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.