We are a community of curators, catalysts, funders and network weavers on a quest to enable exponential change, i.e., change that inspires more and rapid changes. The central question we are trying to answer is: What does it take to create services for 3.3 billion people of the world who earn less than $5.5 per day, at scale, with speed and sustainably?
And our answer is: Through systems that can induce exponential change (change that induces more and more change).
Five years ago, we started wondering: “Social problems grow exponentially, some of them affect population scale, how do we solve them with speed, at scale and sustainably?” We started connecting the dots – several organisations were working on similar problems, point solutions were doing wonders at a local level but were unable to scale. The complexity of issues made fissures creep up on one side as the other side was fixed.
We started looking at examples that created Impact at Scale. How did large scale social movements like Indian independence movement, the American civil rights movement, Black Lives Matter etc. as well as technology-led innovations like Aadhaar (India’s Unique ID Program) and UPI (India’s Unified Payments Interface) empower millions of citizens? How did large platforms like Amazon and Uber reach unprecedented scale so fast?
An idea emerged, what if as solvers of today, we married the idea of platforms with societal impact. Our team started working alongside EkStep Foundation on an audacious endeavour, to improve literacy and numeracy for 200 million children across India and eventually with other change leaders across diverse thematic areas to reimagine how to solve society’s challenges at scale with technology platforms (We call them Societal Platforms).
At the same time, we also started extracting patterns, developing values, principles and frameworks combining platform know-how with our society’s needs. This do-learn-think-do cycle evolved into a systemic approach, called
Over the next 5 years, we realised that building a platform was not the only way to induce exponential change. Many change leaders adapted Societal Thinking to refine their programs or think of policy frameworks. This manifested as blueprints like NDEAR (the National Digital Architecture framework for Edtech in India) that help reimagine the development narrative and also as reusable building blocks (open source components that, like Legos, can be added to any solution) that can accelerate the rate of change for other change leaders.
The word ‘Societal’ refers to groups or networks within societies that are connected, or could interact, exchange value and work together for a common mission.
Societal Thinking brings together diverse actors and infuses in them a sense of agency, co-creation and hope in order to induce exponential change.
Who is part of our ecosystem?
Our journey has been co-created by a diverse team of collaborators – people from academia, research, field-workers, government bodies, social change leaders, design thinkers, technologists and more. It has been energised by mission leaders who have embraced a new way of seeing and doing, and by philanthropists who have the patience and faith to invest in these audacious endeavours. Meet some of the people in our ecosystem here.
Roles we play
- We reimagine what an equitable world could look like when the agency of diverse actors has been restored and they come together to solve at scale.
- We curate knowledge to shape the understanding of societal issues and to redesign the way they are solved. All our work (knowledge, data, process, technology) is open and licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0, so anyone can share and adapt it with proper attribution.
- We help change leaders learn and apply their learnings to design and build prototypes.
- We bring together a network of enablers (Talent, Capital, Access) who can help change leaders to solve societal problems at scale.
We invite you to join our journey:
- Join our change leader community: Explore what it takes to solve a complex societal problem at scale.
- Use the shared, open resources for your work: Every journey leads to the creation of open, reusable assets – knowledge, software, data, codes, tools. Utilise these resources to see and solve differently.
- Join us as co-creators of the idea: We recognise the power of collective thinking, so we look forward to working with others who are working on inducing Exponential change. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about Societal Thinking here.