Chayan Consultants Pvt. Ltd.

Social Innovation And Research School

An Essential Evil to have more number and better quality of social entrepreneurs in India:
The Indian scene is full of possibilities and challenges. The country possesses quite good human resources, and has made good progress in achieving scientific and technological capabilities. The business management education is also quite good in India. After liberalization of economy in early nineties, there is significant growth in Indian economy.

Despite these positive factors, the social and environmental problems are increasing year after year. Another limitation in India is general dearth of multidisciplinary thinking on these problems. It is believe that India needs extensive application of multidisciplinary approaches and entrepreneurial energy in social and environmental sectors.

The challenge is: How to have more number and better quality of social entrepreneurs in the country?

We Chayan has therefore ventured into social education for the passionate management students who are the potential future leaders of our country and who wishes to rediscover themselves in the emerging social sector through Social Innovation and Research School (SIRS), a six month weekend course on social innovation.

 

We feel that social entrepreneurship, although an old field of practice is a new and emerging field of systematic knowledge and learning and the growth in social entrepreneurship should not be left to chance. As in his famous book “Innovation and Entrepreneurship”, Peter Drucker writes: “…. everyone who can face up to decision making can learn to be an entrepreneur and behave entrepreneurially. Entrepreneurship, then, is behavior rather than personality trait. And its foundation lies in concept and theory rather than in intuition”. Even if we concede some role for personality factors (as some other experts have suggested), a large number of selected people (after initial screening) can be trained to be entrepreneurs. Extending this logic further, Social Innovation and Research School (SIRS) aims most people who can combine a spirit of social service and entrepreneurial behavior by learning and developing themselves as social entrepreneurs.

It is important that this field of practice develops as a knowledge- based practice, rather than just a random occurrence based on ‘hits or miss’ approaches and intuition. Furthermore, when social entrepreneurial education and training is spreading in other countries (e.g., USA and UK), there is growing need to promote such education in India also. Social entrepreneurship can draw and adapt much of its knowledge from the fields of business entrepreneurship, and social and environmental sciences. The topics of  particular importance are: business and project planning, strategy formulation involving multiple criteria (e.g., balanced score boards), project and venture management,  social sector specific marketing, triple bottom line enterprises, hybrid enterprises, blended value, community development, impact evaluation etc. Since about 70% population in India is rural based (unlike in USA and UK), social entrepreneurship here should have a strong rural orientation.

In UK, the Blair Government is taking initiative in promoting social businesses in a big way. Since the Government is a prominent player in social sector in India also, India can learn several lessons from the experience in U.K. By their very orientation of thinking and temperament, the accomplished social entrepreneurs are likely to be independent-minded, self-driven, and goal focused persons who may not bother much about documenting their experiences, approaches, methods and strategies. Yet, this is what we need for developing this as knowledge based practice, so that the quality of practice improves and more people are able to practice it successfully. Keeping this in view, networking of interested people in this field is urgently needed.

The social entrepreneurship, as a special type of leadership, can flourish here only if its value is recognized by a significant section of Indian society, especially the policy makers, media and the other important players. If this happens, it can create new waves of opportunities, strategies, approaches, and impacts in the direction of sustainable development.