Back to resources

We need to talk about failure in the social sector: NGOs must fail to succeed

Strategic Philanthropy | Jan 22, 2019

A lot of ink is spilled and awards are bestowed each year celebrating the success of the social sector—and there is much to celebrate. But the truth is, if innovation is essential to the ultimate achievements of the sector, we should spend less time on success, and more time on failure. We lament the inability of the social sector to scale, but we do not support organizations to innovate on a continuous basis. We know that acceptance of failure is an essential part of innovation, which in turn is required for successful outcomes. Yet, we do not bridge the gap. Progress on this issue will require candid communication between social entrepreneurs and the philanthropic community. Unfortunately, such candour is rare. This article presents the perspectives of two sector leaders: Rohini Nilekani, philanthropist, social entrepreneur, and writer; and Kyle Zimmer, award-winning social entrepreneur and Schwab Foundation Fellow. Hopefully, it will spark further conversations within the sector.

Livemint

WEF

WEF PDF

IDR

Alliance Magazine

More like this

Strategic Philanthropy  |  Arts & Culture

Philanthropy can provide ‘patient funding’ to boost science

Industry leaders and philanthropists Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Kris Gopalakrishnan and Rohini Nilekani have made individual and collective contributions towards furthering science and research in the city and outside. They told TOI’s Chethan Kumar in an interview that philanthropy could help provide the ‘patient funding’ that is needed to boost science and also help liberate science from […]
Nov 21, 2022 |

Strategic Philanthropy

We The People | Corporate Social Responsibility: Should It Be Mandatory?

India, has become the first country to make Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) spending mandatory through a law. New amendments to the Companies Act have been approved by parliament to make make it impossible for companies to escape CSR. The government also plans to include a specific penal provision in the Companies Act in case of […]
Aug 15, 2019 | Panel Discussions

Strategic Philanthropy

The Virus has Reinvented Philanthropy in India

The recent announcement of Susmita and Subroto Bagchi, together with Radha and N.S. Parthasarathy, donating ₹425 crore to set up a postgraduate medical school, along with a multi-speciality 800-bed hospital, at Indian Institute of Science’s (IISC’s) Bengaluru campus is terrific news. Much like the vaccine, this singular shot in the arm for Indian philanthropy will […]
Feb 21, 2022 |

Strategic Philanthropy

Q&A With Rohini Nilekani - Impact India

TWO DECADES OF GIVING HAVE TAUGHT PHILANTHROPIST ROHINI NILEKANI THE VALUE OF PURSUING UNCONVENTIONAL APPROACHES TO TACKLING SOCIAL PROBLEMS. View PDF
Feb 1, 2017 | Conversation