GS2018: The Interview Blogs – Asmita Deshmukh and Rudi Narendran

08 november 2018

The Interview Blogs highlight the experiences of Global Shapers: Generation 2018, the workflow coaches, executive and senior leadership team members, and a board member from The Lovinklaan Foundation. The #ShareTheStory team interviewed these individuals with specific interview questions geared towards their unique experience during the Global Shapers program. Today, an interview with Global Shapers Asmita Deshmukh (Arcadis GEC India) and Rudi Narendran (Arcadis UK). 

Tell us about the Virtual Phase

AD: All Global Shapers were divided into sixteen teams to complete three assignments prior to the Face to Face program.  I was in Team Hong Kong which had members from China, Qatar, the USA, Netherlands, Australia and myself from India. Our mentor was Christoph Wollersheim, Global Head Data Analytics and Insights. The first difficult task was finding a common time suitable for a weekly call, the second was understanding everyone’s accent!

The first assignment was identifying our personality type using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test to identify how we perceive the world and make decisions. We often know who we are, but a well-articulated explanation like this makes the picture much clearer!

The second assignment was to understand what kind of background every team member is coming from by assessing their culture’s stance on certain topics from inequality between hierarchies of people or the distribution of roles between men and women. It was interesting to see that something obvious in one culture can be an altogether rare sight in another!

For the third assignment we worked on #FutureCities workflows: Smart City and Regenerative City. We came up with smart solutions to reduce traffic congestion in New York City and a smarter way to remove snow from the roads in the USA. We also assessed an Atlanta metro station using MODex and provided innovative solutions to address its issues.

How was it to work with your virtual team?

First, I thought the “outside of the box” assignments really ignited our minds. It was a unique experience of working together with people from so many counties. The feeling of being connected without even meeting each other was so amazing! I felt inspired by my team members and thinking of the fact that thousands of miles away in other countries I have friends, leaves me amused!


What needs to happen to make Global Shapers a positive experience?

RN: Personally, for this to be a positive experience I want tangible outcomes from all of the workflows. I want these to be presented effectively to the senior leadership so that we can encourage them to adopt these within Arcadis. I want to instil confidence in Arcadis to take up our solutions and our tangible workflow outcomes and develop the solutions, implement them and build them into the business models that Arcadis will follow in future.

What is the one thing you want other people to know about Global Shapers?

I think a lot of my colleagues think that Global Shapers is just an excuse for a hundred people to get together and have loads of fun. It definitely is that, but I think that people should really know the that work goes behind this. Every single thing that we do here is about creating ideas, really breaking boundaries and getting us thinking. Let me tell you, the first thing I want them to know is that we are tired the entire time.

How will you create a ripple effect after you get back?

I am already trying to create a ripple effect right now. I am posting on Instagram and Twitter; I am talking to my friends back home asking them for advice on some of the workflows. That’s how I think we need to move forward with this – we can’t just keep it within our Global Shapers. We need to try and collaborate with anyone we can. In the UK, Alan Brookes our CEO set up a meeting for us to talk about the experience already.

The Interview Blogs were powered by the #ShareTheStory workflow and the blog interview team, including the Shapers that were virtually present at the f2f program.