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Rule Of One: The Power Of Social Intrapreneurship

The book shows you how to think like an entrepreneur for social benefit, but within an existing organization and handling the shareholder's money with care.

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The book 'The Rule Of One' by Kazi I. Huque, Narayan Sundararajan & Jacen Greene, provides an insider's perspective into the making of a successful social start-up - with warts and the honey. The core of the book is social entrepreneurship and it can easily serve as a guide for upcoming and aspiring social intrapreneurs. Huque, Sundararajan and Greene take the reader on a journey through the inception and workings of Grameen Intel, a collaboration between Intel & Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and founder of Grameen Bank. The book is crafted uniquely, with stories of Grameen Intel interwoven with theoretical concepts of social intrapreneurship which is a refreshing break from the usual tedious and commonly impractical advice touted in various self-help books. 

Seeing the real-life application of these theories in Grameen Intel would inspire any aspiring social intrapreneur. One of the most striking examples is how Kazi and Narayan, unconsciously followed the stages of intrapreneurship given by Alistair Croll and Ben Yoskovitz as essentials for success. This is how the reader ends up rooting for Grameen Intel through their various successes and tribulations. 

Grameen Intel helps in creating organizations with distinct structures, approaches, and funding, and each of these new social businesses could pursue their preferred approach to address their targeted problems without having to fit within an existing Grameen model. 

The book shows you how to think like an entrepreneur for social benefit, but within an existing organization and handling the shareholder's money with care. Contrary to how usual tech startups begin by having the product first and making the company later, Grameen Intel switched the system by having a company structure first and then developing products within that umbrella. The book also juxtaposes a "traditional" tech-startup with a tech-start-up focused on social development on various facets like market-research, needs and logistics.

The book is an essential guide for how a modern corporation can create real sustainable change for people who need it, through technology and an unwavering spirit. Kazi, Sundararajan & Greene, the former two being at the helm of Grameen Intel since the inception, do not shy away from addressing the challenges associated with starting up a social organization with no short-term gains within a for-profit organization. They outline how they brought business, technology and research expertise to address a host of issues in healthcare, education and agriculture in Bangladesh. 

Through the various chapters, from learning ground-level realities to personal stories inspiring the authors, the book covered areas where they have been successful, as well as where they would have done things differently. It ends on a positive note calling for innovation and real grit in a sector which does not benefit merely from corporate brainstorming sessions, PowerPoint strategies, abstract theories or fancy concepts. Yet, it stresses on the power of one need, one customer, one solution and most importantly, the power of one intrapreneur. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Kazim Rizvi

The author is a Founding Director, The Dialogue, a tech policy think tank

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