Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sustaining a Social Initiative

Last week I attended a workshop organized by International Business Leaders Forum and DFID (UK) on measuring impact of Inclusive Business Models. Here are some key learning points/take-aways for me:
1. Sustainability of social initiatives is ensured when we look at inclusivity from both ends -- for example, a model that focuses on employability of the poor and underprivileged youth - works better if we can include the middle class youth and may be even the rich as well. I had not really thought like this -- was always mentally excluding the better off people from the initiative. It brings a different set of challenges to the table - but ones that are more addressable. This is inclusivity the other way round.
2. Partnerships should be true to the word - sharing of both risks and gains. This changes the mind-set from the customer-supplier relationships that we were getting into for all 'partnerships' - of course the challenge is (a) having us accept sharing the gains and (b) having the partner accept the risks. Will need to explore the implementation challenges more.
3. Approach solutions from a sector perspective rather than a general perspective. This is not something new for most vocational training organizations. However, I feel most training only focuses on getting the people started in the sector as compared to supporting building a career in the sector. There are long-term sustainability benefits that come from this approach.


  1. Some thoughts on the key learning points:

    1) The Right to Education should be a good positive step for this one? Kids from all backgrounds in one class learning conciously and subconciously

    2) completely agree
    3) I assumed that this was done already! In some other countries this is definitely the case.

  2. 1. Yes RTE is looking at something like this. The challenge is driving learning for a heterogenous class - heterogenous in all respects.
    3. Yes, people do it but mostly in two separate sections. The starting point is one kind of training whereas the higher level - career building is in management institutes and other such. I am realizing the value of one consistent institute that carries you from beginning to top level for a sector. Something like this would need to be deeply engaged with Industry (something beyond the hospital-medical college approach that NIIT started with).

  3. In Australia, Vocational Education and Training is quite a significant network with a network of teachers, trainers, career advisors, program coordinators, administrative and support personnel committed to vocational learning and youth transition.

    It is a membership based association and draws its members from all States and Territories and teaching, training, Local Community Partnerships and career advisory sectors (including Government, Independent and Catholic Schools and private industry). It develops links with peak bodies including education and training bodies, universities and government departments and industry groups.
    This was funded by the government until 10 yrs ago but now works as an Independent body. Having said this there are a few more networks like this which have come up in the last few years.