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What can 3 Idiots teach us about technology?

Nonprofit Software Selection requires uniqueness

While working at a former company, I felt very fortunate to work with a diverse workforce. With this diversity, we are able to benefit from the various backgrounds in what we do in helping Nonprofit Associations achieve great things with software. We believed that our diversity adds considerable value to our mission and helps with the execution of our strategy day to day. We believed it was a differentiator.

During a recent “Margaritaville Go Live”, a company meeting we have to celebrate the accomplishments of our team members and customers after completing a project, one of our staff recommended we watch a movie called “3 Idiots” , which is made in India. The movie is about 3 Engineering Students from India.

The moral premise is that each individual is unique and has special gifts. You should follow your passion, not the will of others. If your passion is nurtured and developed, success will be achieved. One must follow “Your Dreams” not “Others Dreams”.

There is one special “Idiot” in this movie. And, the other ” 2 Idiots”  are driven by pressure from parents, peers, and society to achieve excellence in a noble profession, engineering, at a prestigious school.

In the view of society, as played out in the movie, “Excellence” and “Worth” is achieved only with “Perfection” & “Conformity” . 

3 Idiots

In the For Profit world,  this theme is all too applicable to most organization. The bottom line is the bottom line. Success is usually attained by increasing revenue and keeping up with your pack of peers.

However, the wonderful aspect of being a nonprofit (or working for or within the community) is that there is a common likeness or shared cause which stimulates the work to be performed each and every day. Certainly, revenue and being a good steward with your resources is adhered too, but the goals are unique.

We believe your strategy and passion should be paramount in the pursuit to find new ways of enhancing your mission forward. In the pursuit, technology should be viewed as an enabler for your organization. One that allows you to foster, develop, and nurture your mission.

It’s important that your strategy is clear, the metrics by which you determine success explicit, and it should be used as your litmus test for the question of which technology you need to succeed. We believe that it is imperative that Strategic System Assessments are performed prior to the review of any technology.

Without your purpose defined and agreed upon by all stakeholders (staff, executives, board, & donors/members), you are limiting the possibilities of your growth potential. As in the movie, be careful not to fall into the trap of “conformity“, “peer pressure“, or “a silo voice” in the ranks which could lead you down the wrong path.

For example,  if only one person is leading the charge, invariably there will tend to be bias toward their particular needs and not necessarily the needs of the enterprise. It’s critical that you have a collaborative exploration of the desired outcome which is tied to your mission. The movie, 3 Idiots, is lighthearted in spirit, and intended to provide a view into how well intended pressure can sometimes cause unintended consequences.

With software selection searches, it’s easy to move down the path of least resistance. Ex. It’s less expensive, so at least it will please the executive or board. In reality, the consequences can be detrimental long after the contract is signed.

In the last 18 years, we have been through many software selection projects and are well positioned to help identify and frame your path in making a good decision for all parties involved in the process ( staff, members, and boards).

Please contact us, if you are interested in discussing more.


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