When we set out to build GDi towards the end of 2020, we only knew one thing — we wanted to see the world become a better place and contribute our efforts towards it in a meaningful way. We had a good idea on the type of work we wanted to do but there were many questions around the type of organization we wanted to build, the type of people and organizations we wanted to work with, and the type of problem statements to solve.

Bit by bit, in the last 9 months, after multiple iterations and guidance from sector leaders, we have been able to convert some of these vague aspects into clear ideas and articulations.

  1. We finalized upon a name- a name which would truly project who we are and what we want to do. Hence we called ourselves GDi Partners — Your Partner for Governance and Development related work towards impact.
  2. We have converted our vague objective into concrete articulations of our ‘Why’, ‘What’ and ‘How’ — something that will help us march ahead while backing ourselves with clear reasons and ways of continuing to work.
  3. Most importantly, we have quickly grown to become a 18 member “Team GDi” and have started putting our honest efforts towards in solving most complex and pertinent challenges of today’s world — a) improving learning outcomes of students through Ed-tech reforms for millions of girls (probably the largest programme towards girl education through Ed-tech), b) moderalizing the agriculture and allied sectors for a state c) improving quality of air for one of the most polluted city worldwide, d) strategy initiative to involve private sector for achieving goals of a large global philanthropy in India.

As we complete 9 months of GDi’s existence, we want to share our (i) Mission, (ii) Areas of Work, (iii) Capabilities, (iv) Values, and (v) Culture

Our Mission

We would like to highlight a few keywords from our mission statement -

  1. Impact-driven: We are fully committed to our purpose of creating impact that can be observed & measured
  2. Start-up: We are a passionate organization with fresh ideas, personifying the psyche of a start-up to always hustle & evolve
  3. Transforming lives: We are focused towards improving lives of different communities & have a meaningful impact on individuals
  4. Equitable & inclusive world: Transformative change is valuable only when it is fair-minded & just, and includes everyone. That is our objective.
  5. Design & execution of large-development programs: We not only believe in utilizing our strategic minds to design solutions, but also in grounded implementation work to drive results .
  6. Governments & impact-oriented leaders: To achieve the best results, It is essential to work collaboratively with all stakeholders — govt, multilateral & funding organizations or non-profits. Hence, we partner with all to gain the maximum benefit.

Our Work

We focus on achieving our mission through 4 broad areas of work.

An in-depth explanation of each of these areas, along with one example -

Governance transformation:

We work with governments to solve open ended problems, across sectors such as healthcare, education, women empowerment, nutrition and agriculture. We diagnose the problem, co-design the solution with governments, and support the execution until impact is achieved.

Example — The Education department of a state government wants to attain the goal for all students by 2025 under the “National Mission for Foundational Learning”. We diagnose the problem, design solutions, get the solution approved, and support the state government in executing the solution and tracking regular progress.

Digital transformation:

We build solutions to unlock the potential of technology & data to accelerate impact. We create fit-for-purpose, open-source & scalable solutions for large systems. These solutions include decision support systems, health registries, education stack, farmer databases and open data platforms.

Example — The Public Works Department of a state government wants to solve for cost and time overrun in its road projects. We identify lack of data centric decision making as a major bottleneck. Over a 12–18 month time period, we create a “Decision Support System”.

Programme management:

We work with the government & impact sector leaders to provide programme management support to drive effective implementation of interventions, such as innovative finance solutions (like DIB), fellowship & performance management.

Example — Several impact-focused organisations (funders with impact focus, NGOs, social entrepreneurs, governments etc.) want to work together to implement a “Development Impact Bond” in skill development. We design the programme and manage the performance of several partners.

Strategy design:

We work with organizations like philanthropies and CSRs to create strategies that help solve meaningful problems, including identification of impact opportunities, roadmap for large scale transformation, and creating playbooks for replication.

Example — A leading international healthcare-focused philanthropy wants to enter India and work with state governments and social entrepreneurs. We help them create strategies for the same.

Our Capabilities

When trying to solve such diverse and complex problems, multi-dimensional skill-sets are required. We have brainstormed on what skills would be required for us to successfully accomplish the work we want to do, and we found 6 critical capabilities. These capabilities help us design and implement solutions specific to each problem statement uniquely.

Our founding team, along with the team of consultants and engineers have extensive experience in one or more of these capabilities.

Our Values

Values are the guiding principles that we abide by. They are especially important in a start-up as they inspire our best efforts and actions. We have defined 6 values which guide us on our journey.

The explanation of each of these values are -

  1. Put mission first — We are driven by a mission of transforming the lives of individuals and communities for an equitable and inclusive nation. Everything we do is a means to this end.
  2. Act with integrity — We set for ourselves uncompromising ethical standards in our day-to-day conduct, internal and external communication, programs and practices.
  3. Pursue excellence — We maintain high standards of quality in our work with a growth mindset. We constantly learn from one another and our partners to expand our boundaries.
  4. Collaborate to succeed — We focus on building lasting partnerships with like-minded individuals and organizations. We approach partnerships with respect, trust and humility.
  5. Innovate to disrupt — We bring bold and disruptive solutions to solve complex problems at scale. We believe in trying new approaches as well as in methods to scale proven solutions.
  6. Hold ourselves accountable — We take complete ownership of our work, decisions and outcomes. We honour our commitments and take actions that further our mission.

Our Culture

We believe that this culture defines us as an organization, team as well as individuals. It helps us strike a balance between creating impact and building leaders for the sector.

The ‘How’ of GDi also lays down a clear framework for us to build a team which will achieve the mission together. We look for 3 aspects in all our co-travelers — (i) Skills to deliver mandate, (ii) Alignment with values and (iii) Fit within culture. This has helped us build a team which can together achieve our mission of transforming lives of individuals and communities for an equitable and inclusive world.

We look forward to learning and creating impact in our journey of GDi. If you have interesting ideas or any input for us, please write to me.