For the first time ever, a fresh batch of 2 year full time PGDM management students experienced the entire PG Lab (Personal Growth Lab) programme being delivered online on a virtual platform. PG Lab, is one of the 5 non-classroom initiatives of Bhavan’s SPJIMR to build the attitude of the students. PG lab which has always been conducted in the picturesque surroundings of Khandala (outskirts of Mumbai), was successfully executed virtually during the lockdown by a team of SPJIMR Organizational Behaviour Professors.
The PG Lab course takes off right at the beginning of the programme so that the most important ‘T’ of “Trust” is imparted before “Technology” and “Techniques”. It is of utmost importance to instil self-awareness, team skills right in the beginning so that participants can make the most of the 2-year programme and achieve holistic growth.
The purpose of the PG Lab is to provide students with a safe and protective environment so that they can experiment with their thoughts, feelings and behaviour in order to assess, identify and understand their areas of strengths and the areas of improvement. The PG Lab provides an opportunity for the participants to not only become self-aware of their personality (the journey from ME to ME) but also learn about team dynamics (the journey from ME to WE). The 4 day extensive programme for students helps build personal leadership and team skills among its participants and is usually conducted through various team building activities – indoor and outdoor and experiential learning exercises intertwined with conceptual underpinnings.
“The current pandemic made it imperative to pivot in the VUCA . We at SPJIMR, have been able to mirror an off-site experience of the Personal Growth Lab (PG Lab) on to an online mode through social engineering, integrating psychology & technology using a Design Thinking perspective. The Virtual P.G. Lab has facilitated 240 participants in decoding not only ‘oneself’ but also learning to recognize and respect individual differences and build high performing virtual teams.” says Dr.Lata Dhir, Behavioural Scientist and Professor of Leadership and Design Thinking at Bhavan’s SPJIMR. Lata has been instrumental in the design & development of Personal Growth Lab, an innovative pedagogy to teach Organizational Behavior in SPJIMR.
The unprecedented times of COVID pandemic had put forward a challenge to the execution of the PG-lab. After multiple brainstorming sessions, the organising team, a team of professors decided to conduct the sessions online and made many innovative changes to make the sessions more engaging and interactive even in the virtual space, while keeping the core objective intact. With an incredible amount of effort put forth by the programme team and instructors, new modes of identifying and communicating one’s own self were adapted, such as Padlets, emotion boards, business simulations along with a disaster management case study, directly based upon the experiences of decorated member of the Indian armed forces. With the help of Breakout Rooms, students were asked to deliver results in groups in a short span of time and have a glimpse of work done under pressure with stringent deadlines. It was an amalgamation of Technology, Psychology and Design Thinking, while ensuring the best possible student experience.
“We are very happy that the PG Lab, which is an integral part of the PGDM experience, was conceptualized and delivered effectively in the virtual mode. In spite of the constraints imposed due to the pandemic, it’s the creative thinking and teamwork of our faculty and students that the journey from “me to we” was made possible”, says, Professor Sajeev George, Chairperson, PGDM Programme at Bhavan’s SPJIMR.
Towards the end of the 4 day programme, the participants shared their experience through short skits, songs and dance performances. The participants expressed their gratitude towards the professors and the organising team by a video presentation at the end of the event. It was a truly wholesome learning experience for all, with the institute achieving yet another milestone in the virtual space.