Dear CCS Champion,
What are the three things that make me proud of being at CCS? Chairman Luis Mirada has talked about the work achievements of CCS during the year; let’s focus on the rest of CCS and the environs in which it functions.
We evolved and deepened a collaborative leadership model of governance. We have been thinking about my succession plan and have been trying different models, including hiring a COO from outside or promoting one from inside. Through these experiences and dialogues, what evolved as an effective governance model is that of collaborative leadership: all five department heads and I make up the Management Group (MG) and all organizational decisions are taken by the MG. Moreover, we are moving towards each department developing an ‘autonomy contract’ with me that extends the areas of autonomy with clear performance, including fund raising targets.
I am particularly grateful to the five department heads for taking this journey together: Amit Chandra (Advocacy), Baishali Bomjan (Development & Strategy), Manoj Mathew (Operations & Outreach), Rohan Joshi (Research) and Samta Arora (Academy). They have represented CCS at many national and international forums. They have together made it possible for me to be just a regular participant in all the major public events of CCS; I was actually abroad during our flagship education conference, School Choice National Conference in December. Board members Amit Kaushik, Gurcharan Das, Luis Miranda and Premila Nazareth have actively participated in these events and encouraged them to be the leaders of their programs. CCS and I are truly blessed to have such a great leadership team and the Board.
I am sure you have noticed the re-articulation of the CCS purpose/vision statement: Each individual leads a life of choice in personal, economic and political spheres and every institution is accountable. In short, each individual leads a life of choice and every institution is accountable. It does not say free enterprise or free markets, capitalism or laissez faire, not even limited government, individual rights, rule of law—the terms that are commonly used to describe liberal or libertarian think tanks around the world. We have come to view those ideas as means to the goal of individual choice and institutional accountability which remains our core purpose.
The mission statement talks about promoting choice and accountability across public and private sectors in the areas of our focus through research, pilot projects, and advocacy. The areas of focus are in two buckets--policy domains and policy training. The policy domains that we currently focus on are education and livelihoods, and policy training includes all the work of CCS Academy (policy courses, internships, colloquiums and conferences). A concise way to think about the work of CCS is through policy change and mindset/ideas change. Through research, pilot projects and advocacy, we work on specific policy change and through Academy programs, we work on ideas change. Thanks to the support of Nandan Nilekani, Academy is now the biggest team at CCS- India’s ideas shall change.
This clarity of the vision and mission has been instrumental in shaping our overall strategy as well as annual goals. The challenge for a think tank is to find a right balance between planned work and on-demand work. If it leans too much towards planned work then it would not be able to take advantage of changes in governments and their priorities and the changes in public opinion and discourse. If it focuses too much on responding to extant circumstances, then it runs the danger of losing its focus on its core purpose. We are proud that we have been able to find a good balance between inspiration and strategy and between spontaneity and predictability. Though of course, this is always a work in progress.
The pages in our Annual Report 2015-16 highlights our key successes this past year. We hope you are as proud of our achievements as we are—they have been made possible only with your continued support. Our sincere gratitude for putting your confidence in CCS to advance social change through public policy.
May this Year bring each individual a life of CHOICE!