Indian School of Development Management Celebrates February 1st as Development Management Day

New Delhi: Indiscriminate abuse of planetary resources and paradigm of inequity in the race towards economic growth has led the human race to the dynamic, complex reality we are in today. Our world is grappling to envision a sustainable future. There is a growing demand for a far more holistic worldview that stands apart from the usual idea of GDP as sole growth-indicator.

This vision can be possible only through a brand of leadership and Body of Knowledge developed around the fundamentals of universal human values, systems thinking and regenerative transformation. Leaders from the Indian Social Sector, along with members of the Indian School of Development Management (ISDM) celebrated Development Management Day on February 1, 2020, to bring to fore the importance of this idea and commemorate the remarkable work is done by development leaders currently and over the years to come.

Development Management Day is celebrated with the goal of bringing attention to the need for adopting and inculcating Development Management principles and practices to create a large contingent of conscious, sentient, responsible and professional Change Leaders who can impactfully scale up the efforts to conserve and reshape our planet’s limited resources. The event, hosted by ISDM endeavored to bring together key stakeholders in the Development Management ecosystem to discuss, debate and ideate.

Development Management Day 2020 was attended by industry stalwarts with decades of outstanding work to their credit. Keynotes at the event were delivered by Aruna Roy, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, and Salil Shetty, Ex-Secretary General, Amnesty International.

Young Leaders Jigyasa Labroon (Slam Out Loud), Rafiul Alom Rahman (Queer Muslim Project), Tarun Cherukuri (Indus Action), and Dipti Diwedi (ISDM Alumna, Swechha) participated in an invigorating panel discussion. The event was followed by a musical performance by Vipul Rikhi.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Ravi Sreedharan, Founder and Director, ISDM said, “We started with the idea of inspiring youngsters to come and work in this sector, saving the sector from industrialization and the capitalism that seems to be the basis on which society seems to imagine itself, and reimagine new futures and development? That’s where we started and…In the last four years, our efforts have been towards strengthening the domain of Development Management and the larger development ecosystem. The relevance of ISDM is even more today than from the time it was conceived and set up.”

Mr. Ashish Dhawan, Founder, ISDM and Founder of Ashoka University and Central Square Foundation quoted the evidence of the famous British Economist, Angus Maddison over the last few epistemes to say that “(…)while the population of the world grows exponentially alongside a growth in economic activities, business management has been applied to the for-profit sector, has allowed more people to inhabit the earth and has allowed for the march of economic progress over the last few centuries. However, in the wake of this reality, more than 3 billion people live in poverty- deprived of basic amenities, nutrition, education and rights. The scale of poverty, inequity and injustice around is enormous… It is appropriate that is it at this moment that we have an institution like the Indian School of Development Management, because the for-profit world has been unable to address concerns around us. We need young people who are leaders, who are mission oriented, committed to making a difference in the world, who don’t worry about profit. We need to be able to think at scale to ensure impact. The very idea of Development Management needs to take root within NGOs, leaders and the next generation of changemakers.”

Ms. Aruna Roy, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan said, “Women have been practicing management from the millennia and the practice of management has given shape to the theory(…) Management is a practice that has been theorized; and paradoxically, action and practice have been relegated to the sidelines. There is a need to position Development Management within the inequities and call for social justice (…) We need to revisit the tenets of Mahatma Gandhi and our freedom fighters in being able to listen to the voices of the community and people. Development Management is not for profit, it is for wellbeing and we need to collectively define our wellbeing.”

Mr. Salil Shetty, Ex- Secretary-General, Amnesty International also spoke at the event and shared his insights about the crisis of the economy linked with the crisis of democracy. He said “Development cannot take place in the absence of rights and democracy (…) Clear link between democracy and development, and we need to begin to stop seeing these as two independent processes.” He echoed the words of Aruna Roy and Ashish Dhawan in underlining the need for the development ecosystem to include young change leaders who bring about people and planet centric transformations.

With 3.3 million Non-Profit Institutions (NPIs) employing over 18.2 million people, supported by contributions from funders, enabling organizations, the government, and businesses, the Indian development sector is one of the largest and most active social economies in the world. The development space is crying out for people who understand the sector and are able to contribute in establishing world-class, impactful, sustainable social organizations using mantras of leadership and management relevant to the sector. Development Management, as a new discipline would require a reservoir of quality institutions that impart a unique and collaboratively developed curriculum to be able to make a tangible impact to the development space. These institutions will be the beacons of light that provide a much-needed vibrant and active learning environment to the brightest minds passionate about social change.

ISDM remains committed towards developing and strengthening the domain of Development Management through more convenings, knowledge artifacts and dialogue and inputs from academics, practitioners, students and communities from across the world.