Updated: Mar 24
The dialogue covers the following:
Krishna walks us through the time when he realized his irrational commitment towards social impact and social development of the country.
Touch upon important factors leading up to formation of Sattva, and then the focus behind the organization.
Significance of the name Sattva and how it aligns with organization’s mission.
Explain how innovative and economically viable models that strive to make the society a better place are being created and used by the Sattva team.
Major trends that Krishna has observed during his decade long experience in social sector space in India.
Challenges faced when Sattva was a start up. Challenges faced when Sattva has become a company with about 500 employees.
Krishna explains how he deals with adversity, high pressure situations personally/professionally.
Advise to someone who is listening to this and might be unsure about getting into this space even though making society a better place to live in interests them.
Some of the key learnings that came out of this dialogue were:
Krishna talks about the usual path that people chose during his days, which was to get the masters and go abroad. He had this feeling of how he could contribute back to India (his country).
Krishna actively volunteered in NGOs and CSR departments of companies where he worked at during his early career days. He got to realize the real important problems on ground in India through these experiences.
He mentions that his experiences at INSEAD made him realize and feel that his goal was to create something sustainable in India that could address the problems in India and also on the side it could be a for profit entity that could generate income.
Talks about how going abroad for higher education was a big game changer. It helped him to understand other cultures, different perspectives of people and challenges across the globe. He mentions his interest towards entrepreneurship opportunities leading towards solving problems within the society, and not just make money.
The meaning behind name Sattva - Balancing social and business objectives. It was to realize balance/equilibrium. Importance of coexistence of business and society and not having to choose one. (Many and's at work)
Fundamental thinking principle of Sattva is: Anything that is done with the company is targeted towards solving a problem.
The challenge of social sector has been that it is project oriented and not problem solving oriented often times. If you think of it as a problem solving situation then economics, ROI has to work. The investment needs to make sense, and it has to be scalable and sustainable. Creating scalable and impactful operating models within the social sector that can solve the problem eventually!
Some highlights of social sector in India: There has been significant amount of innovation, work that has happened (scalable). Very nice products/solutions that are actually solving problems have come on the ground. The donor ecosystem has changed a lot. CSR has become a very important part of the India ecosystem. More collaboration between Government and NGOs is starting to happen. Lot more talent is coming into this sector at an early age. There is a massive shift of becoming data and tech oriented in this sector.
Some key challenges that Sattva faced as the organization was in its initial stages and was growing - Getting the balance between impact created and finances of the organization, Sattva had an impact first mindset and then at the same time become financially independent approach. Second challenge was to invest in a culture that was to build a team that is focused on solving problems on the ground but also is very entrepreneurial. Solving problem of the world that we all equally own. Building the ownership within the people was very important. A lot of focus on creating a good team. Next challenge is the question of how scalable is this, how to make more solutions digitized, how to make some processes more system dependent at the same time not lose the person and the touch. Bring technology but also be people centric, customize but be scalable. Go deep into Bharat but also go global.
Dealing adversity - one has to learn how to be extremely self aware. Need to be able to distance yourself with issue at hand. You cannot take it personally, learn to compartmentalize issues so that one thing does not affect another thing. Learn to reward yourself. Taking care of yourself is very important. In your difficult situation pause and then respond rather react immediately.
What is Social Sector now? A lot of times one thing that there is not enough pay in this sector, but with time this has evolved and people can live a very comfortable life being in this sector. This is the future, sustainable focus will be the key. It is important to think about it as a main stream sector. If someone cannot directly work full time into this sector - they can start today by changing and reflecting on their lifestyle. Lead a life that is good for the planet. "Talks about the importance of being minimalist". This is far better than doing 2 hours a week volunteering activity!!