This was the follow up trip, of my earlier blog "Motivation is the outcome of Frustration", yes some of us decided to accept an offer to vising Selco Labs and see innovation first hand.
After a tiring journey of 9+ hours we reached Ujjire, near Dharmasthala (Karnataka). After a quick check-in at the hotel, we started off to meet some of the customers of Selco. We met three happy customers happy to show us the solar light installations in their little homes. There is no electric supply here. They rely on the Solar panel to light up their homes. The basic installation containing 1 light and 6 LEDs costs them 14, 500 and the loan EMI comes up to 330 Rs a month at the rate of 11% p.a.
Most of us enjoy electricity at our homes at subsidised rates and misuse it. How many of us would be ready to give off the subsidy, and use some greener energy at home? Forget going green, for the sake of the subsidy given to us, let us use electricity only as much as we require.
I experienced "Athithi Devo Bhavah!" first hand, at the homes of these customers. They offered us some sweet for being there, which would perhaps shaken their daily budget (remember they earn for the day). The exemplary service provided by Selco needs to be highlighted here. The Selco representatives, reach out to their prospects try to understand their problems (read requirement gathering) and propose a product (read software) most suited to them (read customizing). How many of us software engineers know of the end user using our software, and if it really makes their life any simple?? Innovation is embedded into the system. In one particular instance the sale representatives, realized that the customers were finding it difficult to get loans to buy the solar equipment. They suggested Selco deposits an amount equivalent to the price of the equipment in the bank as guarantee, and as the customers pay off the loan Selco can withdraw an equivalent of the amount from the deposit.
This is social entrepreneurship, not merely preached but followed passionately!