Spark the Rise 2012 – ‘Be the Spark’ Meet-Up, Bengaluru 8th September 2012

Posted By: Rise Team|Dated: September 15, 2012

For the second instalment of the three-part ‘Be the Spark’ Meet-ups, we concluded yet another invigorating and stimulating discussion at Bengaluru last Saturday, 08 September 2012.

The discussion was kick-started by a keynote from Dr. Ashwin Naik, Co-founder & CEO of Vaatsalya, addressing the question, ‘How do we harness the power of the collective to create an ecosystem rather than focus on the individual?’

The keynote set the tone for the afternoon and was followed by a panel discussing ‘How to harness the power of collective and provide credit facilities to social entrepreneurs’. Moderated by Gautam John of Pratham Books and the Akshara Foundation, the panel consisted of:

After the panel, the floor was given to the audience to ask questions, which led to some interesting conversations. Here are some of key takeaways from the event:

Collaboration is key – The single biggest obstacle in the way of collaboration is ego. Each person/organisation thinks that they know best, and thus hesitate to collaborate. But as Dr. Ashwin Naik mentioned, large-scale change can only be brought about through collaboration.

Involve the community – Each of the panelists vehemently expressed the need to foster ownership within the community. Usha Rajagopalan described how she made the people stakeholders in the Puttenahalli Lake project and asked them to put in their time, money and effort to make a difference. It is important to make the cause the people’s cause by celebrating and recognizing those who form a part of the movement and holding those responsible accountable. In addition, Parvathi Menon also stressed the importance of cohesive collaboration within the community; community-driven solutions are more meaningful than solutions from outside.

Don’t be afraid of sharing your ideas – Don’t keep your ideas to yourself. Go out in the field, test the idea, build a pilot and see how far it goes. As Ram NK put it, “Closet ideas are no good to anyone.”

Validate your model – Take early-stage models of social entrepreneurship, and help entrepreneurs validate them in a sustainable business-like manner. Validating a model allows for a much larger community to access and benefit from ideas and fosters the creation of an eco-system.

10% of your community is most vocal – This 10% is very active, and wants to see business plans and know how the project is progressing. “The challenge lies in being able to satisfy the community members across the spectrum”, as articulated by Anoj Vishwanathan. Providing updates that cater to this 10% without overwhelming the remaining 90% with too much data is crucial.

Trust is vital – Trust is vital for an entrepreneur, and can only be built with clarity. The person who has a clear understanding of the gaps in the environment and knows how to fill those gaps is able to foster belief and confidence in the community.

Mismatch of values is the main challenge to collaboration – Businesses collaborate when it makes sense for them to work together. A situation where the values and expectations of two collaborators are not aligned with one another’s is bound to end in failure. An environment that encourages transparency and clear communication of objectives is absolutely essential.

We are meeting some of the leading social entrepreneurs, change-makers and change-agents in Mumbai on 15th September to discuss the following question: ‘How do we create an environment that encourages people to become entrepreneurs, especially recent college graduates?’

Follow @Mahindrarise on Twitter and stay tuned for updates and more exciting discussions around innovation in India.

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  • Srinivas Sai

    am sorry to ask but can i know what is this spark the rise

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