Explaining iSPIRT – ‘Olympic Gold Quest’ for India’s Product Winners

iSPIRT does not fit into known mental model for many folks, they often ask what exactly is it? Few say it is hard to pin it inside a known category or even describe it in words.
The 2017 annual letter contains thoughts on what iSPIRT stands for. Some more explanation below on the why who and the how of iSPIRT.
Folks involved with iSPIRT are people with a passion for seeing “India as a Product Nation”. It is a grand vision of seeing the Indian product industry to be at least five times the size of the IT services industry.
Product Nation $500bn

 The why and the what.

India’s answer to global product winner may get shaped through two siblings. The fist is in Saas (Software as Service), India will be for global Saas what Israel is for cyber security. The second is that “India 2″ also known Bharat market will be the envy of the world.
In either case winning the battle of platforms and ecosystems ie essential. Additionally, a new mindset to help win in the global rules of the game is critical. iSPIRT efforts affect both.
Battle of Ecosystems and Mindsets
Difference between historically ace sprinters Jesse Owens and Usain Bolt of 14 strides is in the ecosystem where they ran.
Amiya Malik had the potential and the ecosystem support to be an Usain Bolt. But he declared victory too early in his mind by not having an underdog mindset.

Think tank, 30 year architect

ISPIRT is Olympic Gold Quest for Product Winners
Most apt technical description of iSPIRT is that it is a think tank. Which mean it is not an association, not a trade body, not a lobbyist group, or not academia.
A think tank is best understood as “university without students”. It takes the necessary long-term time scale view to solving hard problems.
30 Year Architect
iSPIRT works with all ecosystem stakeholders for the necessary influence of change. Yet it stands for the product founder who is the man in the arena.
Product Founder

Four pillars of public goods

All iSPIRT initiatives fall under one of the four pillars of public goods generated.
  • Public technology platform that can create local markets,
  • Policy work to educate and remove irritants of doing product business.
  • Market access program that brings buyers and sellers together who have not met before. Indian startups & Global Corporates for example.
  • Playbook for product business skill so that as an ecosystem we make newer mistakes. 
iSPIRT 4 Pillars
Initiatives are levers that are stage dependent
stage dependent initiatives

Volunteer Engine, Belief, Credo keep us together

iSPIRT while is a think tank has a heavy bias for action. Several people volunteer and  ‘pay it forward’ through time, donation and other contribution.
The operating model is inspired by Wikipedia. Two broad type of volunteers, the ones who lead an initiative called as Fellows. Other contributors have different names based intiatives Saarthi, Maven, Policy Sherpa etc.
Currently there are 24 Fellows and ~195 contributors. Volunteers sign a code of conduct to help address any conflict of interest while creating the public goods.
iSPIRT Credo
To put in a tweet-size “iSPIRT is like the Olympic Gold Quest for India’s Product Winners”