As I interacted further with Atanu, I began to see the commonalities in the SME and rural spaces. Both are large, invisible markets (opportunities), both are victims of co-ordination failures, both can leverage technology for their betterment but need much more than just ICT (information and communication technologies), and in both cases, entrepreneurial ventures can start in India and then be expanded to other similar emerging markets.
As I thought further, I started trying to build a mental model which could address both of these problems. Therein lay an interesting process of thinking on how to actually solve a problem. The key lies in looking at the totality of the problem getting to the root. What are the core causes of the problem? Here, one needs to separate the effects from the causes. Then, start thinking about the solutions that need to be implemented to address the causes. Finally, put in place a roadmap to implement the solutions. It is not as easy as it sounds! Thinking broadly and deeply is perhaps one of the hardest things to do we tend to want to start doing something quickly, rather than spend time contemplating on what to do. But unless we have thought enough and come up with solutions to address the core cause, we are not going to get anywhere.
This is where my weblog has come in useful. Ever since I started the weblog in May 2002, it has become a platform for me to think and air my views on different topics. I started the blog for a selfish reason to force me to make reading a daily part of my life. This is one mistake I had done in the years that I was managing IndiaWorld my reading had become narrower and narrower as time progressed. I did not want that to happen again. So, I decided that if I had to write and link to interesting articles every day, it would also put the discipline of reading. And that is exactly what has happened.
Along the way, something else happened. People started reading my weblog, and writing back. This started a feedback process for the ideas. More importantly, it become a way to meet up and share ideas with people. Today, the blog posts, including the Tech Talks, have become the single most important platform for both meeting new people and generating fresh ideas, both of which help refine the models that are being created to address the two problems that I have discussed.
There has been another theme I have touched upon often in my writings that of entrepreneurship. It is entrepreneurs who make dreams come true, as they imagine worlds beyond the resources that are available to them. They are willing to climb over slippery rocks in their quest of creating a new future, one that is yet unknown to others, but which is clearly visible to them. Enterprise is what built America, and enterprise has the potential to rebuild a new India. The SME and rural markets present opportunities for entrepreneurs to come up with solutions.
Tomorrow: Open-Source Ideas
TECH TALK My Mental Model+T