Making India a leader for scaling social change

Making India a leader for scaling social change

July 15, 2018 | Author: David Wilcox, founder of ReachScale
Every Indian citizen grows up with the need to consider the issue of scale. The democratic aspiration to improve the life conditions for all Indians (and more broadly, the world) is fundamental to Indian society.

To achieve these aspirations, India’s leaders in all sectors have become experts on scale. From Ardhaar to free bank accounts for every citizen, India has created scale outcomes which dwarf the progress in most other countries.

Indians do not always recognize this. Indian governmental leaders often point to China as the country that knows how to scale their efforts. But the world can’t use China’s approach for scale. The world needs a democratic scale leader, and that scale leader is and must be India. In fact, the UN has asked India to lead on social scale that is inclusive–inclusive social scale. Social enterprise scale leaders in India are recognized worldwide. Their unique expertise has driven multiple examples of Inclusive India Scale. In spite of that they are not yet close to where India and the world needs them to be. Government, corporate and finance leaders have failed to concentrate resources around the real winners. The data from the Indian CSR law, now three years old, is the latest example of this failure.

To lead the world on this critical scale mission, India must lead from home. Government, corporate and finance leaders must lead in concentrating resources around the best scale leaders inside India and then export their solutions to the world.

ReachScale, a global network that scales the innovative social enterprises solving the world’s most intractable challenges, began a global search for the best next level scale opportunities seven years ago. After reviewing over three thousand scale leaders and opportunities, we ranked the top dozen across almost 200 countries. Imagine our surprise when half of the list originated in one country. Having identified these scale leaders, it was easy to see who supported them and who continued to squander resources on small efforts with small investments. These efforts create attractive optics, but not scaled results.

To make social and inclusive scale a reality across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), leaders must lead. India must demonstrate inclusive scale never seen before anywhere in the world.

At the SDG review meeting prior to India’s presentation at the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in 2017, ReachScale was among the global experts that responded, painting the picture outlined above. That intervention, focused specifically on Inclusive India Scale, is now progressing to the first innovative finance effort truly centered around scale.

I will be attending Indiaspora’s Philanthropy Summit July 17 with two leaders in scaling opportunities—Navneet Garg of Caya Constructs and Neelam Chhiber of Industree Foundation/Mission Creative Million. Mission Creative Million is an initiative of Industree Foundation to empower a million women across India towards equal economic opportunity through creative manufacturing.

Both are two uniquely Indian enterprises that are committed to move forward on our first scale bond. We hope to share details with other leaders this September and collaborate on how to bring about the best initiatives in philanthropy to Inclusive India Scale.

David Wilcox is a social change leader and the founder of ReachScale (, a purpose-built global network that is scaling innovative social enterprises as well as building networks and ecosystems to shift significant resources into sustainable models for solving the world’s most intractable challenges. He was identified by The Guardian as one of the 10 most influential sustainability voices in America. With a dual interest in business and social progress, Wilcox has been a CEO, CMO and head of business development for a number of technology start-ups, consulting firms, think tanks and digital enterprises. He graduated with an MBA from Harvard Business School.