The Story Behind the Soil Logo

When I was in Eicher Consultancy Services and we became a 50:50 Joint Venture with Strategic Decisions Group of Menlo Park, California, we decided to create a new logo for ourselves.

We discovered a wonderful designer, Angela Purie who was an alum of National Institute of Design. She helped us to develop a distinctive logo based on the “Infinity” symbol and the tag line “Indian Roots, Global Reach” and the belief that “Everything was possible”.

Everyone liked the new positioning and identity, and Angela’s work was appreciated a lot.

Many years later when we were wanting to develop a logo for the School of Inspired Leadership, we naturally turned to Angela once again and had a series of stimulating conversations with her.

What emerged was the extremely inspiring and distinctive SOIL logo. Let me attempt to share the story that this symbol communicates.

Just like the saffron in the Indian national flag, the saffron in our logo stands for strength and courage. It is the “spark” that is the source of all inspiration. We in SOIL believes that every human being has unlimited potential that comes from the life- giving force-the truth or the consciousness within all of us. By turning in to our “real selves” we can access this power at any time. The practice of “Awareness or Mindfulness” enables this. This is practiced by our students by learning “Yoga and meditation”.

The three dark green leaves stand for sustainability, based on fertility, growth and auspiciousness just as the green color in the Indian flag denotes the same. We teach this through our curriculum on “Whole Systems Thinking” and students participate in bootcamps and work on a complex problem such as “Air pollution” in the city. This enables students to take ethical decisions that serve the well-being of all stakeholders and not focus unduly on shareholder value creation. We further enable students to explore ethical dilemmas through a week- long intense theatre- based course that is truly transformational.

The six light green leaves stand for the values of diversity and compassion. Honoring the uniqueness of each person, learning to dialogue across differences, seeing the same life- giving force in people across caste creed, color, gender, religion and age are the three important dimensions of diversity.

In SOIL, we manifest this value through team- based projects in which students are encouraged to value the multiple intelligences present in each other; dealing with people, aesthetics, creativity, music, dance, quantitative aptitude, art, are our gifts. One person may be good at one aspect and the other at something else. Unlike other Business Schools that put a disproportionate focus on analytical ability, we teach our students to value each other on different aspects and learn to leverage these to make their teams more effective.

Listening to each other deeply, getting out of our own shoes to step into others’ shoes(empathy) and taking proactive action to alleviate pain in others or share in their happiness (practicing appreciation and gratitude) are three important dimensions of compassion. We put the maximum focus in SOIL in this area with students developing this aspect by serving NGOs one day in a week- the Social Innovation Program. Diversity and Compassion enable every student to discover their strengths and their “Purpose” and teaches them how to leverage their gifts towards their “calling” leading to “enthusiasm”.

In short, the saffron representing Mindfulness is the key to inspiration and “character”, the dark green leaves of Sustainability and ethics build “competence” and the light green leaves that communicate the dimensions of diversity and compassion create enthusiasm leading to peace, harmony and real happiness- symbolized by the white color in the Indian flag. Our logo contains the letters SO-I-L.

This stands for SO-I-LEARN



If we embrace the five pillars explained above and “learn” to lead our personal and professional lives in line with these values, we will become truly “Inspired” Leaders and our lives would become sources of happiness for ourselves and others.

I feel particularly blessed that the Universe chose me as the chief servant of this movement called SOIL that has touched thousands of lives since our inception.


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