Saturday, June 30

Friends, Romans & Sponsors

Oftentimes a drift from tactical to strategic management is, though stirring, more difficile than forseeable. Yeah, I'm sure there are ingenious likes of Johann Sebastian Bach's in the management circle who would be austere in saying "There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself." But it needs not much evidence to say for certain that most other mere mortal souls like me wished that strategic thinking process was a science. I think most of us, when faced with such decisions, often succumb to bondage of self-incurred tutelage.

One such instant which required a strand of strategic thinking process was here this week when Digital Empowerment Foundation, a Delhi based non-profit organization operating in the ICT space, approached us for sponsoring their Manthan Award 2007 initiative. This apparently notabe award is aimed to recognize e-Content practitioners for development at the grassroots level. With 14 award categories, 250 nominations last year and a projected 500+ nominations this time around, Manthan certainly seems to have come afar since its humble takeoff 3 years back.

It is interesting to trace the HiWEL- Manthan tryst over the years. In the very first year, we as an award nominee, did not end up winning one in any of the categories. It is kind of ironical that in the same year, we ended up winning the esteemed Dewang Mehta Award instituted by the NASSCOM foundation. Last year, we as a pioneer in the Minimally Invasive Education space, were approached by DEF to sponsor one of the award categories. This year, DEF recognises HiWEL as one of the leaders in the Computer Aided Learning space and wants to take the partnership to a strategic level in the areas of common interest.

Well, when the sponsorship is looked into in isolation, it surely seems to have a potential to contribute to HiWEL's branding in variety of ways - by creating brand exposure and from developing brand associations with UNDP and AIF. But, looking at the participant mix which has barely any skew on our customer base, i.e. state and corporate, the cost benefit analysis would indicate that any monetary sponsorship would not add much value. However, at times, given that we stand for innovation and leadership values in digital empowerment space, it becomes imperative that we be a torch bearer to other emerging players who rarely receive any recognition or support in their journey.

As of now, we are contemplating on having a HiWEL member on the jury board and therewith sponsor the entire jury process. We are looking into areas where we could involve HiWEL staff throughout the entire award process. I think the event would provide a platform to both mobilize HiWEL organization internally and demonstrate our technology to other players in the field. But the affiliation effect is yet to be carefully penned down.

Apparently, this is one occasion where I get a chance to use the frameworks -brand identity, brand relationship spectrum and brand architecture - that I professedly crammed in the Branding class. How I wish I was wide-eyed in the 8am sessions and, with all due respects to fellow section mates, not listened up to those gibberish, ad infinitum CPs. Some of the CPs (Courtesy: Major) still reverberate in my mind and hardly make any imperceptible sense :)

... Santosh


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