“Pride yourself in the little or big improvements you can generate to your client’s lives.”
By Maryem Sáder – Emzingo.
Concepción –Conchita– Galdón, is the new Director & Academic Lead for Social Innovation at IE University division, a member of Ashoka Spain’s Venture Board and Co-Founder of the Social Venture Puentes Global.
As an IE professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation herself, she is convinced of the importance of introducing a Social Innovation component to IE’s curriculum as a way to enhance the learning experience of their students: “According to neuroscience research, our brain learns best in the presence of an emotion. Social Innovation generates intense emotions and content related to social innovation not only helps our students become more conscious leaders but actually helps them learn more.”
What was the motivation behind the recent creation of the Social Innovation Department at IE?
Two elements that make IE stand out from other schools globally are it’s innovative approach to the learning experience and it’s deeply ingrained values (entrepreneurship, humanities, diversity, academic excellence and technology). According to neuroscience research, our brain learns best in the presence of an emotion. Social Innovation generates intense emotions and content related to social innovation not only helps our students become more conscious leaders but actually helps them learn more. Thus, it’s just natural that IE will continue to grow the social innovation content in our programs as well as social innovation initiatives we’re involved in. Aware of the challenges that the fast expansion of our undergraduate and graduate programs pose, IE’s board decided to complement the bottom-up networked approach to Social Innovation that has characterized IE for years with a dedicated team. Our mission is to implement a coherent strategy to make sure that, in the next phase of the story of IE, we keep up with the great work done to date.
Can you tell us about the main difficulties you’ve had to face as an entrepreneur and intrapreneur, and how you’ve successfully overcome them?
Some of the main challenges I’ve confronted and overcame I probably haven’t even been aware of, which might be the main reason why I overcame them. Those that I’ve been aware of have to do mostly with cultural resistance to change (on other people’s side and, too often, on my side) and with managing people in frustrating and uncertain contexts. I’ve found active listening and empathy to be incredibly powerful tools to navigate both situations. It’s all too simple to think you’re right and everyone else is dumb for not realizing how bright your ideas are. But it’s you who bears the responsibility to portray and implement your ideas in a way in which other people want to be part of them, not theirs to fall in love with whatever you imagine. The moment you embrace that responsibility, clients and team member’s needs become centric to any new idea you have and in turn they become critical supporters and ambassadors of your projects, that now belong to them.
Where do you find inspiration?
When you work in an academic institution, it is a lot easier to be inspired. Important conversations with diverse people happen casually everywhere. But inspiration is in every person, in every book, in the world around you. How not be inspired by all of it? If you just stop for a second and let it all take root in you…
To you, what makes a responsible leader?
Self-awareness and awareness about the true reality around you. All it takes to be a responsible leader is not to lie to yourself.
Any good advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Pride yourself in the little or big improvements you can generate to your client’s lives.
About IE’s Social Innovation initiative
IE’s commitment to Social Innovation has been at it’s core since its inception and it continues to instill our students, alumni, faculty and partners with purposeful search for positive impact. IE’s focus on social innovation has been on both breath, trying to reach the most students, as well as on depth, enabling those students with a clear purpose driven career to accomplish their goals:
+5,000 IE students have participated in social innovation specialized training experiences
+100 Core courses & electives on the field of Social Innovation
+200 Events worldwide related to Social Innovation
About the Emzingo Leadershift Awards
The Emzingo LeaderSHIFT Award recognizes the efforts and achievements of purpose-driven responsible leaders, who are aligned to the Emzingo values and committed to responsible business practices that create positive impact and are sustainable in social, environmental and financial terms. Learn more.