In today's rapidly changing landscape, universities face the challenge of staying abreast with technological and societal advances while fulfilling their core mission of developing tomorrow's leaders. In 2021, the Inner Development Goals (IDGs) emerged as a comprehensive international framework for the skills necessary for people not only to thrive in life, but to actively contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Enter Rflect, a pioneering Swiss startup dedicated to enabling universities to seamlessly integrate inner development into their existing study programs - in a high-quality, cost-effective, and scalable way. At the heart of this endeavor is a simple yet powerful concept - each student is equipped with a personal development companion, integrated smoothly into their curriculum.
Despite the clear recognition of the need to integrate personal development and future skills into their study programs, universities find themselves grappling with the absence of a practical and efficient solution. Traditional methods like coaching, small group seminars, and learning diaries come with high costs and logistical complexities, making them cumbersome for universities to implement systematically. Additionally, many institutions lack the in-house expertise required to offer robust support for deep personal development.
Rflect can be integrated into any existing study program or course, serving as a personal development companion alongside the regular learning experience. Through our web app, students receive regular prompts for self-reflection and benefit from peer-coaching and insight-to-action challenges. Rflect empowers students to take charge of their learning journeys, allowing them to set personal goals and take valuable insights from their studies and turn them into positive actions in their everyday lives.
Students regularly receive reflection questions to make sense of their program experiences. Whether setting learning goals, connecting specific modules to their interests, or navigating tensions in group work, an adaptable question catalog is sent to students at the right time.
Rflect facilitates coaching through the web app, either between a program coach and student or through peer-to-peer coaching. Peer-coaching, which offers a more scalable cost structure, enables students to support each other and foster important leadership skills like active listening.
Reflection at its best leads to meaningful insights, and Rflect offers a structured approach for turning personal insights into action. Periodic check ins and challenges inspire lasting positive changes in students’ thinking and behaviors.
Rflect seamlessly incorporates personal development into existing study programs, earning the trust of a rapidly expanding community of more than 15 universities.
Rflect has a scalable 1-to-n cost structure. Whether catering to 10 or 1000 students, expenses see only marginal increases.
Scalable Tech Solution
The web app effectively manages programs with 10s and 1000s of students with little need for human coordination.
Grounded in the scientifically validated concept of "vertical development," our approach has been honed through the collaboration with 1000s of students over the past 15 years.
Reflective development is the fusion of guided reflection and actionable changes aimed at fostering personal growth and shaping one's mindset. At its core, it embraces the timeless practice of reflection, uniquely structured within Rflect to align seamlessly with the skills outlined by the Inner Development Goals (IDGs). However, reflection alone falls short without corresponding actions. Reflective development transforms insights derived from conversations into tangible actions, propelling individuals toward personal growth. Through a playful expansion of their capabilities, based on the IDGs, students learn to navigate increased complexity and uncertainty in their surrounding world. By continually engaging in this process, an ongoing infinity loop of reflective development is established.
Reflective Development is a manifestation of vertical development, a concept best understood when juxtaposed with horizontal development. Horizontal development involves the expansion of one's toolkit within specific subject areas, such as coding or social media marketing. As individuals accumulate knowledge and skills in a particular field, they enhance their competence in that specific domain.
On the contrary, vertical development centers around broadening one's mindset, instigating a shift in how individuals perceive the world, themselves, and others. This pertains to the mental models individuals employ during thought processes and their sense of identity. In the realm of vertical development, the emphasis is on cultivating greater adaptability, self-awareness, collaboration skills, and the ability to navigate complexity - skills explicitly outlined in the IDGs.
In 2015, the United Nations set forth the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) envisioning a sustainable planet by 2030. Yet, not a single one of the 17 SDGs are on track for achievement. The UN asserts that a primary factor is that the challenges are too complex, long-term and interwoven for humanity to comprehend and provide adequate solutions. To address this, we recognize the urgency of cultivating the "inner capacity" within individuals for systematic problem-solving.
The 2021 introduction of the IDGs provides a framework with 5 dimensions and 23 capacities to guide this essential development.
As pragmatic, impact-driven entrepreneurs, we go beyond providing a framework. Rflect was born
from the idea of transforming the IDGs into a practical and enjoyable digital experience.
We aim to make personal development a universal, mainstream experience for everyone, contributing
to a self-transforming society within planetary boundaries.
Thank you for being with us on this journey.
Serial purpose-driven entrepreneur, co-founder of Impact Hub Zürich and STRIDE Learning, and father of two. Also serves as a lecturer at HSG, ETH, Franklin, BSL, and other institutions. Formerly with ETH & EIT Climate-KIC, Niels drives Rflect's purpose, shapes the product vision, oversees business operations, and manages partnerships.
Software developer by calling, with a profound commitment to personal development. Previously at with Microsoft, Tillate.com, and local.ch. Founder of Loopthrough GmbH and co-founder of Coalist. A father of one, Ivan spearheads Rflect's product development and shapes the technology strategy.
Passionate about impact and inner work, Ella has worked previously at SINGA in Switzerland and Impact Hub in New Zealand. She is the founder of Bravely Coaching and serves as the Director of Studies for the CAS Women Leading Digital at HWZ. Ella co-designs Rflect’s method with our academic advisors, drives people development and oversees account management.
Part of the social commitment of the Migros Group: engagement.migros.ch
The Migros Pioneer Fund supports sustainable solutions for societal challenges with the goal of
initiating systemic change towards a future-oriented society. The impact-oriented funding
approach combines financial support with active funding and risk management. The fund is part
of the social commitment of the Migros Group and has an annual budget of approximately
CHF 15 million. The Migros Pioneer Fund is supported by companies such as Denner, Migros
Bank, Migrol, migrolino and Ex Libris.
More information: www.migros-pionierfonds.ch