February 2010

Engaging the Bottom of the Pyramid: IT Industry Paves the Way

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www.nasscomfoundation.org

India is today one of the six fastest growing economies of the world. The Indian economy has transformed into a vibrant, rapidly growing consumer market, comprising over 300 million strong middle class with increasing purchasing power. However, despite this the majority of our society is unable to avail of these opportunities. With half a billion people below the poverty line in India alone and over 4 billion worldwide, it is a pressing humanitarian and business imperative to find solutions for this global concern. But why a business concern? Because businesses do not exist in ivory towers and need to respond to the ecosystem in which they exist. These issues affect, in varying degrees, the employees, clients, vendors, contractual employees, and the community around a business, and indeed even its own day to day functioning.

NASSCOM Foundation (NF), on behalf of the IT industry, aims to create a a platform for the IT industry in India to come together with civil society to respond to and work towards serving the needs of underprivileged communities in India. NF is essentially an enabler and a conduit to channelize the resources of the IT industry for nation building. Towards this end, in February 2010, NF has three important events – NASSCOM Foundation Social Innovation Honors 2010 (9th February 2010), Global CSR Conclave (11th  February 2010) and two social media workshops for NGOs and CSR practitioners  (12th & 13th February 2010).

The NASSCOM Social Innovation Honours (NSIH) recognize excellence and encourage innovation in social development initiatives. The annual Honors aim, instituted in 2008-09, showcase projects that demonstrate best practices through exemplary use of ICT in areas of social transformation. This Honor is a celebration of innovations that bring about social change and development through the application of cutting-edge technology.

“In creating the platform for Social Innovation Honors, NF aims to identify projects where innovation could be in the form of both a process and a result. In looking at the process, NF aims to understand systems based on transfer and sharing of knowledge across the public, private, and nonprofi t sectors. For NF, a social innovation can be not only a product, a process, or a technology.”

In creating the platform for Social Innovation Honors, NF aims to identify projects where innovation could be in the form of both a process and a result. In looking at the process, NF aims to understand systems based on transfer and sharing of knowledge across the public, private, and nonprofi t sectors. For NF, a social innovation can be not only a product, a process, or a technology, but also a principle, an idea, a piece of legislation, a social movement, an intervention, or some combination the above. NF endeavors to recognize
organizations that foster these social innovations. We hope this Honor inspires creativity and imagination to bring positive social transformations for ICT in development.

There are fi ve categories in the NSIH and these are:

1. Not For Profi t organization: ICT innovation for the community (nonprofi t)
2. For profi t organization:
a. ICT led business model innovation (for profi t)
b. ICT innovation for the community (CSR/ non-profi t)
3. Government: ICT led innovation
4. Multi Stakeholder Partnerships: A project which was initiated by 3 or
more stakeholders with the objective of scaling up the idea/ business plan/ project
5. Environmental projects using IT: A program/ project initiated by a registered Indian company which has had a direct positive impact on the climate and/ or conservation of natural resources

The initial screening was done by our initial jury comprising Vickram Crishna – Promoter, Radiophony; Pravin Patkar – Director, Prerana and Raja Shekhar Reddy – Founder Director & COO, InnovSource). Ernst and Young Private Limited are our Process Advisors. The Final Jury comprised Jerry Rao, Narayanan Murthy, Rama Bijapurkar, Saurabh Srivastava and T N Ninan. The results will be declared at the NASSCOM India Leadership Forum 2010 in Mumbai.

“Engaging the Bottom of the Pyramid” (BoP) is the central theme of the Global Corporate Social Responsibility Conclave at the NASSCOM India Leadership Forum 2010 in Mumbai. The word ‘engaging’ refers to not just business opportunities but also technology and human resources and how these can be customised for the poorest of the poor. Information technology, in particular, has a key role to play in this segment especially in healthcare, fi nancial services, education and public services.

However, reaching out to the BoP has to be done with caution as some marketing choices encourage the poor to consume products that may have negative side effects. Thus the poor are included in the market, but in an undesirable way. It is thus important to educate and empower the BoP customer to make informed choices while buying and also enable her / him to become a producer, not just a passive consumer.

To be held on the 11th of February at Hotel Grand Hyatt, the Global CSR Conclave will cover diverse topics such as the business imperative of reaching the BoP to technology and media for non-profi ts to corporate volunteerism. Important Speakers at the Global CSR Conclave 2010 will be leading industry and civil society fi gures such as Beth Kanter, a Social Media Proponent and noted blogger from the United States, Ganesh Ayyer – MphasiS, Gaurav Mishra – 2020 Social, Jerry Rao – NASSCOM Foundation, Pravin Patkar – Prerana, Seemantini Khot – Suzlon Foundation, Som Mittal – NASSCOM and Vijay Talwar- William J Clinton Foundation.

Social media is transforming how NGOs do their work and their relationships with audiences. Nonprofi ts that have embraced social media are seeing results. Strategic use of social media is actually helping them to measurably reach new people and bringing added value to mission driven work. Social media is propelling nonprofi t goals to build a movement around a core advocacy issue, improve customer service or programs, reach new donors, or spread awareness of a nonprofi t brand around the world.

NASSCOM Foundation therefore felt the need to organize two social media workshops for NGOs and CSR practitioners in Mumbai on 12th and 13th February. These workshops will addres show to think strategically about social media for external communications so your organization can maximize its time and resources. Participants will learn how to create a social media strategy map that integrates with their overall communications plan and Internet strategy as well as address organizational culture issues that often arise when a new technology is introduced. It will also provide an opportunity to learn how to select tools and explore best practices.

NF has invited Beth Kanter, one of the most renowned names in social media use for non-profi ts in the West, to run these two workshops in Mumbai. Beth isthe author of Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofi ts Can Use Social Media (http://beth.typepad.com), one of the longest running and most popular blogs for nonprofi ts and co-author of the fortcoming book, The Networked Nonprofi t, to be published by J. Wiley in 2010. She curated NTEN’s “We Are Media: Nonprofi t Social Media Starter Kit,” an online community of people from nonprofi ts who are interested in learning and teaching about how social media strategies and tools can enable nonprofi t organizations to create, compile, and distribute their stories and change the world. In 2009, she was named by Fast
Company Magazine as one of the most infl uential women in technology and one of Business Week’s “Voices of Innovation for Social Media.” She is the 2009 Visiting Scholar for Social Media and Nonprofi ts for the Packard Foundation. \\

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