Another project under GSIF talks of a prosperous India, called Towards a Prosperous India (TAP India) with a mission to end the vicious circle of poverty by investing in growth and development of children. In the poverty ridden areas around NCR, TAP India knocks the marginalized sections by establishing education centers. In an all-inclusive manner, the NPO delivers the best suit the interest of the education for comprehensive development by aligning communities, organizations and the state with the larger mission. Where the beneficiaries of the work are typically daily wage earners, construction workers, rag-pickers, and beggars, the NPO nurtures local leadership to bring ownership in the children’s growth.
Going by the approach of nurturing local leadership, the organization very much relies on acceptance of the communities towards the idea. In the preparatory exercises, the NPO not only identified the day-to-day challenges at the household level, it also derived insights on non-alignment of the guardians to educational requirements of the children.
They suitability of the program is thus defined by the extracts from deep interviews, understanding the beneficiary needs much like the ‘Fly-on-the-Wall’ , drawing conclusions collectively before setting up an educational center in the first place.
While aiming to replicate the project to a larger population, the implementation was observed to be challenged with a standardized program process for setting up of education centers. The program further realized that due to irregular data collection and compilation, there were inefficiencies in operational processes as well. As a thorough understanding of the project was made, the GSIF initiative capitalized design thinking tools with the management and some partner organization to draw the attention on the operational challenges.
Leveraging on the LUMA tools, the team was collectively able to discover solutions relevant to their localities and socio-economic conditions. While manpower seemed a well-known challenge, it became more evident when participants articulated the cause and effect relationship between manpower – data management – impact assessments of the project implemented. The brainstorming sessions together brought several recommendations that brought an alignment in the three pillars of the program, people, technology and processes.
“Looking out into the world today, it’s easy to see why brands are more important now than at any time in the past 100 years. Brands are psychology and science brought together as a promise mark as opposed to a trademark····.. Branding is fundamental. Branding is basic. Branding is essential. Building brands builds incredible value for companies and corporations.” an article published on Forbes ‘Why Brand Building Is Important?’ by Scott Goodson, Contributor.
Non-profits spend years over coming to a common grounds on the Mission and Vision statement, more so where a large number of stakeholders are involved. In the competitive world today, competing with the entrepreneurial innovations, the start-ups and increasing conscious of the educated humankind, it has become essential to ‘Not just be seen, rather be Significant’. To reiterate the authenticity time to time, remaining consistent with the donor requirements and retaining the connections at the beneficiary level, branding plays significant role. It unifies the noble thoughts with the customers (beneficiaries or stakeholders in the case) in pursuit of the larger goal.
Founded in 2006, the Etasha society’s mobilization team at present goes through the stringent task of mobilizing the community & local youth to join their training programs. Very high effort goes in to bring in a trainee at the career development center. Their primary beneficiaries are adolescents and young adults from low-income communities and slums across Delhi. The mobilization efforts are therefore geared to youth as well as their parents and, in the case of girls, other significant members of the family. At this significant juncture of the program, the management decided to revisit some of their approaches to push back the drowning walk-ins and enrolment in their centers.
With a need for systemic change in the way they approach the youth, who are mostly reached out through the mobilization team on a one-to-one basis or through their close nexus, the organization carried out an ethnographic research, beginning with detailed discussions, RTB (Roses Thorns Buds) with end-beneficiaries (walk-ins, trainees – present, alumni & drop-outs) to understand the community/center level challenges. They further carried out discussions with mobilization team at all the several development centers in Delhi (one of the prime locations). This was followed by data collection and analysis in Understanding the pain areas leading to high drop-out. What brought the organization’s stakeholders stronger with the objective was brainstorming with ETASHA Society’s key stakeholders on the ideas that can help in improving the mobilization strategy, overall visibility & reduction in early drop-outs, thereby strongly motivating the branding initiatives with not just the beneficiaries but also creating a visible state and stronger connectivity.
Add: a quote from Etasha’s team member
“Social innovation is going through a dynamic phase in India and ‘Design Thinking’ – a new and potent approach to problem solving is creating a buzz amongst innovators. Design thinking is centred on innovating through the eyes of the end user. It encourages in-the-field research that builds empathy for people, which results in deeper insights about their unmet needs. This helps avoid the common problem of enthusiastic “outsiders” promoting inappropriate solutions and ensures that solutions are rooted to the needs and desires of the community.”
The CSR journal article further puts down, Design Thinking, a particularly valuable tool for social entrepreneurs, is not a novel theory to India. In fact, according to Adobe’s 2016 Creative Pulse Survey, 98% of Indian creative professionals believe that creativity and design thinking are more important to innovation and 61% feel motivated to finding design-led solutions to challenges. With the advent of many researches and enterprises that focused on prototyping innovative methodologies over the past decade, the policy making entities felt the need too. Make in India flagship campaign became one such thought that not just aims to transform the traditional economic undertakings but encourages the young entrepreneurs to flourish in their native places rather than moving out due to low ranking of India in the ‘ease of doing business’. Quite inevitably we see how most successful models of the 21st century are dependent on being ‘Inspired’ by a new idea to resolve a problem, ‘Ideating’ around the same and creating ‘Implementable’ prototype to sustain the solution to the problem. The 3Is approach of Design Thinking isn’t famous yet, but it considered the basic and DNA to the young enterprises.
Let us see through this successful of social innovation. A social enterprise called Embrace, aims to help vulnerable infants through an affordable baby-warmer, designed for a resource constrained area with limited or no electricity.
The prototype was designed by the students of Stanford University after a trip to Nepal to meet families and doctors in order to understand the problem of high infant mortality. After being exposed to the harsh surroundings of Nepal, the students were able to empathize with the plight of the parents. They realized that simply designing low cost incubators would not solve the problem since most premature babies were born in areas far away from the hospitals and had no access to incubators. This led to a perception change and the students developed an infant warmer prototype that could be heated in a pot of boiling water and would retain the heat for a couple of hours, acting as an effective incubator. This also provided parents with the time to reach the nearest hospital. The students formed a company called Embrace and started manufacturing the product, and started selling it for just $25. Currently, Embrace runs programs in 11 countries and has saved over 50,000 premature and low birth weight infants and it all started with a design thinking process.
The reason why social development innovations seek and implement a 360 degree approach to the need, its realization and making it human centric is to have a long lasting impact from its very inception, either in a project mode, through some campaign or could be an initiative to invigorate a policy implementation. This is primarily done by creating a platform where interdependent stakeholders can perform their roles optimally and collaborate with each other more effectively. And thus, beyond just enhancing the look or functionality of a product, design thinking has gone to the social space to influence the policy making, largely driven by research, both primary and secondary, ethnographic approach strengthening the ··················