Course Partner: Acumen


APRIL 22, 2015


June 9, 2015

# of Modules:



3 to 4

Registration Closes:

May 13, 2015

Acumen Essentials I: Intro to moral imagination and challenges in poverty alleviation

This is a 6-week introductory course that will take you through a variety of materials Acumen has designed to train leaders who wish to change the way the world tackles poverty, and build a world based on dignity. Acumen’s definition of leadership starts with moral imagination: the humility to see the world as it is, and the audacity to imagine the world as it could be.

Course participants will begin by further developing their personal leadership skills, cultivate more self-awareness, and discover their own style to leadership, through the lens of moral imagination. This includes exercises that ask you to dig deep and share personal stories, experiences and opinions. While we’ll touch on the Acumen investment model, this isn’t an in-depth course on Acumen’s investment work. We’ll be providing a variety of material intended to make you think, question, discuss, and debate what it means to lead positive change. This is a course based on discovery, so we’ll be scratching the surface on new concepts, with the opportunity to go more in-depth in some of our other courses. And while there are no ‘right answers’, prepare to be challenged!

The course is free and you are encouraged to work through it with a group (min: 2 people; max: 6). Form groups on your own by recruiting friends/colleagues, or once the course begins you can follow the instructions to find a group virtually.

You'll Love This Course If

  • you are curious about Acumen’s leadership training programs (ex. The Global Fellows Program) and want to get a taste
  • you are on a path of self-discovery and want a platform to learn and explore your own values, motivations and goals for how you want to impact the world
  • you are just curious, open-minded, and thirsty for a new personal challenge
  • you enjoy pushing yourself to think in new ways around the work of poverty alleviation
  • you want to connect with like-minded individuals on a similar journey
  • you wish to gain exposure to new things and perhaps try out new skills

Course Outline

The course is designed to run for 6-weeks with 5 modules; each module covers a different Acumen leadership module, the 4th module is expected to take 2 weeks.

Module 1: Foundations of Leadership 

Objectives: Become familiar with the structure of this course, get to know your discussion group (if you have) and explore the Google+ community , dive deeper into your personal values, motivation and purpose for taking this course as well as Acumen’s view on leadership

Module 2: How to Do Good?

Objectives: Discuss and reflect on the different perspectives and complexities around “doing good”

Module 3: Acumen in Context

Objectives: Understand Acumen’s investment model and where it stands in the international development discourse of the past, present and future

Module 4: Everyday Barriers

Objectives: Exercise empathy and experience what it takes to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand their situation, feelings and motives

Module 5: Adaptive Leadership and You

Objectives: Understand the difference between adaptive and technical challenges; begin to get a feel for what it takes to face internal resistance while implementing changes; reflect on a personal adaptive challenge and the overall course

How the Course Works

There are no in-person teachers or facilitators for this course.  We strongly encourage you to go through the course with a group of 2-5 other individuals. This course can be taken individually, but we believe your learning will be further enriched in a group. You can either (1) invite your friends/colleagues to take this course with you or (2) Join and participate in the course Googe+ community to find other learners to be in your group (we will provide instructions in Module 1).

Course content will consist of readings, online videos, and discussion activities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will a certificate be awarded upon completion of the course?

We will provide a Statement of Accomplishment for individuals that complete all requirements.

If I take this course in a group, do my group members need to be in the same location?

We recommend signing up with a group that is all physically located in the same place. Much of the value of this course derives from the in-person, peer-to-peer learning that happens between group members. With that said, we have had groups cover many of the labs over Skype or Google+ hangouts so it is possible to have a remote group.

Remember, all members of your group need to individually register for this course.

What is the ideal size for my group?

We generally recommend a group of 3 to 5 individuals. If your group is too big, it can be more difficult to coordinate schedules and conduct group sessions together for all of the modules.

How much does it cost to take this course?

All +Acumen courses are free.

Are there any prerequisites for taking this course?

This is an introductory course and there are no prerequisites.

What are the technical requirements?

You need a computer that allows you to watch videos, download our course materials (PDF reading) and the ability to upload your assignments, which will include text reports and images.

More questions?

Please contact

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Community Stories

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    Kenya | "Acumen Essentials I: Intro to Moral Imagination and Challenges in Poverty Alleviation"

    Everlyn lived in Kibera, which was far from her new workplace, so she travelled far each morning to arrive for the morning shift. She had a chair, but it was broken and only had three legs, so she couldn’t sit comfortably…  

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