Business and the Social Sector

My first experience of using business principles beyond the traditional business world was my interaction with Rajesh Jain and Atanu Dey at Deeshaa Ventures. From that day on I have been on a quest to understand and use these principles in areas beyond business or what you can call beyond profits.

Before I go ahead I want to clarify that I see the role of business to concentrate on maximising shareholder value and profits as a legitimate exercise. This does not mean business can break rules; cheat; degrade the environment; etc. However, business has the main goal of using economic principles to maximise utility for the customer and make money in the bargain if it can.

There are many issues in the world that cannot be solved by business. All of them can however, use business principles, practices and frameworks to get their work done. Non another than the father of Management; Peter Drucker wrote a lot about this in his many books and articles the highlight being the book Managing the Not for Profit Organisation. His work is continued through the Leader to Leader Institute.

My journey as I understand it now has taken me from the economic development of rural India to the environmental sustainability field. Now, I am exploring this in the families welfare area and looking at the not for profit sector. As I look back I see a common theme. It all started with the notion of spending time on Mortgage backed securities for the Goldman Sachs of the world or do something else. It was like the question Steve Jobs asked John Scully to get him to join the relatively young Apple Corporation in the ’80s – Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life or do you want to change the world.

Through constraints and opportunities my journey makes a lot of sense to me in hindsight. Now that I am in the social sector and doing just what I thought in 2003 it makes a lot of sense to me as to what and where I should take my ideas and skills in the future.

This blog will concentrate on this goal from now on.

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