Creating Opportunities in the Development Sector

May 08, 2019 in Social Impact
Posted By : Srinivas Uppaluri


Shiv Kumar is a champion Social Entrepreneur, Founder Director of the Catalyst Group with a very impressive track record of delivering high impact to Social Development. Shiv once shared with me that he finds the concepts of ‘Switch’ very relevant to the challenges he is addressing in the Development Sector. I then had a conversation with Shiv to understand how he is leveraging the concepts and will be sharing them in a series.

In the first video of the series we discussed the relevance and leverage of ‘The Concept of Creating Opportunities’ in regard to the Development Sector.

In recent times, I have met several very promising start-ups with solutions for health care, fleet management, banks and infrastructure management. The products they have developed are very impressive and have potential to deliver high value to their clients. While reviewing their go-to market and implementation experiences, I realised that they are limiting their approaches to technical dimension only  and not addressing the rest of the changes required  including changes in processes, people skills, organization structure  to put their product to use. This is indeed limiting their ability to deliver the full potential of their products, and thereby limiting their influence on the customer outcomes.

In the true spirit of ‘Switch’, Customer Centricity has always been at the heart of Shiv’s approach to work in the Development Sector. Shiv shares an instance of how he questioned the scope of a project and its relevance to the objectives of the customer. He then guided the customer to redefine scope in line with the objectives. In this process he lost the opportunity of taking up a large engagement, but gained the trust and goodwill of the customer and grew the relationship of being a confidant and a sounding board.

Creating opportunities is a proactive approach, and requires taking ownership of customer outcomes. Shiv shares how he has taken the ownership of increasing the returns of a farmer, without diluting the returns of others. Shiv shares how they addressed improving farmer returns by 3 times by understanding the complete set of services the farmer needs, managing the delivery of the services in an integrated way and ensuring the timing and sequence is correct. This is a substantial shift from providing standalone inputs or standalone interventions

I believe many start-ups can learn from Shiv’s approach in Development Sector, taking ownership of the outcomes, integrating all the changes required to ensure their product is effectively leveraged and helping clients to realise their product/ service full potential.

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