Wednesday, September 16, 2015

When Need Meets Opportunity!

What is need? In some essential way, we are all needy. We are all ‘people who need people’ and people who need help of some kind or the other.  Sometimes, it is very easy to spot need. It is there, staring you in the face – which makes it easy to be able to extend a helping hand. But sometimes, need exists in a far more subtle manner – and is that much more difficult to recognize.

The story goes that the great mathematician Ramanujan struggled for years to get his work noticed outside of his small hometown. Then one day he wrote to the renowned British mathematician G.H Hardy, who immediately recognized his genius, paid for his tuition, put him on a boat to Trinity, Cambridge – and the rest is history. Ramanujan was not starving or sick or obviously suffering. But he had a gift, a passion, a genius that needed to be recognized and helped – and thankfully it was. Because what Ramanujan then went on to do was to contribute immensely to the mathematical world – and to young, hungry minds.

So one form of helping is direct - one-on-one help, that has a huge and positive impact on the individual. The other is what I call ‘leveraged’ help, which changes underlying conditions and structures, and creates a self-sustaining momentum once it is unleashed.
What am I therefore getting at? That there are obvious needs versus deep, underlying, structural, not-so-obvious needs - and therefore direct help versus leveraged help.

And this is where Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) plays such a vital role. What is CSR and what does it mean for us? To put it very simply, it is a way in which we can recognize social needs– and do our part to help. Sometimes these causes are easier to see and therefore easier to address - like the eradication of extreme hunger and poverty or fighting diseases. But sometimes they are for more fundamental and underlying and not necessarily acknowledged as needy - like promoting higher education, pushing for gender equality, or empowering women.

The reality is that these are areas that are in desperate need of help and development - and the need varies depending on a bunch of factors, like geography, industry, culture and so on.  For example, India has the largest population of young people in the world. If this potential talent is armed with the requisite skills, we will be able to create a massive army of knowledge workers and skilled manpower. This, in turn, would augment our economic growth and usher in an era of unprecedented prosperity. At Genpact, we believe we can play an important role in accelerating this process. So we think our role is in the not-so-obvious structural areas, and in leveraged help that has a multiplier impact.

Take our tie-up with Ashoka University – we have created the ‘Genpact Centre for Women’s Leadership (GCWL), which is a unique, first-of-its-kind industry-academia partnership in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility. By creating a cadre of educated, empowered women we achieve two objectives – unleash the multiplier effect and benefit a whole new generation of women; and address the issue of gender imbalance in the workforce. Women need to be encouraged, supported, trained and helped in every way possible to be better at their jobs and better equipped to lead. And as you perhaps know – women’s leadership is a topic very close to my heart, and one I believe in and drive very strongly!! It makes businesses better and has a long term positive structural social impact!

Similarly, we have joined hands with the NASSCOM Foundation and IT-ITeS Sector Skills Council NASSCOM to launch ‘Reach Higher’ – a vocational skill-building program that aims to push the Government of India’s aspiration to train 500 million people by 2022. In my view this is a huge dream and a truly inspirational one. The program will equip aspirants with skills in specialized areas –all fully sponsored and at no cost to the aspirants. This is going to help create jobs and opportunities and effectively address the growing skills gap that is adding to the massive problem of unemployment in India. There are several such initiatives across the 25 countries that we are present in.

This, then, is our vision: to recognize underlying social needs, address them in a meaningful manner, and create a strong and positive social impact. This will, I am convinced, help create a better world for all of us to live in – and be proud of.


  1. Wonderful and inspiring. With due respest to your thought and aspiration I would like to add a thing which can help and boost the entire process of generating more jobs and opportunities is, beside skill development can we also focus for mental ability development. I believe if mental ability building and skill development is worked upon simultaneously, it gives a greater result of achievement. I'm stating you with priour hands on research and pratical experience of working with many individuals, NGO and destitute childrens

  2. Hii @Tiger Tyagarajan
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the need and opportunity, you have brilliant portray the story of great mathematician of India Mr. Ramanujan. indeed, Helping others in need is humanity.