Sanjay Purohit, Chief Curator, Societal Platform EkStep Foundation

Sanjay Purohit, Chief Curator, Societal Platform EkStep Foundation (1)

Sanjay Purohit, Chief Curator, Societal Platform EkStep Foundation

Sanjay has over 30 years of diverse and global experience across the corporate and societal development sectors.

Podcast

Overview

The EkStep Foundation was co-founded by Nandan Nilekani, Rohini Nilekani, and Shankar Maruwadato. It was dedicated to addressing the challenge at scale, leading to its Mission EkStep.

Our guest today on TBCY is Sanjay Purohit, the curator of the Societal Platform, which is doing an outstanding job in tackling various challenges from education to healthcare to urbanization.

About Sanjay Purohit

Sanjay is the chief curator of the societal platform Ekstep Foundation which works on systemic methods to resolve complex societal challenges with speed and sustainably. He has worked for corporations for the last three decades and is passionate about mentoring start-up entrepreneurs. Since 2016, at EkStep Foundation, he is leading the evolution of Societal Platform Thinking, an innovative method to resolve complex societal challenges with speed, at scale, and sustainably. He advises multiple social entrepreneurs who are developing Societal Platforms in domains such as  education, financial inclusion, healthcare, urban governance, and livelihoods. 

Discussion- 

What is EkStep Foundation? 

Nandan Nilekani, Rohini Nilekani and Shankar Maruwada co-founded EkStep Foundation. the primary objective of the foundation is to allow societal change at scale. The foundation works in different areas including education, digital public technologies and is planning to dive into large changes using systemic methods and platform thinking.

 “I think I am connecting what lots of people are bringing through their lived experiences”

Can you elaborate on the “systemic method to resolve complex societal challenges”? What are some of these complex challenges?

Sanjay Purohit mentions sustainable development goals, human development indicators, healthcare, sanitation, urbanisation, education etc under the many challenges. He says that in a country like India with a vast population, the challenges are complex and dynamic due to the changing policies and political nature of the country. So, “it’s hard to drive change in a large, complex and dynamic situation.” The foundation is working on these challenges and finding a way to resolve them. 

One example of a challenge Ekstep is working to solve

Sanjay Purohit gives the example of education to explain how they work. They found that two schools may have exactly the same facilities, geography, faculty of teachers etc but vary greatly in performance. the reason they found out to be in the leadership of the schools. Why does one school do extremely well while the other doesn’t? The answer turned out to be in who is leading the school, their ability of entrepreneurship and their ability to get community support, organise resources, etc makes a massive difference. So the question was how to solve this issue and after spending a lot of time, they came to the conclusion that teachers need four important capabilities-

  • ability to sense what’s happening in and beyond the classroom
  • ability to compare and analyze their performance with other schools
  • ability to learn how to solve the identified challenges
  • ability to make improvements after they have learner what to do

The foundation created a technology to reach as many schools in India and work to make sense, and improve and develop leadership programs which are now scaling rapidly and have brought positive results in many schools. 

Profile

Sanjay has over 30 years of diverse and global experience across the corporate and societal development sectors. This spans senior leadership and entrepreneurial roles in corporate strategy, digital transformation, management consulting and sustainable development.
Since 2016, at EkStep Foundation, he is leading the evolution of Societal Platform Thinking (societalplatform.org), an innovative method to resolve complex societal challenges with speed, at scale, sustainably. He advises multiple organizations and foundations developing Societal Platforms in domains such as, but not limited to, education, financial inclusion, healthcare, water, urban governance, and livelihoods. This includes large scale systems change initiatives supported by Co-Impact (co-impact.org), a global philanthropic collaborative.
Passionate about mentoring young entrepreneurs, he advises startups supported by Fundamentum (fundamentum.co.in), a scale investment fund, N/Core (ncore.foundation), a not-for-profit incubator and accelerator, and Edumentum (edumentum.org), a not-for-profit incubator focused on education. He Chairs the Innovation Advisory Board at Unleash (unleash.org), a global talent initiative focused on Sustainable Development Goals and is an Advisory Board Member at Sparks & Honey (sparksandhoney.com), a cultural consultancy.
At Infosys (infosys.com), his key responsibilities included Executive Vice President, Corporate Strategy, Chairman and MD, Infosys Consulting and Founder and CEO, EdgeVerve, a subsidiary focused on digital platforms. Under his leadership, Infosys won the Force of Ideas Award from Corporate Strategy Board, USA, for innovative planning methods. His Balanced Scorecard based strategy execution approach led Infosys to become the 1st IT Services company globally to win the Hall of Fame Award. Prior to Infosys, at Tata Sons, he developed the Tata Business Excellence Model (tatabex.com), which has been leveraged by the Tata Group Companies to develop resilient institutions over the last 20 years.

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