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Decoding Large-Scale Change (LSC) and the constancy of purpose

July 13, 2018

I moved from New Delhi to Mumbai around 16 years back. The city, or rather the NCR, that I left behind was growing rapidly and one of the big challenges was overhauling the public transportation system which was under tremendous pressure as a result of the growth. The traffic conditions were getting worse by the day.

After many years of travelling to New Delhi for short durations, when I finally stayed back for about a month, I noticed how the Delhi Metro project had brought about transformational change to how people were travelling in the city. And it was not just about the daily commute to work. Places in the city, such as Old Delhi, which were practically inaccessible due to the traffic congestion and the hours of travelling it took to get there, were now just a short metro ride away.

While someone returning years later to New Delhi might experience the transformation suddenly, those living in the city would have experienced it as incremental on a daily basis – some digging here, concrete poured there, many workers doing seemingly unconnected tasks. But, there was a ‘big picture’ vision guiding it that remained fairly constant over time. The vision may be modified along the way as unexpected issues arise, but in Large-Scale Change (LSC) a constancy of purpose ties the incremental effort together to create something wonderful in the end.

LSC is the change that is:

  • Widely spread across geographical boundaries, multiple organisations, or multiple distinctive groupings (for example, doctors, nurses, and social care workers)

  • Deeply challenging to current mental models and ways of thinking

  • Broadly impacting what people do in their lives and requiring a coordinated change in multiple systems.

And the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) is the perfect example to quote here. This is a policy think tank of the Government of India, established with the aim to achieve Sustainable Development Goals and to enhance cooperative federalism by fostering the involvement of State Governments of India in the economic policy-making process using a bottom-up approach.

The NITI Aayog Aspirational Districts Transformation Program (ADTP) is an effort to bring about Large Scale Change through effective implementation of government schemes in the Aspirational Districts and is expected to lead to an overall improvement in the Human Development Index in India.

Earlier this year, NITI Aayog ranked 115 Aspirational Districts selected by the Government on 6 socio-economic parameters, including Health & Nutrition and Education. NITI Aayog has highlighted multiple challenges across indicators that need to be disentangled, in order to transform these aspirational districts across states in India. Piramal Foundation has been chosen as the partner by Niti Aayog in 25 districts in this effort based on the belief that Public-Private Partnerships, aided by technology, can bring radical transformation in the country, boosting implementation of various government schemes.

Piramal Foundation for Education Leadership will collaborate with NITI Aayog to work closely with the district, state and other key agencies to improve student learning outcome, improve enrolment in public school; and drive behaviour change in the public education system.

In the area of Healthcare & Nutrition, Piramal Swasthya will work closely with the district, state and other key agencies to improve maternal health, Improve child health; and improve the nutritional status of children and antenatal & neonatal mothers.

The journey has already begun. Over 500 people covering both the initiatives have already been deployed by Piramal Foundation in 25 districts across 7 states. Over the next four years, the incremental efforts being undertaken in these districts are expected to bring about transformational change. This vision for change is one would make someone who fell asleep today and woke up four years from now remark: “This is very different!”

Just like I did, when I visited New Delhi for an extended period, after many years.

Sridhar Krupad is the Chief Manager, PMO at the Piramal Foundation. He is a sports enthusiast, avid trekker and curious about everything related to science, economics, politics and international relations.