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Our3Q – Tandemic, Malaysia

Kal – founder of Tandemic, a company that provides consulting, training, and venture building for people who want to create social change.

 

Q1: What do you appreciate yourself in the business mainly for?

From the traditional point of view, two of our initiatives: Do Something Good and Make We Can are our success. Make We Can became the largest design thinking-based program in SEA with 5.000 people per workshop. Do Something Good is quite a sizeable platform, with few hundred thousand registered volunteers. From a less traditional point of view of success, we are proving that something is possible. A lot of people think that the kind of work which we do in Malaysia is just not possible. Building social venture and generating income, what the hell is this! For me it is part of building a new kind of culture. You don’t have to be poor and run an NGO which is constantly straggling to make impact and bring money. It doesn’t have to be necessary how the social sector looks like. For me creating that culture and a community of people around this organization thinking that way it has been more important.

 

Q2: What is the biggest challenge for you now?

Finding social entrepreneurs is still the biggest challenge. People measure themselves against pretty high standards. Especially in this part of the world you are expected to get married and have a job in a respected company and work up the ladder. Anybody who detouch from that has not only an internal fight but is questioned from the outside as well by family, by friends. You know, this guy has a really nice car and I’m working 17h per day in a social enterprise, did I make a right decision? And what respect do I get to work in this kind of organization? Now startups start to become sexy so it’s a little bit easier to follow that path or switch from corporate, but it hasn’t happen for social enterprises yet, I’m not even sure it will happen. So one component of our talent pipe strategy is actually to build the so called bridging workshops created for people who were in corporations for 6-7 years and themselves they are thinking maybe it’s not for me. A lot of people don’t do the transition to the social sector because they don’t know what’s on the other side. If you bought a car and a condo it’s very risky decision as you need certain amount of money to pay every month. So we think if we can show them how the next 9 months will look like, it will be easier to take a risk.

 

Q3: What advice do you have for yourself in this situation?

We still have a lot of things to do with businesses and projects which we run. For this year we have 3 key strategies. Talent pipe is one. The second is doing a social innovation modeling. We are working on a number of social venture initiatives to design products and services and to show others how we do it, what are some of our tools and methods. The third strategy is to build a kind of university for changemakers, under that we will grab bunch of our training development programs. But the big idea is that today there is still not enough people appearing who can create social change at a great scale. We built social enterprises which served couple of hundreds of people, or maybe even thousands, but it’s not a scale up solution. I think it is important to think about the scale. So one thing is to equip people to create high impact social change. And that’s the three pillars: demand, we nurture the will of people to create large scale social change; two is to provide different framework, creating movement; the last is to encourage them to really take action.

 

Would you like to add something else?

Let me tell you more about Tandemic. There are 3 parts of our work. One is venture building: we build products, services and social ventures, for other people and for ourselves. Two is training development, we do trainings for example about design thinking. And third is consulting work. Quite often we build something and then try to let somebody else running it. Beside two projects: Do Something Good and Give.my with which we are still closely cooperating because there is a lot of synergy. And if I have to say something to people who will read this interview… I think that the most important thing to keep in mind is that every problem can be solved. We just have to figure out how. There is a way but we may not have found it yet. Building a startup is a search process; building a social enterprise is a search process for the right kind of solution to a social challenge. If we fall in love with our initial idea, we trap ourselves with our initial solution which may not be the right one. But if we fall in love with the problem, then we open ourselves up to a lot of different ways to actually tackle it.

 

The questions were asked on our behalf by Anna and Andrea from How to (ex) change the world.

exchangebabel.com

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2nd January, 2016

ID: 030/100

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