Leaders across domains talk about how they have thought about Social Impact and where the seeds of giving were sown. They discuss their approach to philanthropy and the underlying principles they have used to get to what they are doing now.
Vijay talks about the notion of “paying it forward” and how that attitude towards life got shaped in his early childhood given the influence of his family. He talks about how some of the things that his parents and relatives did when he was young have had a profound influence on how he goes about thinking about giving back to the wider society. He talks about a specific anecdote where he learnt a lesson about giving from his uncle.
In this nugget, Viren describes the OGQ model – what they do, the sports they are involved with and the athletes that they are working with. Their youngest athlete is 8 years old and they have committed to working with that athlete for the next 8-12 years to win an Olympic Gold medal. In a world that is running faster and faster and 1 year plans are hard to execute, it was refreshing to hear an organization that describes their 2020 plan as a short-term plan.
Want to make a difference in society? A lot of us want to positively impact the world around us. But often times, this intention fades into the background or does not come to fruition. Enter Social Venture Partners- a platform for people like you who want to be agents of change. Hear Ravi talk about their ‘million jobs mission’ and the unique challenges faced by leaders in the social sector.
Nandan talks about how he organizes his time currently and more importantly, the design principle behind how he prioritizes his time. He also talks about his journey through Infosys and Aadhaar to the current portfolio of initiatives that includes India Stack evangelization, EkStep, Philanthropy and investing in & mentoring select start-ups.
Pramath talks about the portfolio of initiatives that he has today. More importantly, he talks about the underlying principle behind how he has assembled this portfolio together. He gives us a peek into how he thinks about success using internal and external metrics.
Vedika talks about the criticality of solving for water and sanitation at the bottom of the pyramid. She talks about how Water.org is using a multi-pronged approach to tackle this problem. She discusses how access to water is a mission-critical need for all individuals at the bottom of the pyramid to lead a productive life with dignity.
"How do I bring greater meaning in my life" is a question that people start grappling with as they approach mid-life and beyond. However, people struggle with making this happen. Vedika discusses her transition from heading Credit Suisse in India to Water.Org
Vinita talks about how the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) works with various stakeholders across the world to deliver outcomes to improve nutrition. She also talks about how Corporate Social Responsibility cannot be treated as a separate function but should be embedded in whatever a company does.
Meher talks about her approach towards CSR and Philanthropy and how she thinks about “chunking” rather than “sprinkling” (a phrase Adam Grant uses in his book Give and Take). She also talks about the criticality of working with the Government to drive Scale.
KV Sridhar (Pops) talks about how his metrics of success have slowly shifted from business outcomes (brand performance, ad recall) towards the impact he makes on humanity. He talks about the responsibility the advertising industry has in addressing and influencing the biases (conscious and unconscious) that exist in the society today. He specifically refers to the unconscious biases towards girls and women and what he did to sensitize the ecosystem.
Amit talks about how he thought about the transition from the world of Investment Banking to Private Equity. He talks about taking stock of life after reaching the heights of the Investment Banking profession and also seeking more time to devote to some of the other elements in his life such as Social Impact.
Amit currently operates on a 50% model where he spends 2.5 days at Bain Capital and 2.5 days on Social Impact, Boards and other matters. He talks about how he and his wife gradually started spending more and more time on the Social sector and how he structured this arrangement when the last fund was being raised.
Amit talks about how he and his wife Archana have been thoughtful about how they would spend their time and money towards Philanthropy. He talks about how they picked Water, Education and Health as three areas he would go after. He also discusses how his intervention is a blend of several activities including writing cheques towards break-out NGOs, investing in Leadership Capacity Building and Governing through the Board.
Mouli talks about the context behind writing the book which is a combination of him finding time across multiple flights to Singapore to pen down his thoughts given a Regional role and a desire to take a break and take stock of life. He also discusses how he wanted to contribute to social impact in a way that leverages his skills rather than do on-ground field work where he may not have any distinctive value to add.
Roopa talks about the flexible capital model at Omidyar Network (ON) and discusses how they do a combination of investing in tech enabled start-ups driving social impact and grants to organizations to impact a sector. She also discusses the unique characteristics of the next half billion in India that has access to the mobile phone and will come online in the next 5 years and how this presents a unique opportunity for these consumers and for businesses targeting them.
Neera talks about her transitions to Morgan Stanley, Harvard Business School, UBS and then to Co-founding Dasra with her spouse – Deval Sanghavi. She talks about the mindset with which she started thinking about her HBS degree. She talks about moving from seeing it as an asset you could market to something she could leverage and extend to drive impact in the Social Impact world.
Neera talks about how Dasra has evolved into an organization that works in three broad areas (Research, Building Organizations and Giving Strategically). She also talks about the way Dasra has made choices as it has grown as an organization and how it plans to measure impact and success as it grows into the future.
Neera talks about some of the common challenges that entrepreneurs in the Social Impact space face. She talks about founders often being “too mission driven” and thereby coming in the way of systems and processes that could build the organization sustainably. She also talks about the Founders not spending enough time on what they are distinctive in leading to spreading themselves across too many areas.
Neera talks about the distinction between Needs and Wants as people think about a career in Social Impact as against the Corporate world (although the lines between the two are being blurred). She also discusses some of the real challenges when people with a long successful tenure in the Corporate world transition to the Social Impact world. She shares her perspectives on how could adapt well into the new context.
Neera talks about some of the unique characteristics of the distinctive leaders that have made a lasting contribution in the Social Impact space. She talks about a combination of a desire for large-scale impact coupled with empathy for the consumer whose needs and wants they want to address.
Deepa talks about Wheeling Happiness Foundation, an initiative she and her daughter have started. She talks about how they plan to bring hope to the life of people and become a medium towards creating an inclusive and accessible (physically, emotionally, mentally) India.
Tarun talks about variations in how companies and entrepreneurs think about returning capital to the shareholders and talks about the examples of BFIL (earlier SKS Microfinance) and Banco Compartamos to illustrate how you could have very different approaches but still end up building a successful enterprise over the long run.
Stew talks about the building blocks of his Total Leadership Model that he has developed at the Wharton Work Life Integration Project. Of the four domains (Self, Work, Home and Community), he expands on what he means by Self and Community as those two are often the least understood by leaders around the world.
Rajat speaks about how he plans to spend time in the coming years. He talks about how he plans to resume his journey of contributing to philanthropic causes and work on some of the intractable issues that the society faces.
Rajat speaks about some of the choices he is proud to have made in his journey. He also reflects on choices that he wonders if he could have made differently, especially while transitioning into the next phase of his life after McKinsey.
Venkat speaks about how he considered different possibilities for a career in “making a difference”. He speaks about briefly toying with the idea of IAS as a career option. He speaks about his summer internship with Khadi and Village Industries commission and describes the placement process which eventually leads him to accept a job at Times of India. He also speaks about his early years in Times of India and at Sony.
Venkat speaks about his observations around people’s journey in Philanthropy. He speaks about how people initially look for instant gratification but over time realize the complexity involved and slowly start solving for systemic issues rather than surface level problems. He also speaks about the fact that the journey is Philanthropy is a lot more about what it does to the giver than the receiver.
Venkat speaks about how individuals should think about giving money versus giving time to the Not for profit sector. He says that all money and no time may not move the needle given the complexities involved and might not be a fulfilling experience. He goes on to say that all time and no money might not get you the attention of the NGOs that actually need your help. He speaks about the sweet spot of money and time that each one of us has to find. He also offers some powerful metaphors around how we should think about ROI of time and money invested in the social impact space versus in the capital world.
Venkat speaks about the link between our relationship with money and our overall happiness and fulfilment. He speaks about the link between the process of wealth creation and the formation of our attitudes towards money. He speaks about how the distinction between our needs and wants can provide greater degrees of freedom and open up newer possibilities for us and can liberate us from the “money trap”. He also speaks about LivingMyPromise, a movement where several people have chosen to give 50% of their wealth away.
Venkat shares his perspectives around how we can raise kids with a concern for the world around. She shares some thoughts on how we can engage with the child when he/she asks us uncomfortable questions. He also illustrates the criticality of reflection in slowly building compassion in the child.
Venkat speaks about how we can approach our journey in Giving as a marathon and not as a sprint. He speaks about how we need to take baby steps in a certain direction, reflect on our experience, make course corrections and then move forward rather than taking a sudden plunge into a new domain. Such an approach could lead to disillusionment.
Venkat speaks about some of the givers that have inspired him. He speaks about mythological characters like Karna, Mahabali and business men like Chuck Feeney and Andrew Carnegie who have set the bar really high for giving. He also speaks about how we can derive inspiration from Indian leaders like Gandhiji, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya or Vinobha Bhave in the way they approached Giving. He also speaks about his perspectives on how we should think about keeping it private versus doing it in a visible way. He urges us to keep our WHY front and central as we think about this.
Ashish speaks about the notion of controlled ambition which enabled him to stay detached from the material outcomes and also gave him the conviction to step away from the corporate world despite his accomplishments. He speaks about expenses growing at a much slower clip than his income that enabled him to take the step to move towards philanthropy.
Ashish speaks about the challenges involved in leading in the Social Impact sector. He speaks about why the production function in this space is much more complicated and that coupled with not having adequate control over key levers of change makes it much harder to drive outcomes. He also speaks about the nuances involved in attracting and motivating talent in this space as they respond to different cues. He then goes on to discuss what he had to learn and unlearn as he transitioned from the Corporate Management world to the Development Management world.
Measurement of metrics in a Social Impact context can be complex. This is unlike the corporate world where there are established P&L and Balance Sheet metrics that can be used to measure progress. Ashish speaks about how he thinks about metrics when it comes to evaluation of progress with Ashoka University or Central Square Foundation.
Ashish speaks about how we all could spend some part of our life involving ourselves with the Social Sector. He specifically speaks about Indian Leaders for the Social Sector (ILSS) run by Anu Prasad that conducts a 9 day boot camp for corporate leaders who want to consider transitioning to the Social Impact world.
Ramesh speaks about how he ended up getting involved with Education. He speaks about how his meeting with Shaheen Mistri galvanized his wife Charuta and him to involve themselves with Akanksha Foundation, Teach For India and Peepul. He urges us to pick a topic that we are passionate about and stick with it for a long period of time to make a dent.
Harish speaks about the three different levels at which the Tata Group tries to make a difference to the communities it operates in. One is at the level of the Tata Trusts and the organizations it supports. Second is at the level of each company in the Tata Group and the CSR initiatives within each company. The third is through the various brands (such as Tanishq and Tata Tea) and the messages they carry when they reach out to the consumers.
Lloyd throws some light on a question that a lot of leaders grapple with – What should be my role in the Social Sector?He speaks about how we should think about our contribution towards Social Impact as we move from Success to Significance.