Deep-Dive Masters Program

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Origen: Ashoka

Ashoka Social Financial Services has embarked on an effort to bring together people who share a vision that the market has the potential to improve the quality and character of people’s lives. We believe there is a critical need for change in how our market currently operates. And we are frustrated by current approaches that fail to achieve the deep, structural change the world needs today. We recognize that now is the time to build a concerted effort around innovations that offer structural solutions, to navigate together a way forward to find and support these innovations.

As part of this collaborative effort, the Ashoka SFS “Deep-Dive Masters” Summer Associate internship program brings together a talented cohort of future leaders in business, policy, and other disciplines.

Why are we doing this?

  • To push our thinking in different and often challenging ways that will help us gain clarity on the new framework for Economic Architecture.
  • To identify strong examples of Ashoka Fellows changing the structure of markets around the globe.
  • To map out emergent patterns from across the subset of Ashoka Fellows creating structural innovations.

How are we doing this?

  • Fellows are absolutely central. Ashoka Fellows are the most powerful open source indicator of areas ripe for change. Through their work, we see major patterns and have set out to map what they look like through an iterative, emergent process. This emergent discovery is key to defining the new framework.
  • Build a team of teams. By collaborating with individuals, groups and institutions – like current and post-graduate students, we are building a flexible, yet enduring team of teams that can take on large-scale work more fluidly and catalytically. This enables us to leverage embedded competencies and assets, since each Associate strives to actively contribute to this shared endeavor. In turn, Associates have the opportunity to: broaden their network, engage with a network of other like-minded colleagues, and learn from social entrepreneurs on the leading edge of innovation.
  • “I’m not an expert in that, but I’m eager to learn about it!” We seek to bring together people who see the power of structural innovations in changing our markets for large-scale social good. This is an ambitious initiative that requires a willingness to engage with new ideas and stretch our traditional ways of thinking about economic change. Rather than prioritizing expert knowledge, we emphasize the capacity to learn from each other.

What have we done so far?


Summer 2016

In Summer 2016, we launched the inaugural Ashoka SFS Summer Associate internship program and welcomed the first cohort of 6 “Deep-Dive Masters” Associates. With this team of 6 outstanding Associates, we investigated over 180 Ashoka Fellows to identify innovations that are changing the architecture of our markets.

This work resulted in case studies that dive deep into 18 market-based innovations to show how they each create social impact in different areas of need – such as education, efficient energy markets, affordable housing, and financial inclusion. Each of the Fellows have designed these innovations in a way that aligns profit and impact by changing the structure of the market itself.


Summer 2017

In 2017, we expanded the program to strengthen and maximize our team-of-teams at Ashoka SFS and reach higher levels of impact.

Starting in December of 2016, we reached out to masters programs (MBA, MPP, MPA, and others) at over 90 schools. We received almost 350 applications and spoke with 97 high-potential candidates using a rigorous interview process.

In June, we were excited to welcome 12 new Associates, and worked with 3 of them to take on team lead roles to facilitate 3 small teams of 4 members.

Over the course of the summer, we investigated over 500 Ashoka Fellows to identify innovations changing the structures of the markets in which they're operating. As a result of this research, we found 39 market-based innovations structurally changing markets and 11 with high potential for structural change in the future. In addition to pushing our understanding of the framework forward, Associates directly contributed to our program strategy for framework change.