The accomplished Dr. Verghese Kurien passed away yesterday. Some say he orphaned the little girl who appears in Amul advertisements. Social innovation was a huge risk in Dr. Kurien's times. He influenced millions of farmers to cooperate in milk distribution so that animal husbandry became a well supported activity. On my first visit to Gujarat in the 1990s, I desired to meet him, but am glad that I at least got the opportunity to visit the city of Anand to know from up close what the impact has been.Was shown around by my mother's cousin a resident doctor in the area then. He was traveling when I visited in the context of a conference organised by EDI - the Entrepreneurship Development Institute. That was my first brush with entrepreneurship theory and a first-hand exploration too. That was my first paper presentation outside of my alma mater (TISS).
In the same week as of this legend passing away, Kochuouseph Chittilapally of V-Gurad and Veegaland or Wonder-La fame was being honoured by the National Institute of Personnel Management in Kochi on the occasion of its National Conference.
Mr. Sreedharan of the Konkan railways and Delhi Metro fame was being consulted for his prowess in the same space of time. The contrasts between the 3 profiles, an illustration of risk and innovation ingredients in accomplishments. It is also fascinating that cousins Ravi J Mathai and Verghese Kurien traveled to Gujarat to make their mark on the nation. That some who take risk also innovate may also be true.
Last week, we went on a social visit to my dad's cousin. Innovative he still is. But risk is not a feature he would take to the marketplace. He has designed and crafted his own furniture, laid marble on the floor himself, developed a functional coconut scraper with his own hands on the welding machine; but he won't sell his ideas nor take it to an entrepreneur. That robs the joy out of doing it he says.
The younger brother lacked the desire to engage the people in the commercial world. Am not saying the elder one was more adept at risk, but am sure, the brothers defined meanings in opportunities differently.
What actions will make for your PRESENCE in our world? Will it be 'risky' to act so?