Impact can be... when academia & practice pull together
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The Syngenta Foundation works with students in several countries and in various ways*. For the first time, however, an entire team recently advised us on the topic of "Impact". StudentImpact, an organization at Switzerland’s University of St. Gallen (HSG), made it all possible.
"The organization’s aim is in its name," says Jeannine Weiss. As Program Manager in our Partnerships team, she initiated the collaboration. Also involved was Head of Partnerships Victoria Johnson-Chadwick and Dominik Klauser, who leads our work in Research & Development. "HSG students provide advice to companies about improving the impact of their work," Jeannine summarizes. This can also include specific proposals for change.
StudentImpact (SI) recently advised our Foundation on 'Design for Impact'. SI team lead Ralph Löhrer explains: "Our analysis and further development identified the organization and planning which would best enable the Syngenta Foundation to achieve its desired improvements". The four-month process ended in December.
StudentImpact works on new projects with start-ups, SMEs, and NGOs every semester. "The assignments allow us to work on exciting consulting projects" comments Konrad Flatschacher, who managed the assignment at our Foundation with Ralph Löhrer. "Participants thus gain practical experience while still studying." SI also organizes mentoring programs and events for personal development.
"SI works on five different consultancies per semester", explains Mia Symanzik. "Each team consists of five consultants and two project leaders." In addition to Symanzik, Sophia Vontz, Benedikt Wieser, Luca Egli, and Joel Evers developed optimization options for our Foundation. First, they analyzed our strategy and processes alongside those of some comparable organizations. Then, as a core service, they developed a set of guidelines. "These should ensure the best possible and most extensive impact of the Foundation's work", declares Ralph Löhrer.
A Foundation team is now examining SI's recommendations carefully to explore the potential for improvement. This process is running in coordination with the country-by-country portfolio review that we announced in our strategy.
"The work was an exciting challenge," observes Konrad Flatschacher. "The students were able to develop several abilities and learned a lot. They can now tackle future projects with even more verve, skill, and sustainability awareness."
*Here are some other examples of our collaborative work with students. These three are from the topic areas Retrospective Performance Assessment, Scientific Communication and Food Safety You'll find further examples using the Search function.
Interested in a possible school or university study of specific activities at our Foundation? If so, please get in touch.