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Country Insights Labs

Country Insights Labs (CILs)

ISL has conducted a series of Country Insights Labs (CILs) in Southeast Asian cities throughout 2014 and into the first half of 2015. Each CIL aims to uncover the critical issues facing societal leaders in a given country and pinpoint the underlying causes behind each issue within the countrywide context. 

Each CIL consists of a series of interviews and roundtable discussions conducted in the primary cities of a country across three to four days. ISL researchers locate and reach out to Social Impact Organisations (SIOs) operating in the target country. SIOs are any organisations possessing the ability to make change or contribute to the betterment of communities. They include, but are not limited to, corporate responsibility wings, social enterprises, nonprofits, government offices, universities and media organisations. Additionally, ISL reaches out to individuals it deems exceptional societal leaders, such as philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, thought leaders and change makers.

The Institute conducts interviews both individually and as part of larger roundtable discussions. Individual interviews are unstructured in nature and made up of questions relating to organisational history, operations, strategic outlook, cross-sector collaboration, leadership and country context. Roundtable discussions employ the same questions with the goal of stimulating deeply informative conversations among participants. A senior ISL staff member moderates each roundtable to ensure the unity of the conversation. Research assistants take note of conversations and incorporate them into the City Reports.

Southeast Asia: National Landscapes, Challenges and Opportunities to Enhance Societal Impact

This study draws its contents from the findings and insights that colleagues from the Institute for Societal Leadership have put together in the form of eleven Southeast Asian Country Insights Labs reports.

This paper aggregates the background research and key observations from interviews with more than 128 organisations and 148 individuals, and highlights the key challenges and opportunities for growth that cut across a number of the countries. The commentaries are foregrounded by a brief description of the national landscape of each country. While ISL believes that workable solutions and partnerships can be forged across borders and sectors, empathy and an awareness of how each country’s unique context relates to its social issues are of primary importance. 

Browse content here or click on the image on the right to download the print edition of the Monograph in pdf. 

Understanding Societal Leadership: Strategy and Impact

This study focuses on the construct and discusses the characteristics and factors affecting the phenomenon of societal leadership. Reference is made to many worthy examples of social catalysts, innovators and leaders that the Institute for Societal Leadership (ISL) has encountered in each of the Southeast Asian countries and efforts are made to delineate the strategies that are used by societal leaders to create social impact. The study also discusses the various forms of societal leadership and ways in which effective societal leaders or social impact organisations collaborate across sectors to achieve their goals.

Browse content here or click on the image on the right to download the print edition of the Monograph in pdf. 

Societal Influence, Leadership and Impact:  Defining Traits of Twenty Pioneer Southeast Asian Leaders

This study focuses on twenty Southeast Asian leaders who have been key players during critical transitions in the social, economic and political development of their country. In asking each of the societal leaders questions concerning their motivation, the cause they were championing and the factors that have led to their success as leaders, the study attempts to draw out common traits they possess and investigates whether the traits that make people effective societal leaders differ across socio-cultural and historical contexts. A grounded theory approach is used in the analysis of the attributes and traits that emerge from the transcripts of the videotaped interviews. A holistic model is used to capture the causal conditions, varying influences, strategies, consequences as well as the contexts that led to strong societal leadership. 

Browse content here or click on the image on the right to download the print edition of the Monograph in pdf. 

Country Insights Labs Reports

The Institute for Societal Leadership conducted a series of eleven Country Insights Labs (CILs) in select Southeast Asian cities between June 2014 and June 2015. Each CIL aimed to uncover the critical social and environmental issues facing leaders from business, government and civil society in a given country and frame the underlying causes behind each issue within the country’s context. The study identified emerging trends in Southeast Asia and has since directed further re- search toward interconnected social and environmental issues shared among countries in the region. 

Click on the link below the country to download the individual Country's Insights Labs Report. 


The Bandar Seri Begawan Report 


The Phnom Penh Report


The Indonesia Report


The Vientiane Report


The Malaysia Report


The Yangon Report


The Manila Report


The Singapore Report


The Thailand Report


The Dili Report


The Vietnam Report



Last updated on 27 Sep 2016 .