Catalysing Social Change

Building “scalable” social enterprises!

By definition, a social enterprise is a means to achieve sustainability through earned income. However, it is important to note the financial objectives differ among organisation. Social enterprises do not need to be profitable to be worthwhile. They can improve efficiency and effectiveness of an organisation by : – reducing the need for donated funds – providing a more reliable diversified funding base; or – enhancing the quality of programmes by increasing market discipline So…

music lessons

An early example of "glocalisation"

I have been singing since the age of 4, and have trained in Carnatic classical vocal music for over 15 years. But it wasn’t until this evening in Chennai when I begun to think about the how the violin, an instrument of European descent, has transformed itself into being a mainstay in orthodox Carnatic classical music over the years!! Come to think of it, it is not the first and has not been the last…

music lessons

Innocence in music- revisited…

I was in Chennai a few days back. After a rather hectic day at work (and some very stressful meetings), it seemed divine to be at a nice carnatic music concert in a temple close to where I was staying. It was a 2-hr concert by Soumya, a pretty famous “star performer” in carnatic music circles. While I had heard her before, what I wasn’t prepared for was the ambience created by the powerful voice,…

life in general

A honk could mean anything

Over the past few days, I have been having major arguments with a friend (based in the US) on the telephone. Invariably, I am in my car when he calls, and irrespective of what the conversation is at that point in time, it veers to the topic of the Great Indian Honk!! Now, anyone who has driven on Indian roads would vouch for the fact that there is this pleasant background noise caused by constant…

strategy & communications 2.5

billions of entrepreneurs…

When I first heard my friend Tarun Khanna talk about his new book “Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India are Reshaping Their Futures and Yours” my first reaction was- Oh! No…not another one on this subject that has been done to death by anyone who considers himself (or herself) even marginally qualified. But since curiosity got better of me, I read the book- and I am glad I did. For the book was refreshingly…

life in general

surviving the facile life…

This weekend raised a lot of questions in my head and made me extremely conscious of something we take for granted- that life is really an uncompromising journey, where the human mind seeks out and revels in adversity. The reason for this soul searching was the two hours (or a little more!) I spent watching “Into the Wild”- a movie where there is plenty of sorrow, and unbelievable joy- all at the same time. It…

travel

two hours in zurich

One equates Switzerland with precision, efficiency and beauty. When I landed in Zurich, that was what I was welcomed with. But what I wasn’t prepared for was the juxtaposed medieval past right in the heart of the financial capital. It was drizzling mildly when I came out of the airport, and was told by my Swiss friend who received me, that it has been pouring the night before with winds at speeds that could blow…

travel

of skiing and Klosters…

One of the learnings I had during my recent visit to Davos is that if people have plans to visit Davos during the World Economic Forum, they need to be of one of these two kinds- be on the Forum’s special invitee list, or be a master organizer, of the kind who plans months in advance- in order to ensure that they get a decent place to stay which is within commuting distance from the…

strategy & communications 2.5

Climate change in Davos- literally and figuratively!

I spent a good part of the week of 21st in the cool climes of Switzerland. Chilled-to-the-bone might be a more appropriate phrase, but the overheated interiors prevent me from using it!! I was attending the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos. One of the first things that people (read the richest, most powerful, most learned and best placed human beings on the planet!) ask you when they meet you in Davos is “is…

life in general

Dialogue in the Dark

It was about 4:30 am when I woke up this morning. It was pitch dark I groped around for the lamp switch to see the time and not finding it in the hotel room in the first 30 seconds was enough to frustrate me. It is not that I am uncomfortable in the dark. But those few moments were enough to make me realise how helpless one feels when one has a sense of loss of…