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Paul Polak, SunPower and good news for poor farmers

Paul Polak is an accomplished man and a very busy man.  After spending a few decades researching and trying out various innovations to lift poor farmers out of poverty, he wrote Out of Poverty in 2008. Making the treadle pump affordable to low income farmers was among his earliest invention. IDE (International Development Enterprises) is possibly […]

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Ratan Tata (Pic courtesy FUCCHA page on Facebook)

Meet the Indian Howard Lutnick: actually you know him well

If this is the first time you’ve heard of Howard Lutnick (or Cantor Fitzgerald), do read this, this, and this. Yesterday, I came across a FUCCHA post that listed out a long list of wonderfully humanitarian things that Ratan Tata did after 26/11 – not just for the Taj employees but for a veritable ecosystem of people/establishments around […]

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So what’s up with Raju Narayana Swamy these days?

India is as obsessed with its IAS officers as it is with its IIT graduates. Earlier this year, I wrote an article about Kerala IAS officer Raju Narayana Swamy after seeing one of those Facebook appeals making its rounds. Six months ago, the post continues to attract interest. I wondered whether he had taken up that plum UN […]

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Naandi-powered midday meals in Orissa's Keonjhar district (Pic: courtesy

A development economist’s journey to parallel social entrepreneur

[Editor’s Note: The publishing delay of this post is a deeply personal reminder on the need for an “editor” hat — even for a one-person blogging organization. A partial defense for why this post underwent a *10 month* gestation period can be found here. If you agree that I’ve indulged in adequate self-flagellation, I’ll move on […]

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The not so curious affair of IAS officer Raju Narayana Swamy

Update (Jul 27, 2012): Wrote a follow-up post – What’s up with Raju Narayana Swamy these days? An appeal (see below) is making the rounds on Facebook today. An academic pedigree to die for, top of the class at every step of the academic ladder, and a squeaky clean IAS officer who doesn’t even spare […]

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Trilochan Sastry (center), at a press conference

The many lives of Trilochan Sastry – academic, social activist, social entrepreneur

[Editor’s Note: Over the past few months, I had a series of conversations with Dr. Trilochan Sastry (Academic Dean, IIM-Bangalore). His academic pedigree is as blue-chip as it can get – B.Tech from IIT-Delhi, Ph.D from MIT, MBA from IIM-Ahmedabad, over a decade as faculty at IIM-Ahmedabad before moving to IIM-Bangalore in 2003. This blog post […]

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Solomon Prakash, Country Director (Ashoka)

War stories from Ashoka Fellow Solomon Prakash

Solomon Prakash knows a thing or two about social entrepreneurship. After all, he’s devoted the last 20 years in pioneering work in education, poverty alleviation, employment and labor related social enterprises. MAYA, Maya Organic, and LabourNet are initiatives started and run by him until he took up a full-time role (in 2010) with Ashoka as […]

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Visit to the Zenrainman’s House

[Editor’s Note: The purpose of this blog post is to acknowledge that water is a burning issue of the present. It requires the involvement and collaboration of governments, NGOs, companies, and citizens in crafting the right policies, innovating in water/sanitation infrastructure and, perhaps most importantly, effect behavior changes by citizens (homeowners and apartment dwellers). I […]

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