Changemaker Journey: an online personal & leadership development program

Building the inner clarity and capacities to navigate uncertainty & proactively shape the future.

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  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Emily Johnston

Initiative's representative date of birth


Initiative’s representative gender

  • Woman

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • Germany

Where are you making a difference?

Mainly Germany, with participants from Nigeria, Georgia, Indonesia, Uganda, Belgium, Greece & more.

Website or social media url(s) Twitter: @unity_effect

When was your organisation founded?


Focus areas

  • Reskilling and upskilling the workforce

Project Stage

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $10k - $50k

Organisation Type

  • For-profit

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

Back then my co-founders & I were looking for more meaning in our work. We had studied in the social/environmental field & found it was surprisingly hard to find work in this area, so we decided to start our own project instead. We realised that a lot of people were in a similar position: they had great ideas, whether for a new business or within their job, yet were afraid to begin. And most of the time it was not due to lack of time or money, but lack of support & courage to put themselves out there, especially if it meant learning new skills. So we created our first program to support people to build the inner capacities needed to navigate & take their first steps towards changemaking, work with meaning & creating their own opportunities.

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

As the world becomes faster paced and more complex, there is a greater need to have the personal clarity and capacities to navigate it. And as the job market shifts due to digitalisation, we need to develop our human superpowers: our soft skills. Learning to learn, to be adaptable, resilient, empathetic & having agency to create our own opportunities are becoming much more important capacities than having specific knowledge & skills.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

The Changemaker Journey is a 10 week online personal and leadership development program. Over 10 weeks, we work with small groups (up to 12 participants) to develop the inner capacities and skills needed to navigate uncertainty and proactively shape change. The group meets once a week for a 2 hour online workshop. We have designed the workshops to be highly interactive and create a safe space for real connection, even while online. Each workshop balances between introducing tools, methods and content, experiential exercises and reflection. Participants also have weekly peer-coaching sessions to dive deeper into the weekly topics. The Journey brings together cutting edge frameworks & practice from systems thinking, Theory U, complexity science, design thinking, collective leadership & more. The first half of the program focuses on developing inner clarity around values, purpose & decision-making. The second half focuses on systems thinking, ideation & taking action towards an idea or project. The Journey empowers participants to develop self & systems awareness, resilience, a growth mindset & courage to create their own opportunities & take action in uncertainty.

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

Sophia is unsatisfied in her job. She is passionate about coding which she taught herself & dreams of teaching girls to code. Yet she is afraid of leaving her secure job & doubts herself as she has no business knowledge or degree in coding. She joins the Changemaker Journey. Through the weekly workshops, exercises & peer coaching, she gets clearer about her values, purpose & makes the decision to leave her job. Each week she takes an action step towards her idea, reflects on it & iterates for the next week. In this way she builds up her courage & resilience, starts learning by doing & overcomes the biggest obstacle: getting started. The Journey becomes a regular part of her routine & she feels supported by the group.

5. Employability: how is your organization or project teaching people to develop the skills that they need to survive in the future job market?

We upskill & build capacities in our participants through action learning & reflection. We use the flipped classroom methodology, where a large part of the learning happens between the workshops, through implementation & individual exercises. In the first half of the program, participants develop inner clarity through self-reflection. In the second half, they take concrete action steps towards an idea or project, in a weekly cycle of ‘Act - Reflect - Learn - Iterate’. The focus is on learning through action & building capacities (courage, resilience, navigating challenges, growth mindset) through reflection. Through the workshop exercises & peer-coaching sessions they learn core interpersonal skills including communication, active listening & empathy. A central aspect is that the participants develop ownership over their own Journey & project, with support from the group & facilitators.

5a. Please describe which future-oriented skills your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress

According to Wege zur Selbst-GmbH’s 2019 study, 3 of the top 5 future work competencies are: self-reflection, resilience & communication. These skills are central in our programs, along with other future-oriented capacities including: continuous learning & growth mindset, systems thinking, collaboration & leadership. We currently measure participant’s progress using surveys. We are in the process of implementing a systemic framework based on principle-based evaluation to measure the development of inner capacities & how this led to outer change in the short, medium & long term.

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are plenty of other programs out there working in the same space, whether it’s capacity building for changemakers (e.g. Ashoka), business development for social entrepreneurs (e.g. Social Impact Labs), leadership development programs, or online courses on personal growth. There are two things that make our program different. Firstly, it combines the inner journey (personal & leadership development) & outer journey (systems thinking & project development). Secondly, it is online which makes it scalable & accessible, yet it’s in small groups, making it highly personal.

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

So far we have empowered 70 participants across our four programs (Purpose, Changemaker, Leadership & Team Journeys). As well as this we have run over 50 in person and online workshops, reaching more than a 1000 people. To capture the impact of the Journey, here are some words from our participants: Priska: ‘It was 10 weeks of inspiring input and profound reflection which are a time for intensive personal development and redirection. For me it was a support in my current life and in challenges of my project.’ Ivo: ‘I took the first steps and concrete decisions. I’m on the way to my dream and my vision.’

9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Our current revenue generation model is through payment for participation (B2C). We cross-finance the Journeys through selling customised programs & workshops to companies, as well as through our other services. In the medium term we plan to expand this B2B model to be able fully finance the Journeys & lower participation costs so that it is accessible to a wider audience. As we run our programs online, we have already been able to reach an international audience. We are also currently developing a train the trainer program & building the foundations for a franchise model so that we can scale the model, as well as create further employment opportunities for our alumni.

10. Team

We currently have 8 team members, 3 full time and 5 part-time, across the areas of business development, marketing & sales, program design and operations. We come from diverse backgrounds including sociology, marketing, family business, impact monitoring, sustainable development, HR & more. As the project grows we plan to grow the areas of business development, marketing, partnerships & sales internally, while expanding our pool of facilitators through our train-the-trainer franchise model.

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