He stands without notes and talks about his work. Aloysius Fernandez, founder of the movement that WEvolution is taking forward in the U.K. If there is ego it isn’t easy to discern. But he clearly doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

Every five minutes or so he captures several years of learning in a single line or paragraph of wisdom:

  • Speed kills. Why are we rushing, expecting to solve the world’s problems quickly. It takes time. Ten years for MYRADA to really get going. We are still learning.
  • Concept is King. Get the concept right. That means spending time in the communities you serve, really understanding citizen capabilities.
  • The Self-Help Affinity Group is the first step, not the last step. The group provides the platform for development, of the members, of the group, of the communities in which they live and of the economy.
  • Look beyond the Self-Help Affinity Groups, and cross-subsidise. This movement is creating all kinds of new opportunities for innovation. Use them.
  • Devolve, devolve, devolve.
  • The organisation is like a parent.
  • The four “E’s” Economy, Empowerment, Equality and Environment (Actually these were Joyti’s words of wisdom).
  • Subsidise the service, not the asset.

I add a few more, things I have seen elsewhere that are evident in Fernandez’s approach.

  • Separate the core and adaptable. The core is what makes the innovation work. Don’t mess around with that. The adaptable is what makes people think it is special to them, that creates a queue of impatient customers. The core for the Self-help Affinity Groups comprises groups, trust, and the opportunity for enterprise.
  • This all pull, and no push. It is not possible to push tens of millions of Self-help Affinity Groups onto reluctant women. The women who join want to do this. It is to their advantage. If their neighbour got the opportunity and they did not they would be jealous.