Digital Transformation in the Not-For-Profit Sector: I got Garbage! “IGG” (and a Winning Strategy).

Not for profit organizations, following the same trend as traditional businesses, are increasingly aware of the need to engage with digital technology. A successful case …handling Waste.

Not for profit organizations, following the same trend as traditional businesses, are increasingly aware of the need to engage with digital technology. But the pace of change in these organizations is meeting even higher entry barriers due in part to constrained resources in terms of funding and access to technical expertise.
Social organizations ultimate benchmark of success is to deliver the relevant products or services to their target audience. Although this is a different measure of success than the ones usually attached to mainstream businesses such as profit, EPS, revenues grow, market share etc…the ultimate demand of efficiency is also – and in most case urgently- there.

Situation:
India generates $175 million of garbage per day; 95% of it ends up in landfill where “rag-pickers” sift through them to extract anything that can be sold or reused.
This system presents at least two obvious problems:
1) The rag-pickers make their living in unsanitary conditions, with an average life expectancy of 39 years and with 1 in 3 infant mortality. Income can both insufficient and uncertain.

2) The City authorities do not have the workforce required to address the volume of waste produced or the systems required to sort waste for treatment and disposal.

Digital Transformation:

With the support of Mindtree (an Indian multinational information technology and outsourcing company), IGG was formed in 2014 as a digital platform creating a two-sided market place connecting easily and at no cost “customers” and “suppliers” in the city of Bangalore. Waste producers such as households, apartment blocks and workplaces- can organize waste collection directly through this platform. It becomes a door to door service which allows rag pickers (which are estimated to be 20,000) to be directly connected with the garbage sources.
Mobility, Cloud and Big Data resources are at play behind the platform to ensure its continuity and expansion:
http://www.igotgarbage.com/
Human Transformation:
The unstructured, unhealthy, and overall inefficient garbage collection in the city becomes organized, providing a healthier environment for its citizen.
The rag pickers have become “composting consultants” and can create not only a healthier more predictable lifestyle for themselves and their families but also have acquired respectability and are being valued by society.
The platform developed is also open source so that the system can be adapted to other regions.

Recognition & Achievements:
In December 2016, IGG was featured on the 2016 NT100 list curated by the Social Tech Guide.NT100 is an annual celebration of the 100 most inspiring tech innovations from around the world.
At the occasion of this announcement IGG declared “We are thrilled for our work and the work of the recycling managers to be recognized as ‘Everyday Tech Heroes’.”

Conclusion

IGG is a rare case of rapid and successful integration of digital transformation within a social enterprise. Even if Not-for-Profit boards buy into the general concept of the added value of digitalization of their mission, whether for data base purposes, engagement platform construction or social media communication, the digital capability is mostly missing.
As with most digital transformation, one of the key facilitating strategies is to demonstrate the value for money or in this case the money per “benefit distributed”.
In the case of IGG, that value creation was not only clearly established but also visible in the daily lives of all the stakeholders.

Resources:
1- NPC ; www.thinkNPC.org; Tech for Common Good
2- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Y5DoPfeE50
3- http://www.nominettrust.org.uk/knowledge-centre/social-tech-guide
4- http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/i-got-garbage-igg—the-technology-platform-for-waste-management-is-now-open-for-bangalore-citizens-263403361.html

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Student comments on Digital Transformation in the Not-For-Profit Sector: I got Garbage! “IGG” (and a Winning Strategy).

  1. Thank you for posting–I’ve never heard of this company before and am very glad I clicked on your post! It’s true that nonprofits often struggle to raise funds for technological investments (IT, digital, etc.). Based on my limited experience consulting for nonprofit foundations, my understanding is that donors typically want to see their funds mapped directly to the organization’s social outputs; conveying the need to invest in other areas is a complex message. IGG circumvents this challenge by having the technology be the vehicle through which social output (and thus impact) is delivered. It’s a truly brilliant alignment that will save the organization fundraising headaches going forward, and I imagine many new nonprofits with similar alignments could emerge. It will be interesting to see if the digital era will shift the types of value capture challenges nonprofits face going forward.

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