Professionals from as far afield as San Francisco to Shanghai came together last week in Delhi to join their Indian NGO counterparts at the start of the Innovation in India Programme. With diverse backgrounds, but common goals they came to build innovative business models that make a difference to some of India’s poorest communities. At the same time, all expected to learn new skills, have exciting experiences and the opportunity for personal reflection. NGOs LEPRA India, PWDS and MAMTA took part in the programme, bringing five social innovation projects and years of experience in the community. ‘With the changing funding environment, more and more we need business model innovation and creativity, ‘said Dr Sunil Mehra, Executive Director, MAMTA when signing up to the programme.
Pepal participant Dr Rath said, ‘I have been on many training courses but this is completely different... I am very excited to be here.’ Together with his counterpart, Aly Khan Jamal, he will be working over the next six months to introduce new ways of creating revenue for LEPRA’s eye hospital in Orissa. Professor Barkema skilfully took the participants through an interactive learning journey, painlessly introducing new techniques and ways of visualising problems. After three days, the NGO participants had a new vocabulary, speaking about outsourcing revenue models and value propositions. Hemang Trivedi, Ni Jing and Mr Robin working at LEPRA’s Blue Peter research centre together, have created detailed project plans and expect to see revenues of the research laboratory rise over the next few months to provide more resources for reaching out to the poor. ‘Pepal works’, says Professor Harry Barkema of the LSE as he reflected on the hard work of the India Innovation participants and the enormous progress made in the social innovation projects. We are looking forward to seeing how the projects progress and to meeting in Kerala in October.
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