The (social) innovation in India
There is one class that keeps my unadulterated attention every single week.
I look forward to go back to the classroom and learn from one of the very best professors I have ever have. His name is Suchil Kumar and the class I'm talking about is Social Entrepreneurship.
- UPDATE: Since "sharing is caring" I have uploaded my notes on the class.
Few times I have seen such expertise, storytelling, engagement and knowledge in one person. We have talked about philosophy, physics, economics (behavioral), motivation, leadership, respect and creativity. Social entrepreneurship? Every single day, but mingled with all of this flavours and the Indian perspective, interwoven with their unique vision of the world.
I have learned deeply about jugaad and frugal innovation. That is something we have in Latam, but is always refreshing to look at it in such a wonderful place such as India (when Gandhi, Ganesh or the Patel family comes into scene).
We have talked about the social role we have to improve society, one step at a time. We have discuss hours on ideas, creativity, innovation and problem solving. The cognitive process, the motivation behind, the crucial role of people and the impact we can have as entrepreneurs in the society.
This class has gone deeper than “business model canvas” or “lean startup”. Those words (or Apple, for Christ sake) have never been mention. Can you believe it? An Innovation class in which we don't say Apple, Steve Jobs or Canvas Business Model Generation? Yes, Suchil Kumar does it and he puts into shame all the so call innovation professors I had in Italy.
Through this learning process, we have discover several attempts in India to solve different type of social problems. What I have here is a list of those I have liked the most:
* Before look at them, think about the context and the challenges that the sub-continent faces. Unlike the docil China, India has several countries living under the same flag. The challenges to make the country come together are huge and sometimes, they look unsolvable.
- Eko: In just one line and as they described themselves:
“Eko provides a low cost infrastructure powered by innovation and technology to enable instant, secure and convenient financial transactions”.
- Drishtee: Completely focus on rural India (70% of Indian population). This Startup has gained traction on three key states of the country.
Drishtee identifies and creates a number of ‘milkman routes’ in a given district. Through each route, it caters to a minimum of 20 – 25 villages. As a social enterprise, Drishtee works towards creating an impact in villages by creating an eco-system of micro-enterprises run by entrepreneurs with a specific focus on women. We identify a number of potential entrepreneurs and train them on the specific skill sets required.In each route, Drishtee provides a sound kiosk-based platform to deliver services such as Health, Education, Banking, Micro-finance, and livelihood services such as rural BPOs along with opportunities to provide market access and linkages for physical products such as eyeglasses, mobile phones and agricultural products.
Bhulekh: This could be a given for any developed country, but here, is the first time that you can access your land property rights online. Since it targets farmers, it is written in hindi. A huge leap forward for UP.
The National Innovation Foundation: This governmental branch, supports and strengthen local innovations triggered in India. As you can see, what they have collected proves creativity, exectution and problem solving are tremendously healthy
...an autonomous institution of Department of Science and Technology, GoI, based on the Honey Bee Network Philosophy, which provides institutional support to grassroots innovators and traditional knowledge holders from the unorganized sector of the society
- Last but not least, The e-Governance project: India is moving forward to collect information, solve needs and tap on the ideas of over a billion people. As I reflected before, IT could be the gap-filler this country needs to move forward even faster.
What do you think? One of the strongest nations on IT is finally working on itself and not exporting all of the brains to solve someone else’s problems but their own.
- Reap Benefit: India named Kuldeep Dantewadia, 25 CEO & Co-Founder, Reap Benefit as one of the most influencial Indian under 30. After taking a look at Reap Benefit you will understand why.
Reap Benefit works to implement affordable solutions enabling quantifiably better waste-water-energy management solutions as a way to facilitate behavioural change by engaging the head, hand and heart in the user.
- Milaap: Then again, another venture to make micro loans and trust those who have nothing. Milaap is building a strong brand name thorugh sucessfull cases that have empowered poor people to move forward and realize their dreams.
We are a mission driven company changing the way people fund and impact communities in need. Every day, we connect hundreds of hardworking borrowers looking to start a small business, pay for education, install better facilities in their households, and more – with people around the world willing to lend and rally their friends and family with as little as Rs. 500 ($25)
- Koshik: One of the most famous alumni of the Tata Social Sciences Institue. Next, and extract of what do they do:
1.- To reach out to the destitute and homeless population and to understand their psychological, social, economic, cultural contexts.
2.- To engage with daily issues of survival, protection and growth thus addressing the immediate causes that may possibly lead to beggary. 3.- To work with the population in custody under Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959 and assist in their reintegration with the family and society. 4.- To mobilize the destitute and homeless population to participate in the process of rehabilitation. 5.- To engage in advocacy for inclusive policy and programs securing rightful entitlements as citizens.