In one program, our students helped a new socially-oriented TV station build their start-up business plan – the experience was so successful that one of our students was later hired as Chief Operating Officer of the new business!

We bring in professors from all over the world to teach important professional skills , but we don’t do it in the academic way, with a lot of lecturing and writing papers and sitting for exams. Our approach is project-based, working in teams – like how work actually happens in the real world. The content is always built on real world case studies, both local and global examples. We also often have leading professionals from successful organizations visit us – either in person or via video conference – and share their work and life stories with us.

The Economist
Globalization and technological innovation are bringing about long-term changes in the world economy that are altering the structure of the labor market (…) Lowering this natural rate of unemployment will require structural reforms, such as changing education to ensure that people enter work equipped with the sort of skills firms are willing to fight over. The Economist The Great Mismatch, Special Report , September 2011