My Projects


The first time I came to Brazil this year was for a conference on social impact investment in Sao Paulo in may:
INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Conference, São Paolo, 5-7 May 2014!
ISEP Reunion, Paraty, 8-9 May 2014
And then a few days with my Insead buddies, of the ISEP program…
Where I ended up in Parati, one of the most beautiful historical cities I have seen in Brazil…
Overview of the conference:
Start planning your travel! This year's INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Conference will take place in dynamic São Paulo, Brazil. The actual dates of the conference are 6-7 May 2014, but, by popular demand, 5 May has been set aside for visitors to participate in a series of site visits to see the work of local social entrepreneurs.
INSEAD is proud to partner with the Instituto de Cidadania Empresarial (ICE), Vox Capital and Artemisia in presenting the conference in São Paulo. The theme conference will focus the emergence of social finance and social business drawing on international, regional and Brazilian experience. In addition to the pre-conference site visits, an exciting array of speakers, panels, workshops, and other activities will fill the two-day meeting.
Immediately following the São Paulo conference, on 8-9 May, the annual ISEP reunion will take place in the beautiful sea-side, colonial town of Paraty, half way between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Plan now and watch this space for further details and the registration link!

Then I decided to come back and take some classes, meet some teachers from USP and UFRJ and get their views on Waste Management in Brazil, interesting projects I could study or even get involved in. In July, August, September.

I attended the FLIP a few weeks ago, back in Parati… magical

And then things started to roll:
A few classes of English for individuals, an opportunity to teach a class in Morro do Alemao with wonderful people there, MariLuce…
Check the video:

And Elena and I decided to go deeper and try this concept of alternative learning further.
Check the full project on FB: Uke’N’Learn.
Here is a summary:
What would you say if you could live in a world where everybody (from corporates execs to rich students to favela kids) could learn, enjoy, share knowledge and have fun?

Simply by creating new ways of interacting, starting from feeling good methods, learning with what you love, music, movies, games… and creating a network of happy fun people to learn with!

And what about starting with English in Brazil where so much English speaking and communication will be needed in Rio 2016, where kids from deprived areas could enrich their living with tourists and enjoy learning… to learn.

What if that would be just a start of an alternative learning method for many other things of life (other languages, sciences…)

If you feel good you learn better, faster… you simply enjoy learning

Lets take English, 80% of most of what you need is oral communication.
So lets simplify:

YOU can speak English in 1 month with:
300 words and 3 tenses: present, past, future
It is not about being perfect but building the confidence to try and… speak

Work on your most active senses: scriptural, visual, auditory ...  and very importantly gustative and olfactive too
Define your areas of comfort, strength: optimize your study time, your concentration zones during the day
Set goals, visualize them, project and do some retro-planning
Set an effective and fun discipline every day: better 5 min everyday than 1hour per week: so 5 min voc and conjugations, along with music lyrics, videos… and eating, cooking for example

Interactive games and visits with a new network of people embracing this method in your city, and on-line

One article requested by a great yoga teacher, Jane, in Auroville:

Article for yoga Blog (long version):

“Why don’t you go and work in India, for poor communities?”
My friend Jo in London had just sent me a link to Embrace the world, the charity of Amma, Math Amrita Nanda May, know as the “hugging lady” whom I knew nothing about, as much as very little about India.
“No way! I am too exhausted to cope with a trip to India” … 2 weeks later I was buying a ticket for a 6 months trip to India. Arriving on the 29th of dec 2010, in Kerala, between Kochin and Trivandrum, near Kollam, I got my first darshan (embrace) with Amma on NYE of 2010…quite auspicious. And as much as I was really tired, broken by 4 years of hard core financial life rugby, and music partying in all possible scenes of London, heavy winters… I embarked on a bus to follow Amma on a southern tour with some other hundreds of followers, Westerners, all dressed in white, praying, singing odd songs (bajans) in the long bus rides, doing seva (community work) long hours… and sleeping on the floor of schools, temples!
Not really the best way to recover. The promiscuity, the heat, heavy, uncomfortable bus rides broke me further. Loads of hate, rage came out. In fact I run away!
Some friends from Biarritz (south of France) called me up on a surfing trip to the Maldives, 1 hour flight away… did not take me much to book my trip to join them!
Funny enough, when I got there seeing my rugby surfer friends showing their ass to the locals from our luxurious boat, drinking heavily… put me off. I surfed liked crazy for 2 weeks but felt weird and aside all the time.
I was hooked to what I had felt/discovered in the ashram…and so I went back to Amritapuri: a new journey had started. I had been pulled by the ear!
I decided to get involved and save the world! So, quite arrogantly I offered my expertise in Philanthropy strategy to one of Amma’s close swamis (kind of a bishop). He very kindly smiled at me and suggested: “why don’t you start by doing some seva?” I was offended but gosh was that just a start. The seva given to me for close to 2 months was recycling… 4 hours per day. In high heat, unbarring smells… They say you get the seva you need: cleaning others’ people shit is cleaning yours! So I did, my first experience in Karma yoga!
And step by step I started to feel… divine love, in everything, in everybody, every where. The sacred aspect of service, serving selflessly…giving something, working without expecting anything.
Feeling motherly unconditional love, brotherhood in many amazing people around, guiding conversations…
Steps by steps all those values were diffusing.
That is when I started to practice yoga. I took a meditation class called I A M meditation with some key assanas. I had done some yoga in London, mostly Hot Bikram yoga, but it had there barely a gymnastic purpose.
Here meditation and yoga gave me a new understanding, and a strong link of body and mind.
A normal day in the ashram starts at 4.30am preparing for archanas at 4.30am. 5 to 6 is archana (mantra repetition of 1000 sacred names of Amma, in the beautiful Kali temple for women). Usually from 6 to 7.30 is yoga, on roofs facing the sea… then breakfast and seva at least 2 hours.
2 days a week, Amma takes us on meditation at the beach Arabian sea side.
Bajans are from 6.30 to 8 followed by dinner (and an early sleep when you have started so early!)
Years of rugby, judo had shaped me into a heavy prop (I arrived in India weighting 102 kilos) in India I started to unload the unnecessary armor, the heavy weight on my shoulders, outside and inside. I lost 10 kilos in the a few months.
I was thinking of spending a few days, weeks max in the ashram and go and discover India. I ended up spending 5 months the 1st year, followed by a trip to north India and an amazing vipassana retreat in Daram Shala, where the process of release a heavy past went on: I lost an additional 10 kilos.
The following year I accepted a proposal to get involved in Amrita University in my field: Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship.
I taught BBM, MBAs, engineers, built social projects around renewable energies… 39 projects and almost 200 students were blessed by Amma in September 2012.
In the mean time I had received a mantra on universal love and a spiritual name: Jnananand: bliss of/in knowledge.
I was hoping for something like… Murali… to get green to go and sing in the streets with my ukulele! This sounded to me like trouble!
And invariably I was back in Uni in December 2012 embarking on a PhD, the toughest learning experiences I ever had.
I carried on yoga in daily classes for men in the ashram with some of the best yoga teachers I ever had: Vinod and Gitamba. They friends in my daily life and that enriched my practice. Amritapuri now offers 2 weeks intensive yoga classes, various yoga, meditation programs. As well as Ayurveda treatments that have as well brought me back on a healthy path.
Today I do IAM every day followed by a few assanas to strengthen my back. I now teach in some of the most prestigious universities in India (IITM, IIMA…) and in Europe, along side of developing a thesis on social innovation and waste management for poor communities.
And developing some projects where I can like community gardening in Aspiration community…
I have not become a yogi
So here you go, from a trip in an ashram, waking up in the morning at 4.30am for archanas, then yoga, then seva, bajans… early nights. From a rugby party life, a bulky 102 kilos to now 80!

I guess I can... I lost weight, heavyness and many certitudes in life through that ashram experience…

So was it, is it … my path.

Latest news November 2013:

A few corporate meetings to establish myself as consultant in waste management, in Shared Value, Community engagement: CSR Dpt of L’Oreal, Veolia Foundation…

A few articles in the pipe to present to conferences in India, just starting, so learning curve is high:

Article 1:
To be presented at conference:
4th  IconSWM 2014 - 4th International Conference on Solid Waste Management and Exhibition

Technological Innovation in Social Innovation (SI) context: specificities of pro-poor solutions from an Indian perspective

Purpose – This study aims to investigate the relationship between High Tech and Low tech Innovation Processes in the context of Social Innovation (SI) with a particular focus on pro-poor innovations developed in India. After defining the factors that play a role in this interaction this study attempts to define a new way to look at social innovation especially in bottom up approaches that are way more qualitative and human resources focused.

Findings – The results are surprising in the sense that High Tech and Low Tech processes can be found in antinomy in the examples we chose to study. Yet the key factors that drive those processes end up not being technological but human. The way these human interactions can succeed in order to insure best implementation become core to social innovation processes.

Research limitations/implications – This research is limited by the lack of available datas to prove the importance and corner stone of these human interactions. How communities embrace market based or NGO based technical solutions is partially due to technology solutions but mostly to their implementations through human factors. One of these factors being selflessness. How in the end can technology serve poor communities by providing easy-affordable-replicable solutions, which is the start of model we are proposing in section 4 will need some back-up and datas expected by further research.

Article 2:
To be presented at conference:
International Symposium on CSR: 12-13th December 2013: Amrita University Campus, Bangalore, India

Working title: Status of Waste Generation in urban India, key influencing factors inducing statistical models for planning and integrated models for waste management

In the past 5 to 10 years more and more research have been pursued and published especially on Solid Waste Management, and more and more in India.
Yet little datas seem to be available as well as trustworthy.
And the topic of waste management in general and treatment of waste is becoming pivotal in a country that has an important growth rate, impacting hugely on the growth of its waste level and the problems of health, sanitary aspects, poor communities that come with it.
This paper aims at analyzing with some datas available some the factors that impact the level of waste quantity, waste generation in the major cities of India (59 cities and 28 states) as well as the problems encountered by 2 cities Surat and Trivandrum and their responses.
Key words:
Waste Management, Waste Generation. Solid Municipal Waste (SMW). Population factors, Social Innovation (SI), Social Entrepreneurship (SE), Factors of success for SI, Indian context of SI, community engagement in SI/SE

Article 3:
To be presented at conference:
International Conference on deepening democracy through participatory local governance

Working title: Institutional responses for Waste management in India: empirical examples and theoretical economical frameworks

From structuring property rights to compensating social costs in terms of waste management, the key institutional solutions and mechanisms in dealing with waste can vary a lot. There are broad differences from local political to central government interactions. The roles of other stakeholders, or institutions like the private sectors, the informal sectors even are key in addressing the ‘plague’ of the 21st century: waste. Especially with rapid urban growth and changing consumerism patterns. The market failure and ill-property rights in Indian context force new ways in dealing with the problematic of waste generations: in quantity, quality and hazardous composition.

This study looks at various institutional responses in India and is original in that it positions local, regional and state institutions in front of their duties of care, implementation of sustainability and waste management bills, as well as the associated costs of taking care of the waste supply chain. Many aspects are considered from the actual steps of the supply chain of waste, to solutions specific to waste and their institutional origins or means of implementation. By assessing the way these solutions are implemented and sustained with the tremendous challenges of urban growth and waste generation, a matrix of performance has been created as a start to asses institutional responses on several parameters of waste creation related problems, as well as efficiency of Institutions in this matter.


The key findings are that there is not one and ideal solution to dealing with waste from an institutional perspective. Not technical, not political, not organizational, not private or public but by the collaboration of each stakeholders, by a continuous involvement of communities, and especially by transferring the costs of waste to the origin of waste: producers of packaging and consumers. By assessing the way these solutions are implemented and sustained Institutions can monitor their efficiency the efficiency of other institutions and compare institutional responses, in order to make informed decision and improve their systems to deal with the waste plague in the best way and serve to their best their constituents.
Research limitations/implications

Statistics and research, proper datas on waste in India are hard to find as well as to assess in their relevance. Hence this research article aims more specifically at comparing datas and information coming from a few cities systems and interviews in India, and comparing systems witnessed as well as a new trend of research in India looking at waste management, especially Solid Waste Management in urban areas.

Key words
Social Innovation (SI), waste management, New institutional Economics, Institutions, Transactions, transaction cost, property right, market failure, social cost, institutions in India in waste management, institutional responses for waste management

Engaging communities through their students:
SSR Project (Student Social Responsibility) and a new concept of citizenship:

Vision: Amrita becomes the first university in south India to make student citizenship a priority by integrating it as a core of its syllabus for all Masters and Engineers in their last year

Mission: Implement SSR Project as a compulsory part of their cursus, syllabus

Strategic objectives:
lNGO network to reach deprived communities around each Amrita Campus
l1 team of faculty to build NGO partnership and ensure quality and match of projects
lTeams of students per project

Back in India: Amma's blessing on my path as well as: ABC EcoVillage Center on the 22-12-12:

  • Setting an Integrated Waste Management Center in Amrita University side in Amritapuri
  • A pilot to deploy new technologies in small scale Waste Mgt, simple, affordable, replicable solutions for the BoP

September 2012: through various meetings mixing passionate 'sevite' people ashram side and university experts/teachers:

Building 35 projects on renewable energy and sustainability...
ELECTRICAL/ ELECTRONICS  (4) 1 Electric/manual barge Valekau bridge: alternative to boat transfers Building an electric or manual barge transporting/transfering anything up to a small car from ashram side to Valekau side: built along bridge (with a pole traction…) using flux an d reflux back waters to produce electricity with a specific turbine.
2  Solar panels Ashram side  Installing new solar panels Ashram and Campus side to reach 50% NRJ usage
3  Wind mills Ashram side   Installing wind mills meditation beach side for ABC and Compost centers
4 Electricity from waste water Generating electricity from waste water, ashram side
MECHANICAL    (5) 5 Robust / light bicycle for waste pickup Robust and light bicycle with trailer to pick up waste in rural areas
6 Machinery: Machines for ABC and compost list and analyse needs for composting and recycling: process and or machines to improve current efficiency and flow of material
7 Plastic compressor: simple and cheap Plastic compressor: simple and cheap compressing different kinds of plastics
8 Shreder for compost Shreder for compost : cheap and efficient solution, replicable
9 Sorting machine for ABC and compost Sorting machine for ABC and compost: cheap and efficient solution, replicable
RENEWABLE ENERGY            (12) 10 Bio Gas for private houses  (espc poor villages): best technical solution, cheapest and easiest to implement
11 Waste management PILOT for BoP Communties  off grid solutions to make recycling, composting centers self sustained: energy, water…
12 AB units for rain water harvesting Find easy snd cheap solutions to collect and redistribute rain water 
13 Bio Gas plant for new kitchen in ashram Study oppurtunity of best renewable energy for new kitchen in ashram(solar cooker, bio gas what is the best solution??)
14 Bio Gas plant Amritapuri campus side to reactivate Study oppurtunity of best renewable energy for all kitchens in amrita campus(solar cooker, bio gas what is the best solution??)
15 Bio Gas plant for ayurveda college Study oppurtunity of best renewable energy for all kitchens in ayur campus(solar cooker, bio gas what is the best solution??)
16 No water toilets for ashram (AB units in priority) Best technical solutions for clean and non- wet toilets
17 Cellulose waste into Fuel Study solution to transform some cellulose waste int fuel 
18 Planters using styrofoam waste Using styrofoam waste for each garden of amritapuri, AIMS(composting garden), Tulasi garden.
19 Using banana fiber to make paper Using banana fiber to make paper
20 Plastic to oil solutions Plastic to oil solutions
21 Soft plastic solutions: compressing, melting…? Best technical solutions to dispose soft plastic either by selling or compacting etc…
INDUSTRIALISATION / MANAGEMENT PROCESS        (13) 22 Waste management PILOT for BoP Communties: process management  Process management: from big scale efficient processes to small scale pioloting, for 1000 to 5000 people, especially in rural and remote areas.
23 Waste management PILOT for BoP Communties: building aspects:  All in renewable construction materials, recuperation will be pioloted ashram and university side for recycling and compost centers as well as community gardens
24 Data Base for optimised water syst Collecting data for optimized water mgt in different aspects of ashram and university lives
25 Knowledge transfer: community crafts Plastic bags made by communities, fabrication processes to make simple and cheap
26 Cleaning solutions for Dirty Plastic   EM and other organic solutions to clean plastic with a waste market study on soft plastic market in India, where, list of prices…
27 Better organic waste processing/ compost improved system Better organic waste processing/ compost improved system
28 Plastic bins to make out of recycled plastic in ashram find a system to use curent recycled soft plastic and transform it into items especially bins
29 Recycled plastic production unit Study best and cheapest industrial solution to start to produce amritapuri's own plastic out of recycled plastic
30 Reusing recycled plastic into local craft through self helped groups Reusing plastic projects: fabric of local crafting, using bottles for walls…
31 1 Distribution center for recycled craft products    1 Distribution center: reusing things at campus level
32 University or ashram paper recycling Unit Study best and cheapest industrial solution to start to produce amritapuri's own paper out of recycled paper
33 Build a network of local community people representing cleanliness: 1 trainning table Set Communication and training system for communities: 1 Cleaning representant every 2 kms: how to train them, keep them informed, easy simple way: 1 presentation table ashram side for visitor to be trained in latest wste management technologies and take them beack to their communities
34 build a network of local community people representing cleanliness: 1 communication system Set Communication and training system for communities: 1 Cleaning representant every 2 kms: how to train them, them informed, easy simple way: 1 communication system to keep people informed trained and motivated

down to 19 starting projects
-1- Bio gas for new kitchen in ashram
-2- Bio Gas for private homes
-3-Compost: filtering machine for vermi compost
-4- Electricity: Installing Wind mills ashram or Uni side
-5- Electricity: Generating electricity from waste water
-6- Electricity: Solar panels project -off grid systems for university
Solar panels project -off grid systems for university
-7- Electricity: Solar panels project - connected to the grid system for the university
-8- Water: Data base for water management
-9- Water: Water self supply for AB units
-10- Soft Plastic: Recycled plastic production unit-Plastic shredder
-11- Soft Plastic: Recycled plastic production unit- little machine to reduce labour
-12- Soft Plastic: Plastic incinerator
-13- Soft Plastic: study of soft plastic market 
-14- Waste Bicycle: Robust and light bicyle with trailer 
-15- Building: waste management pilot: renewable construction solutions
-16- Backwaters barge: electric or manual barge 
-17- Training/ spreading: waste management (training table)
-18- paper recycling unit
-19- waste management training curriculum

And even if only 2 or 3 projects come to implementation it will be an amazing progress!

27-07-12: My own definition of a social entrepreneur:

A social entrepreneur is a maverick out there searching for the perfect wave, the one which will make him feel really good... travelling the world to find niches...sitting alone on his board in the wildest places...way before others even notice the beauty of the place.

He at times gets lonely and starts to travel with others, which makes his journey more lively, more efficient, deeper, more ... impactful.

But after a while, surfing the perfect wave frantically, other surfers appear, building, government regulating beach access to raise local taxes...

Time for the social entrepreneur to move on to the next spot of his dreams.

21-07-12: French diplomas approved by Amrita Uni, now only math tests and interviews to pass Beg Sept... then 4 years of Research!!

12-06-12: PhD on its way to approval

And here is the 1st official version of my Proposed research area... enjoy :-)

Factors of engagement of deprived communities through Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (SI/SE)

Integrating Social Entrepreneurship at the bottom of the pyramid to create value, selfless service as a core factor, or ego of community leaders?
Today the world is using more than 30% of the resources than the planet can replenish, two-thirds of the planet population is considered to be living under the poverty line (Below the Line, BTL: defined by UN as 1$ per person per day).
In India, officially 20% of the population is underfed, unofficially 65% of the population lives under the BTL, and 55 persons own 35% of the country’s wealth.
Increasing damages at social and environment levels show the failure of current societal models, hard-core capitalism especially (David Bornstein, 2005, How to Change the World, Social Entrepreneurs and the power of new ideas, Penguin Books).

In this research study I seek to understand how deprived communities are using the tool of social entrepreneurship to improve their conditions at individual level as well as at the community and, group level. I am drawing on 3 major projects from my field studies in Kerala, southwest India, to demonstrate the role of selfless service and spirituality, at the individual and spirituality at community levels respectively, in this process, which are major factors responsible of for these positive changes. As well as how individuals put themselves at the service of a community and become their leader? What is the part of selflessness? What is the role of the ego? What values of service and selflessness can be drawn upon?

Statement of Specialization

One of the goals of this research is to reveal the potential of this Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP):
Providing new societal models based on selflessness and collaborative impact (see Stanford Social Innovation review 2012, Fay Hanleybrown, John Kania, Mark Kramer), group values lost to individualism in many western countries, as well as new market opportunities. I want to analyze the untapped wealth of its constituent communities, especially on the human side, as well as reveal some of the key components of them as social groups, from the bottom up. I want to explore shifting the capitalistic paradigm of individual maximization of pleasure and profits to enabling mechanisms of global growth of such communities.

My research will begin in southwest India, in Kerala, implementing and modeling pragmatic grassroots level projects.

For example, a waste management system on the Amritapuri campus will be analyzed, modeled and potentially implemented as a social enterprise outside of the campus system, looking at engagement community factors, values and practices that can be replicating outside their current context.
Additionally, a Center for Sustainability and Social Innovation will be created in the Amrita University using a variety of models ( among which local community leadership, local students engagement, value chain model in rural areas, training and education) with the intention to inspire students and local communities to assume a leadership role in creating value.  Value in this case, being defined as creating derivative products from waste, recycled paper and plastic, producing organic fertilizers, etc, which can serve as a profit-generating service.
One of the key elements to analyze will be the chain of value creation. In this research, value will additionally be seen as creating jobs, creating positive motivation cycles, positioning communities in their core values (uses, spiritual practices, belief systems…) and strengths, and examining the motivation factors for communities to choose to engage in such projects.
Another project in Kerala will involve analysis of the Amrita University’s “Greencampus campaign” alongside the best practices in renewable energy and sustainability around the world. I will look at how technology enables, facilitates, and accelerates the engagement of communities, assessing its real impact.
Existing research has looked mostly externally, as a market; at how companies can address BoP needs or at how BoP communities are led by a single leader (i.e. Muhamad Yunus and the Grameen Bank), or how new market regulations, Social stock markets can emerge ( Yunus: Muhamad Yunus, 30-Jul-2008 – p28; Creating A World Without Poverty)
In my research, I will examine from inside communities how people come to the choice of working together rather than individually; how people lead themselves; as opposed to being led by a strong leader; and how community building differs in eastern collectivist vs. western individualist societies (The paradox of postheroic leadership: An essay on gender, power, and transformational change, Joyce K. Fletcher, Simmons School of Management)
Some examples of community building factors that I plan to address comparatively, include:
  1. Icelandic revolution, how a community uses revolution to implement their political vision: collective response and political engagement factors of local communities
  2. Auroville. How to build a community organically without fiduciary pressure, creating their own support system at the grassroots level: factors that define sustainability and independence at BoP level
  3. Amritapuri. How can a spiritual master inspire a whole community through compassion, and simultaneously lead the biggest NGO in India
  4. Maori culture. How native communities in NZ live with nature at the center of their personal and community life. 
  5. Grameen Bank : what are the latest developments of one of the biggest social entrepreneurship movement, and what are the latest projects of Muhamad Yunus, a key BoP figure, if not leader
  6. Comparative analysis of Collective impact factors (Stanford Social Innovation review 2012, Fay Hanleybrown, John Kania, Mark Kramer) and implementation factors in ‘western communities’, replication opportunities at BoP level
Upon examination, a gap seems to emerge: nobody has yet looked into BoP models as a community movement.
My methodology will start in the field at the grassroots level: field work, implementing projects, immersion into the communities described above, and attempting to model success or failure factors. Some of the tools will include: interviews, supply chain reviews, SE implementation when possible, and incubation of projects. It is my intention to have every step come from a human connection, and then link the results to management and business models and comparisons.
My goal is to reach out, immerse myself into the work of the community, and gain legitimacy and respect from the communities by working with them to implement solutions. I hope to gain an understanding personally of the values of service and selflessness.
When the factors are clear and modeled, ideally we will be able to draw upon them to see how they can be integrated into current SI/SE knowledge and new emerging economic models.  Possibilities could influence de-globalization, de-mondialization, recommunautarism.
Such new models have the potential to balance hard-core capitalisms’ disastrous global impact, both on humans and ecology, during the last decade, re-establishing individuals at the center of cross-interest communities, in a selfless and more compassionate world.

·       Muhamad Yunus, 30-Jul-2008 - 296 pages; Creating A World Without Poverty; PublicAffairs
·       David Bornstein, 2005, 320 pages, How to Change the World, Social Entrepreneurs and the power of new ideas, Penguin Books
·       Fay Hanleybrown, John Kania, & Mark Kramer, Channeling Change: Making Collective Impact Work, Stanford Social Innovation Review
·       Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum Report: 21st June 2012, Overview and Outcomes
·       The paradox of postheroic leadership: An essay on gender, power, and transformational change, Joyce K. Fletcher, Simmons School of Management
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·       Third World Quarterly 21 (4), 637–654.
·       Hemingway, C. (2005). Personal Values as a Catalyst for Corporate Social Entrepreneurship. Journal of
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·       Mizik, N. & Jacobson, R. (2003). Trading off between value creation and value appropriation: the financial
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·       Nga & Shamuganathan (2010). The Influence of personality traits and demographic factors on social
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·       Seelos, C. & Mair, J. (2005). Social entrepreneurship: Creating new business models to serve the poor. Business
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Alternative Learning .... How does he do it?… learning languages ​​...

The basic principles of the method “Alternative Learning for languages” @ I developed a few years ago, over my practice as a coach and sophrologist are:
·      People learn best by taking pleasure, having fun
·      Progress is fastest when working on its strengths, not weaknesses
·      Consciousness and objective reality is the healthiest way to learn
·      Work on your most active senses: scriptural, visual, auditory ...
·      Define your areas of comfort, strength, optimize your study time, your concentration zones during the day
·      Set goals, visualize them, project and do some retro-planning

This applies perfectly to learning a language.

I learned the basics of Portuguese in Brazil, dancing the carnival in Salvador de Bahia and Italian riding my motorcycle from Biarritz to Sicilia, just following my passions :
Surfing with Brazilians, learning every night at least 10 vocabulary words, singing songs in Salvador, vocabulary notebook in hand when doing a “passegiata” in Genoa or in Agrigento, or Ustica, diving… !

A small notebook with a vocabulary on one side and grammar expressions/conjugations on the other

YOU can master a language in 1 month with:
300 words and 3 tenses: present, past, future

Listening to Brazilian music, learning the rhythm of the language through samba, merengue, forro…
Catching vocabulary by learning by heart the songs of the carnival in Brazil (Yvette Sangalo , Olodum , Gilberto Gil I had joy, the honor of witnessing playing on a tri- eletricou at Salvador de Bahia in February 2002, a night jamming with Rai former football PSG player ... )
The year before he became minister of culture under Lula ... you imagine Michel Berger appointed in his time Minister of Culture in France ? ? or Paul McCarthney in England ! ?
Thank you Lula for Brazil and for the example!

Basic principles to learn a language :
·      Focus your efforts on oral practice:
300 words, 3 tenses: present, past, future
1 month: 10 words a day, 1 day verb to be conjugated
·      Sing in the language all you like
·      Recite poetry, if that's your thing like me
·      Watch TV and movies (a real treat in countries like Brazil and Italy ... extraordinary “cinema d’auteur” like “Central do Brazil” or “I megglio junvetu”... )
In one month, if you force yourself, at the beginning, to speak in the language whenever possible without any shame of doing wrong, of misspelling… always with a smile, always in a deep respect for others, their culture , their differences… I assure you very fast results .

A confident grip on your strengths, increase your contacts with local people, their culture and hence learn by doing, by being with them.

If you 're a musician if possible bring your instrument, play whenever possible with locals… music, singing , wonderful means of communication and kinesthetic learning !

So go on, take this leap of faith, learn and speak!

A spiritual journey in India:

15-02-2012: Religion and spirituality
Some thoughts around my spiritual path:
For me religion is a given, something transmitted by your family, people close to you, for most of us during our childhood.
If you are catholic from southern europe, you get baptized maybe with some olive oil and garlic, if you are muslim in Marocco, you get a ...beard (if you can grow it) and you get to read and write opposite direction... a jew in London, Tel Aviv, you get your willie... or part of it, chopped off...ouch!
Well as for me, I got baptised so young I cannot remember, and went to good catholic schools, even a Jesuit boarding school when I got exposed to chatolic lithurgy as well as priests (to the point of one perforating my ear drums with a slap).
Religion for me is a mix of customs, uses, traditions transmitted by your surrounding, your past, your roots, almost a tribute to your ancestors, family habits... and has been the source of a lot of interpretations leading to massacres, wars...lots of blood instead of the love it is supposed to spread!

Very few people I know got to choose their religion.
Spiritual maturity is told to come after 30!
Hence for me, pirituality is a different journey, your own journey.... your willingness to embrace your life, the world in a different way.
To question the existing with different solutions.
To get asnwers on exhistential topics from a higher perspective.

I love this swedish saying: “life is a gift of God, what you make of it is what you give back to God”
This is what spirituality is about for me: what do I want to give back? What kind of person do I want to be? Away from dogma, walking the talk...

Very rarely do we get to choose our religion. Yet we can when we start to think about our positionning to the world start to find asnwers in spiritual practices, thinkers, besides our original religious dogmas.
That new positioning as individuals trying to grow, to become better beings every day is for me the spiritual journey I want to pursue, seeking serenity, deep values, divinity, God’s contact....
And that involves for me getting to know many religions, going to Jerusalem, praying in Matchu Pichu, now in an ashram, following the guidance of an enlightened indian master...
Searching for life principles that feel right for me, growing into my own personal values that will of course be a combination of my past, my history, my roots, my family and my aspirations, my values...along the way.
That includes taking things that inspire me in different religions: the strong community/family sense in jewish religion, salam alekum in muslim culture: God be with you... I see devine light in you: Aum nahma shivaya in India, Hindu context...
Trying to implement yoga and meditation in my daily as a strong spiritual be more serene, more compassionate every day...


Embrace... here, the one you get from Amma, Amritapuri Mahatam, enlightened master.
The act by which Devine Mother, Amma, takes you in her arms, for a moment (usually between 30 sec to 10min for the lucky ones...) whispering tender words at your ear (usually your right one ... as you are directed to her right side for this hug) words of love, such as "My son, my daughter, my darling..."
Amma sits in a beautiful garnished chair and devotees line up to get her embrace, kneeling at her feet, sign of respect for the master, the line can take up to a few hours...
When I got my 1st darshan, the 31st of december 2010, the long term devotees, the experienced ones were describing their own firsts with pride and emotion: "you'll see, you'll get deeply moved, you may cry... I did"...
Well my truth, my own experience differed completely from the ones of the 'professional sacred cows..operating here...or the IO G.I.s'...many of them...:-): I did not cry nor did I feel anything special besides a nice and sweet feeling of love and compassion (which I could only identify way later...).
It simply felt good, at times a bit intimidating, and alter on, sweet warmth inside a feeling of unconditional love, protecting, caring.
But no tears, no drama!
Just a serene feeling of being taken care of by a Mama love...smily and all round with love (like Rosette my second mother from Guadeloupe, black and so round with love and care)...
Grace and bliss came after, without my noticing.
One of my most memorable darshan took place in Paris last november with my cousin/sister Yael. Amma embraced us together, one on each side, as brothers, inseparable, and linked in this path of love... felt really deep, true and so right.
Then lately, on the 18th of jan this year, my longest darshan ever (I may come up to near 50 darshan with Amma now) and most expressive, compassionate one.
She kept me for maybe 10min, grabbing me back to her each time close, poking my cheek, comforting me. I had prepared a question for her summing my difficulties of adapting to the projects at Amrita University I had come to work on. She surrounded/filed me with so much grace, picking me up as a kitten (a big one:-), that was drowning, by the skin of its neck to place it in a safe place...and letting him recover nicely by her side.
Since then she has been step by step acting more and more strongly as a guiding, educating mother, at time punishing too (see broken board in Varkala, front head wound, ear infections...).
When you come for darshan you may bring gifts to your master, in the form of garlands (100 to 200 Rs, 1 to 3 euros), fruit baskets...sweets that she blesses, as well as questions in english that you have translated in Malayalam by the assessors guiding you to her during darshan.
And the master blesses you with gifts too: fruits (I got an apple when I asked for my job at Amrita, and got a confirmation in Boston in July 2010, then regularly bananas for Amala Bharatam questions...and sweets as well as puta powder..)
Since that 18th of Jan I have started to see/feel her presence beyond her physical appearance, her holy immanence in everything, in my surrounding, in things (manifesting with a white veil irrading a shining white color), in people (even when they shout, act poorly...I still perceive Amma's smile on them).
I do not have visions (no worries) but strongly feel the grace of my master while I am strugglinh on my path, experiencing so many changes in my life, sometimes guiding me, sometimes carrying me!
I now feel every exeperience in my life as a gift of God, a chance to learn, to grow.
Accepting positive and negative experiences with as much detachement as I can in order to take the lessons in, in the most efficient and deepest way possible

My daily life in Amritapuri ashram:

Waking up at 4.45am, still dark outside, and right now quite cold as a matter of fact!

Coming down to the main hall, men side in front of Amma's stage to attend archana's from 4.50am to 6am.

Then Chai time, enjoying the awakening of Nature: birds, dogs, all animals starting to buzz around...

Time for a yoga meditation session on the 17th floor of the E-building, with an amazing view on the arabian sea and the backwaters, usually from 7 to 8am.

Then healthy breakfast with fresh seeds, corn flakes, bananas...
Time then to make my way to the university round 9am and set myself for a good 8 hours of social innovation social entrepreneurship projects... either teaching or pushing Amala Bharatam forward, or simply doing seva, composting/recylcing (I tried to do at least half a day per week, to keep contact with the reality of Amala Bharatam and stay humble, connected to the spirit of the place!).

Lunch either on Uni side, or Ashram side if I need to conduct interviews with people here for my research on AB...

Then back to the ashram round 7pm for bahjans, devotional songs...
Dinner from 8 to 9.30pm, followed by a nice fresh juice...
and bed!!!!
my little room, now sleeping in a proper bed, but on the floor the 1st 2 months:



Try it and you will see
I have suffered so many years from ups and downs without knowing what to do about it besides normal halopathy treatments and numerous psychological therapies... until I started to work with sophrology for myself and others...and I then started to develop my own methods, compiling tools.
Year after year, developing ways to deal with my stress, with my difficulties to deal with overwhelming emotions, tame a hyperactive mind, brain... to embrace my life with all my potential, instead of living in fears... in the dark.
Here are a few of them:
For sophrology please go and check:
Sophrology is a personal development method that is designed to reduce stress and promote mental and physical well-being, through easy-to-do mental and physical exercises that can be done any time and anywhere.
and the amazing school of my sophrology Master, my friend, Martine...
The core of the practice I currently apply in my life right now is: I AM meditation, the meditation and yoga tool developed and used at the ashram here.
So yes meditation and yoga, between 2 to 3 hours per day, waking up at 4.30am, and going to bed before 10pm makes it possible.
Then of course some elements of positive thinking, corporality, realistic objectives coming from sophrology.
‘this is a good day starting for me’
Visualisation of positive situations, projection of success, retroplanning...
Now here a new one in my life... which has had an amazing impact in the way I see my role here, the way I embrace it, the way I develop my purpose, my sense of belonging...
I pick up trash, when ever I can, whenever it makes sense.
For example on my way to university (10min walk from ashram side to university side...) I try to find a plastic bag on the way and fill it till I arrive with trash, mostly plastic... and then drop it in one the uni bins.
It had the immediate effect to make me focus on my mission of setting Amala Bharatam outside the ashram as a successful social enterprise, I sets my mind on selfless service, I chant my mantra while doing it and it does liberate my mind, focussing it on my purpose.
I have seen as well surprised faces of fellow teachers as well as some of my students... very surprised at first and then getting it....
I am sure it can only bring a positive influence.
Like James, this London boy that inspired me to do so: when I first met him I was very judgemental: he looked like a thug, and I put him in the ‘football fans’ category, the hooligans I had to avoid when I was coming back home late in Fulham and there was a Chelsea game...
The one that stab you for  no reason.
Well I saw this dude picking up trash on Varkala beach, for hours at sunset time, having indians coming to him asking, embarrassed what he was doing.
And then I realized. You don’t do this for them, but for yourself.
Feeling good to do your bit about Mother Nature, even if there double trash the next day. Perseverance, faith, courage, positive what it takes...
and what it brings you actually, right away... well at what it brought me!
I started to clean places on my own like that, in silence, chanting my mantra... in the wonderful mountains of Reunion Island. Coming down  on ‘Cirque de Mafate’...and getting close to La Nouvelle!
I started to pick up trash for myself and felt so good about it.
And the feeling is still the same one year after.
I do feel a new sense of self, a new connection to Gaia, to God.

SEVA, selfless service:

This is for me, the best way, to stay humble, to keep connected to why I am here, to simply practice my spirituality in a simple, basic manner and serve Amma, my avoid arrogance (hopefully it will dear Ujwala, this is all I have to be grounded...I'm trying hard here :-)

I either practice seva in:

  • composting: very physical, incredibly hot (composting piles get up to 70deg) and very dirty too!

Good way to feel 'as a humble piece of grass, as Amma says'.

  • recycling, same thing almost, but good for me to feel all the way that needs to be covered to 'Clean India and crearte value'.

This physical, quite unintellectual activity is a great tool to disconnect the brain, wash the ego, bow to the devine...


Seva means service. It refers to selfless service for altruistic purposes on behalf of, and for the betterment of a Community. A sevadar is one who performs seva through philanthropic, voluntary, selfless, service.
Seva is a means to promote humility and demote egoism which is a basic concept of many spriritual practices.
Pronunciation: save - awe
Alternate Spellings: sewa
Examples: many kinds of voluntary service caring for every aspect of daily life: veggie chopping, serving at canteens, guiding handicaped people, cleaning, sorting trash, collecting trash, composting.... Seva is also performed on behalf the community outside of the ashram. International aid organizations such as Embrace the World perform seva for communities needing relief due to a natural disaster such as a tsunami, hurricane, earthquake, or flood etc...
A possible PhD on Social Innovation/ Social Entrepreneurship in India: see latest news further up!

Here is the possible topic:

An applicative research on community engagement, impact of social innovation and social enterprise to the Botton of the Pyramid based on modelization of organic examples, pilots, at grassroots level in Kerala, south India.
What are the success factors that can be drawn upon to the emergence of new models for individual, economic and social group organization which could enable de-globalization, de-globalization through social innovation and social entrepreneurship
Key topics: de-mondialization, de-globalization, social innovation and social entrepreneurship models, impact on social organizations, influencing individuals, Hybrid Value Chain and other models as best practice to impact the BoP, re-communautarism. organic examples  and impact/integration of the Bottom Of the Pyramid.

First assignment by the Indian Master, Amma: Recycling
How to clean India and turn it into a sustainable, value creating project?


Other SI/SE ideas, projects:
Community engagement through travel agency, human cafes...