Insight and pictures from day 2

(You may think this post extremely late, but wisdom has no expiry date...especially if it rhymes unintentionally).

If people were moving a little slowly on the second Mashup morning, chalk it up to sore limbs from non-stop dancing the night before. Max ZT, Mishko M'ba and Adrian D'Souza treated us to some amazing, virtuousic music that defies categorization. Their trio, House of Waters, rocked ISB's beautiful outdoor concert venue until well past midnight.

In the morning, some of us went to watch the social business plan pitches at ISB's iDiya competition.  Other participants got together for in-depth conversations with each other, with speakers, and with the team behind Mashup - UnLtd India. Experts offered one-on-one coaching sessions throughout the day; Himanshu Vyas helped people better understand finances and Aarti Madhusudan of Governance Counts did the same for governance.  During practitioner workshops, Pari Jhaveri of Third Sector Partners and Payal Gupta of Flow Consulting shed light on what it takes not only to build a top-quality team, but also to understand the human dynamics that shape teams everywhere.

Our two closing speakers, Dr Jai Prakash Narayan (the founder of Loksatta Party) and Vipin Thekkekalathil (director of Ashoka's Youth Venture India) shared their ideas about changing India.  The group shared an emotional farewell, charged and ready to make change happen back home.

Day 2's greatest hits:

  • "Fight founder's syndrome by building career ladders and plans of succession within your organisation. Bring in young talent, train them and give them leadership opportunities, incentives, and positive pressure. Then future leadership will come from within your organisation."  -Pari Jhaveri of Third Sector Partners
  • Dr Narayan of Loksatta sees seven major impediments to changing India; they include the over-centralization of public decision making and the failure of rule of law. When the government steps up to end corruption, deliver quality healthcare and education, liberalise agriculture, and build mechanisms to develop young leadership, India will be transformed.
  • Vipin T takes a different perspective - he believes that fear is the greatest impediment to change.  "When we redefine fear - realise that it's simply an illusion, our mind's way of convincing to not to do what we want to do - we can transform ourselves, our country and our world."


Social Mashup on Beyond Profit: Social Entrepreneur Roundtable

Check out this excellent interview with three of Social Mashup's senior social entrepreneurs. Dipika Prasad led the discussion - she represented Beyond Profit, our media partner, at Mashup.  

Posted by Dipika Prasad on December 6, 2010

Early on in the first day of UnLtd India’s Social Mashup, opening speaker Sachin Malhan of Inclusive Planet set the tone for the day by saying, “Always remember why you do what you do. Keep beauty as the cornerstone of your motivation.” Beyond Profit caught up with three entrepreneurs: Malhan; Solomon Prakash, country director at Ashoka India; and Gijs Spoor, Zameen Organic.

BP: Taking a cue from Sachin’s opening talk in the morning, why do you do what you do?

Solomon: I am at a place and time in the history of India, which has a very unique set of issues and challenges. I want to be part of that history. I don’t live on an island. I open my eyes, I look around and see an issue, and I want to respond. I want to do something beyond complaining. I want to solve the issue, be an actor. That’s where it all begins. All of us have an innate sense of justice. We look at something and say this is not fair. That sense is different from judging right and wrong. I feel unfairness and I want to respond. All of us search for this equilibrium – and we have to do unnatural things to kill it. People want to be relevant—even animals feel that.

BP: Do you identify with this satisfaction of taking action Sachin? Is this what the beauty of social enterprise is for you?

Sachin: I agree with Solomon. Equilibrium is a nice way of describing [it]. One thing I’d like to add is the aspect of creative energy. We have this creative energy within us that identifies a pull towards an issue and makes us say ‘I want to engage with this’. It’s a two way street.  You think here is an opportunity to discover more about this issue. It also depends on who you are and the nature of the situation. I started Inclusive Planet because I am intrigued enough by the potential of people collaborating to solve their problems. My creative energy is engaged. You would have noticed entrepreneurs move from area to area, there is no domain attachment. Like Solomon has tried so many different things

Solomon: Yes, that’s true.

BP: Gjis, you’ve moved from Norway to India to answer your need to do something. What motivates you?

Gijs: My reasons for being in this place are not very rational. I was compelled to act, and I did. In hindsight it’s easy to rationalize everything but back then I didn’t put so much thought into why I was doing this. It was almost like there was no other choice. The move to India was a natural decision. Holland has everything—what’s there to do there?  Like Solomon said, this is such an interesting time and space. I think I would have an identity crisis if I were to stop doing the work I do. When I face obstacles I tell myself it is all part of the game.

BP: Solomon are there times when you feel like you don’t know what to do next?

Solomon: Choices are a challenge I face every day. I always encounter situations where I am faced with obstacles. I think I enjoy these moments. It brings the best out of me. I find it’s a challenge for me to sit quietly.

Sachin: Sometimes you just need to take a break. As an entrepreneur you need to understand your emotions in the context of a combination of circumstances.  Sometimes you feel lost and don’t know why, it does not mean you are actually in a bad place. I find that I am bored in phases; I look at something today and think I am bored. Tomorrow may be a different case. I may be energized then. The mind is very fickle. If I persistently feel like doing something else, then I would go for it. I am not tied down. I am very excited by the possibilities of the world.

Gjis: In my experience, when you’re stuck it helps to talk to experienced people. There is lots of mentoring freely available these days. It’s not just you who will get something out of it, but quite often the other person [mentor] will also get something out of it. You give them the once in a lifetime opportunity to help you.

Solomon: I think not knowing what to do is a good place to be. Boredom is also very useful. Do you ever see buffaloes bored? Only human beings can feel boredom. The buffalo chewing cud is either content or so bored that it does not think there’s anything else to life. But I think going to the depth of boredom is very important. It somehow tells you there is nothing more happening. It’s giving you the sign to change things. Sometimes talking to experienced people can only mislead you. It’s better to talk to people to empty yourself out. Talk to someone who will not judge you; in those conversations you will sometimes find the answers you are looking for. I think you should ask for advice only on mundane things—like legal matters—don’t get creative on that! When you are stuck creatively, and it feels like the whole world is caving in, sometimes it’s best to just take a break like Sachin said.


Day 1 Recap

What did we learn today?

  • "Always remember why you do what you do - social entrepreneurship is channeling creative energy beautifully. Write beauty into your organisation's DNA and achieve real impact." - Sachin Malhan, Inclusive Planet
  • The social entrepreneurship world fetishizes the individual entrepreneur, new ideas, attribution, and evaluation for the sake of evaluation. If unchecked, these fetishes can hinder actual change. - Sunil Abraham, Centre for Internet & Society
  • "In social entrepreneurship, doing the wrong thing is not a problem.  Doing that same wrong thing again and again is a problem."  Solomon Prakash, Ashoka India
  • "While working with the poor, willingness to pay does not equal money on the table. But anything given free of cost is not valued." -Mukteshwari Bosco, Healing Fields Foundation
  • On rescuing victims of trafficking and forced prostitution: "I see so much evil, its tough to believe there is any good. But it is key to believe in the goodness of people."- Sunitha Krishnan, Prajwala
  • "Too often, traditional monitoring and evaluation is like an autopsy - late, intrusive, and inconclusive.  Metrics should be like taking a pulse - a light touch that's frequently taken. ID your drivers of success, devise key metrics, create reporting templates, schedule regular reviews."  - Rob Katz, Acumen Fund

The day was packed with inspiration, small group learning, one-on-one expert coaching, and powerful connection. We just wrapped it all with an incredible outdoor concert with Max ZT's trio House of Waters, featuring Mishko M'Ba on bass and Adrian D'Souza on drums. When virtuosos rock, it's a powerful thing.

This is truly an amazing group of people. Looking forward to kicking it all off again in just a matter of hours.

Lift off! Live updates on twitter and facebook

Social Mashup has hit the ground running. We've heard mind-expanding insight from high-imapct social entrepreneurs, challenged the socent fetishes that may actually hinder change, and started seeding connections that may lead to collaboration.  Soon we'll have lunch.

We'll recap the first day later tonight on this blog. Before that, be sure to follow us on and for live updates and insight. Join the conversation online!


Social Mashup participants invited to ISB's Leadership Summit on 4th Dec

Hosting an event at one of Asia's premier business schools has its perks.  We're thrilled to announce all Social Mashup participants are invited to attend the ISB Leadership Summit!  The Summit will take place on the 4th December - the day after Mashup wraps.  Here's the background, courtesy of ISB:

As the global economy continues to recover, emerging and developed nations will need to collaborate to create a new paradigm of leadership, where business’s ability to generate sustainable profits will co-exist with government’s responsibility to ensure inclusive growth. Global leaders will need to employ innovative solutions that are as practical as they are progressive.

The ISB Leadership Summit will explore how we can lead through innovation by presenting a key-note address and a series of panel discussions from eminent thought leaders across industry and government. 


The Summit will serve as an incredible complement to the lessons, inspiration, and connections of Social Mashup.  Register today for Mashup and make sure you book an extra night at your hotel! 

Save the date

Join us to meet India’s most passionate, innovative, and curious start-up social entrepreneurs for two groundbreaking days of conversations, connections and inspiration.

December 2 - 3, 2010 | Indian School of Business, Hyderabad

Who’s invited? Start-up social entrepreneurs, senior social entrepreneurs, funders/investors and anyone else interested in early stage social entrepreneurship

What will you get? You’ll have direct access to resources that meet your immediate and long-term needs.  You might meet your mentor or mentee, your investor or investee, and your CEO or team member.  And did we mention that we'll have a selection of artists and musicians in residence, all set to spark your creativity?  Believe us, you're in for a dynamic, inspiring, affordable and fun two days that truly captures the spirit of a start-up!

What will you not get? Panels that seem to be designed for the panelists, talks that fail to inspire and networking that begins and ends with an exchange of business cards