The Power of the Collective

An Entrepreneur’s Journey from having ‘naught’ to having a LOT with the Power of the Collective

History lies replete with examples of great achievements that the power of collective action can bring about, be it building cities, transforming entire societies or even changing the course of history itself!

Research on the ‘power of collective for entrepreneurs’ over the last few decades has found that the social, political and economic advantages of collective wisdom when taken up within the right peer group and with the tenets of confidentiality and no competition can indeed have tremendous benefits attached, not just for the entrepreneurs but also for the community at large.

One of the primary research papers on the subject is ‘A PRIMER ON COLLECTIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP: A PRELIMINARY TAXONOMY,’ co-authored by Molly J. Burress, Program Director and Michael L. Cook Professor, at the University of Missouri, USA clearly elucidates thatemerging enterprises are more often than not: understaffed, underfunded and overworked. At a basic level, sharing of collective knowledge can reduce the administrative burden on entrepreneurial ventures through sharing of insights on common yet essential tools such as cost accountancy advisory, strategic analysis of marketplace, emerging trends within global markets etc. There are also other significant advantages to sharing of mind-space with an entrepreneurial peer group such as the opportunity to lay bare all the problems plaguing one’s organisation with the assurance of complete confidentiality and knowing that you are among friends who are sailing the same waters as you and can therefore effectively help bail you out with sound advice derived from practical knowledge.

Believe it or not, there are yet very important synergies that transcend the above mentioned more technical advantages. The real magic of the shared ‘wisdom’ concept is based on the reckoning that Peer Group + Collective Insights = Entrepreneurial Innovation. By sharing your mind-space with driven, talented and like-minded individuals’ innovation can occur at a more rapid and frequent pace. Essentially you will be able to multiply the number of ideas that you are exposed to, intensifying your own capacity to generate, expand on or re-work upon new or existing ideas. A harmonious environment thus created allows for continuous learning, inspiration and accelerated growth and development.

Manifesting social transformation, especially in the realm of entrepreneurial expertise, requires more effort than simply creating a platform for the sharing to take place! In order to fully realise the potential of knowledge sharing, one must mobilise the community that it helped create and this is what ASCENT specialises in. Founded by Harsh Mariwala, Chairman, Marico Ltd, ASCENT serves as a confidential and non-competing forum for conducive and result oriented knowledge sharing amongst ambitious entrepreneurs looking to grow their enterprises. ASCENT plays a key role in –

    • Providing a leadership role for every individual in the ASCENT Trust Group.

    • Facilitating knowledge interaction is vital to such a uniquely designed programme. A structured methodology and fixed timelines for sharing technical and practical information have been designed to ensure that plans that are being developed with collaborative knowledge or that the ideas that are being generated to solve mutual problems are result oriented.
    • Communication rituals are also important for the effective functioning of a knowledge sharing model. These specially devised rituals foster a collaborative spirit and serve to strengthen connections between the peer groups. These bonded networks then create the familiarity and trust that is critical for generating entrepreneurial innovation.

Though a relatively new concept, the responses and results generated with ASCENT Trust Groups so far is heartening. In one of the Trust Group meetings, the members stayed back late into the night to help another member with some financial difficulties and ended up saving him Rs 15 lacs! There are many such noted instances wherein the Trust Group members have started benefiting tremendously from the insights being shared on the forum, avoiding many a pitfall while building upon their strengths.

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