Presenting the iSPIRT Governing Framework

It has been a great, great year here at iSPIRT, and though we have a long way yet to go, we are confident that we are well on our way to get to where we want to be.

After all, well begun is half done.

But then, there is also the question of structure, not unlike the problem entrepreneurs face they have to scale their business – when the organization becomes big and responsibilities fragment and become more focussed, what if the core values get diluted?

This is why principles are important, and since we started with an ideal we wanted to reach, we have distilled it into three governing principles , which are –

  1. Radical transparency
    This is crucial to continued operation of our ‘peer production’ (volunteer) model.
  2. Polycentric governance aka Panchayat system
    Which means that SPIRT is bigger than any one individual.
  3. Open-Access Public Goods
    We work for many and not for any one company, no matter how important it might be.

The Governing Council (GC) is responsible for upholding these governing principles and ensuring integrity across the board. The GC is about empowerment, not control. It helps clarify the causes and initiatives that we pursue. It is responsible to the SPI at large and not to donors. Our inspiration comes from the world of Wikipedia and Linux.  It’s a world where people are organized but there is no traditional organization; disputes are resolved and order prevails but there is no single person in control.

In the GC, we have a clear conception of the long-term outcomes that we seek. Today SPI is not even an identified industry. We seek to change this. As we argued in the 2012 iSPIRT Annual Letter, India’s future depends on a vibrant software product industry.

To accelerate the growth of SPI we seek a healthier power-law distribution of big and small firms. Our focus on market catalysts like M&A Connect, Global CIO Connect (InTech50) and Software Adoption Initiative are geared to help companies scale faster. In keeping with the global practice, we measure ecosystem’s success in terms of market capitalization, not revenues. We hope to overtake Israel in number and value of M&A deals in the coming years.

The Governing Council is going to champion three causes in this regard –

  1. Solve market coordination failures (e.g. through M&A Connect Program),
  2. Influencing policy,
  3. Synthesizing and evangelizing playbook for faster success.

We recognize that these aren’t everyday tasks. And iSPIRT is just getting started. With our almost audacious mission of transforming India at large through use of software products, we know this is a marathon, not a sprint.

This governing framework that we are sharing with you has evolved from numerous discussions and conversations with our Founder Circle membersFellows, Mavens and Saarthis over the last many months.  By placing this in the public domain, we once again commit ourselves to building a durable Think Tank that’ll turn India into a Product Nation.

Bharat Goenka (Tally Solutions), Jay Pullur (Pramati Technologies), Naveen Tewari (InMobi), Sharad Sharma (BrandSigma), Vishnu Dusad (Nucleus Software), Governing Council, iSPIRT Foundation