“I’m in the right place at the right moment and I know exactly what I want to accomplish”

The Swedish Institute Management Programme is designed for change-makers focusing on lasting success through responsible leadership and sustainable business. During an alumni event in Warsaw we got to speak to the SIMP-alumni Agnieszka Sznyk, about sustainability, SIMP and the future.

What is your current work?
– I recently founded Innowo, a non-profit organization which is an institute for innovation and sustainable development. We support innovation and systematic changes for sustainable socio-economic development. It’s a quite challenging path but I love it and for the first time in my life I’m in the right place at the right moment and I know exactly what I want to accomplish.

How do you see yourself contributing to sustainable development?
– Sustainable production and consumption is a well promoted idea within the EU but it has been mostly ecologists promoting that way of living. Now we have to create awareness about the fact that you can produce sustainably and make money! We don’t have to sacrifice everything; we just need to change the spirit of our economy. That’s the real incentive!

What would you say are the biggest challenges that you face in your context.
– Money! People want to make sure that they can maintain a comfortable lifestyle and are a bit afraid of investing in innovation or on sustainable solutions that are still sometimes a little bit more expensive.

Where do you see yourself in the future – what’s your goal?
– I started this NGO, the first think tank in Poland with this focus, so my goal is to make this think tank grow in an international arena.

SIMP – how did you learn about it and what made you apply?
– The Swedish embassy contacted me and encouraged me to apply. I had been in contact with them through my previous work.

Has SIMP helped you level up as a change maker?
– I was very much into sustainable development before so the programme didn’t change me radically. It did, however, broaden my perspective and upgraded my skills within the field. Also it was an important experience personally.

Do you think that there is something you approach differently due to the programme?
– It gave me more independence, in thinking, to be braver with sharing my thoughts, emotions and opinion. They (the facilitators) push you to share and present your ideas which made me more open-minded I think. But if I should mention one thing I gained, it would be braveness.

If you had to choose one thing that you liked about the programme, what would that be?
– The food was amazing! It’s actually the first thing that comes to mind. And how well it was organized. They build this kind of SIMP-family and the way it’s done is really successful.

Do you use the SIMP network still today?
– Yes we’ve organized a reunion of the programme and we stay in touch. I’m also currently in a project with an Estonian colleague I met through SIMP. Most of us stay in touch through social media but some I would say I have a real friendship with.

And last but not least: what will tomorrow’s leaders do different compared to the leaders of today?
– I will actually use an example from SIMP: We met a start-up in the fashion industry who printed clothes in a 3D-printer. Their plan was to use it in airports, so you don’t have to take anything with you, you just send your info and when you get off the plane – it is there for you. I use this example because it shows how we have to shift our mind-set. Tomorrow’s leaders need to get out of the box and question unquestionable things.