In the past month, we have spent time framing our role as enablers of ‘scalable learning’. Introduced by two Johns (Hagel III and Seeley Brown) as a driver of innovative organisations, scalable learning becomes onerous when applied to a system, the mass entrepreneurship ecosystem in this case. Through interactions with other Alliance-style organisations and a deep dive into the literature on network-learning, we have come to a collection of actions for ourselves. These include:
1. Framing consensus problem statements and success: a necessary condition to scalable learning is the answer to the question ‘to what end are we learning?’ and our commitment to each of our breakthroughs and targets groups will identify clear and consensus-driven problem statements with measures for success. This, we hope, will drive collective ownership of the problem and incentivise learning. For example, with Financial Linkages, an emerging problem statement for us is ‘how can we reduce the default risk and opex of serving solo/micro-entrepreneurs?’. This came through discussions with FinTech platforms and mainstream banks on why this group continues to remain underserved.
“If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it,” Albert Einstein
2. ‘Making replication great again’: we want to rapidly identify what works and direct greater financial, and execution capacity to local adaptation. To put our money where our mouth is we will set up four ‘place-based’ taskforces, across four different geographical/sector contexts, to encourage Alliance members to trial and scale models that have delivered rich dividends for both them and the local entrepreneurship community. For example, we are initiating conversations with hospitality aggregators to see how their model can stimulate tourism in the Northeast
“Half of all small business start-ups fail within 5 years – the comparable rate for franchise units is half that,” Jeffrey Bradach, Co-founder of Bridgespan
3. Asking you for ‘what next?’: we are happy to announce that our collaboration with the Syngenta Foundation has resulted in two studies on agriculture entrepreneurship. But the question now is, ‘what next?’; new knowledge, fresh insight, and on-ground action, that can build on what we know. One question for future research is: ‘how can we support top-performing solopreneurs to become mass entrepreneurs?’.
We would love to hear from you on problem statements, effective models, and ‘what next’.
Handing it over to our guest columnist Anjuli Duggal, Former Secretary, Dept. of Financial Services, Govt. of India Former member of the GAME Advisory Board, and a North Block legend, her wisdom on all things Finance in India has helped us immensely and we are excited to have her share insights with all of you in this edition of the GAME newsletter.