IndiaInnovation = Regenerating Knowledge | Integral Innovations

Integral (Special) Education in India
by Silvan Büchler and S.P.J. Sadhana School, India

The Integral Innovation of Silvan Büchler and the Sadhana School Innovation Team focused on the systemised and profound articulation of S.P.J. Sadhana School’s holistic educational approach, most of which was implicitly embedded within the organisation, leading to the co-creation of Sadhana’s Integral Education Model “V.R. Purnatva”.

Calling: Capturing and Evolving the Implicit Knowledge underpinning S.P.J. Sadhana School’s innovative educational Approach

The burning issue underlying this research-to-innovation, with Silvan Büchler as the lead researcher-innovator, was to explicitly capture and evolve further some of the unique educational knowledge still implicitly embedded within S.P.J. Sadhana School in order to strengthen its long-term sustainability. Following these thoughts, the objective of the six months project was to co-create an Integral Education Model that can be taught to current and future generations of teachers within the school, and also be shared widely outside of the organisation, allowing society to benefit from Sadhana School’s highly successful approach in a much wider way.

Innovation Ecosystem: Local and global Actors with a profound Knowledge of transformative Education and of the Maharashtrian and Indian Context

In order to fully actualise the co-creation process, a strong innovation ecosystem team was built up that comprised of local and global actors with a profound knowledge of the Maharashtrian and Indian context. Under the stewardship of Radhike Khanna – vice-principal, director of curriculum and pioneering figure of Sadhana School – eight experienced core teachers of Sadhana were included in the ecosystem who were not only instrumental in surfacing success factors of the school, but enabled to institutionally ground the research-to-innovation in order for it to have a real impact. Rishabh Khanna, nephew of Radhike Khanna and development economist, and Alexander Schieffer from Trans4m supported the process on an ongoing base, providing the ecosystem with a rather global perspective, leading to combined “local-global” insights that always built on Sadhana School’s home-grown particularities.

Sadhana School Innovation Ecosystem with Trans4m Junior Fellow Silvan Büchler
Sadhana School’s Innovation Ecosystem, stewarded by Dr. Radhike Khanna, including Trans4m Junior Fellow Silvan Büchler

Integral Innovation: Towards “V.R. Purnatva”

The Integral Research design was used as a transformative process to bring about integral innovation. Drawing upon Sadhana School’s core methodology, the so-called FACE Programme (Facing Autism through Communication with the Environment), with its four phases building a real innovative symbiosis with Trans4m’s Integral Worlds approach, the innovation ecosystem co-created Sadhana’s Integral Education Model “V.R. Purnatva”. The initials V. and R. stand for Vasudha Jain and Radhike Khanna, as their relentless work together, as student and teacher, has been at the very core of the holistic educational approach later articulated as the FACE Programme. The second term “Purnatva” is a Sanskrit term meaning “wholeness”, which is representative for the relationship between student and teacher, both being whole human beings and together building an inseparable whole.

Furthermore, the co-created model is based on the interconnection between the four worlds of the South (Healing Relationships), East (Creative Consciousness), North (Applicable Knowledge) and West (Sustainable Livelihood), leading to a holistic approach on the educational (student, teacher, parents) and organisational (school) level. Additionally, the newly developed model provides an authentic and culturally resonant alternative to a prevailing western-designed (special) educational system in India and suggests concrete ways for Sadhana School to become an even more powerful agent of transformation by further reaching out to society.

Integral Education Model of Sadhana School, Mumbai, India - co-created with Trans4m Junior Fellow Silvan Büchler
S.P.J. Sadhana School’s Integral Education Model “V.R. Purnatva”

Integral Impact: A powerful Educational Tool, a richly illustrated Brochure, a full-fledged Book on Sadhana School’s Integral Education Model

The regular innovation ecosystem sessions in combination with the conceptualisation and articulation of the FACE Programme in an easily understandable language led to a much better understanding thereof. Radhike Khanna saw it “coming together, from my head to the paper.” Susan Raphael, a teacher who was part of the innovation ecosystem, furthermore states: “At the ecosystem meetings we went in-depth about the understanding of the whole FACE Programme. It was amazing how we could associate it with the integral approach and to start seeing it as each part being a connecting portion, which helps the programme to have like a momentum. It is now that we have met over the last months and given the FACE Programme a framework that I’m beginning to understand the whole Programme.

A richly-illustrated brochure with a clear focus on the FACE Programme was co-created in addition to the Bachelor Thesis which will facilitate the sharing of the newly articulated knowledge inside and outside of the school. Through the application of co-operative inquiry, a participatory form of action research methodology, the research-to-innovation furthermore activated a process of organisational renewal towards ongoing transpersonal innovation within Sadhana School.