Aravind Case Study Introduction In a country plagued by curable and needless blindness, 58 year-old surgeon Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy recognized upon retirement that his 100,000 sight-restoring surgeries were not enough of an impact to fight blindness in India and cure the 12 million people affected by it. With a big dream, but no money, no business plan, and no safety net, he embarked on a journey to start an organization with a single purpose in mind: to give sight for all. Starting with a small 11-bed clinic, he went on to create the Aravind Eye Care System, today’s largest and most productive blindness-prevention organization on the planet, which sees more than 2.5 million patients a year. With the success that Aravind has had, it is undeniable that they are doing something right, and for that reason it is important to analyze them to determine what has made them such a high performance social enterprise. This analysis will provide a detailed explanation of the determining factors behind their success; especially the motivation behind Aravind, and the innovation at the core of the enterprise. The analysis will also provide a brief opinion on how their novel approach can be used to deal with problems in US healthcare. Motivation by Social Impact and Spirituality The motivation behind Dr.V’s creation of Aravind was never about profits, selfishness, or any sort of personal accolade or recognition. The main motivator was to restore people’s vision, and improve the way they live their lives coupled with “bringing higher consciousness to transform mind and body and souls of people,” including his own. Sri Aurbindo’s beliefs that “ perfection is the consciousness that surpasses any form which we can give it” is what shaped Dr.V’s own beliefs. Perfection is a concept that is ambiguous for most of us, but for Dr. V it now had a meaning. Being perfect was based on self-development, consciousness, pushing your limits, understanding your own limitations, and helping people be the best they can be. For that reason, Dr.V focused a lot of his time in understanding himself, developing himself both mentally, physically, and spiritually; feeling empathy for people’s suffering, and working hard and with an attitude of inner attunement like Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi.
Dr. V also took to heart Sri Aurobindo’s idea that ‘humans have the capacity to shape their lives in harmony with the deeper forces at play, and that by doing so, they actively help all of creation make an evolutionary leap to its summit potential.” In other words, to Dr. V the creation of Aravind was not just the creation of an eye care facility, but to it was his grain of salt towards the bigger development and evolution of the world as a whole, and it represented a spiritual movement in the field of eye care. He didn’t care whether or not a person had money to pay for their services, since his motivation was to create the highest possible social impact, regardless of whether it meant having free or ultra-subsidized surgeries. In Dr. Aravind Srinivasan own words “Dr. V over time has built a conviction in us that serving the poor is good. That giving most of your services away for free is good.” It was this mix of spiritual motivation with a genuine desire to positively impact people’s lives that helped shape Aravind and anyone who was part of it. Dr. V was also not concerned with keeping secret the processes and innovations behind Aravind’s success, instead, he treated every other hospital, social business, or firm as a partner in his fight towards curing curable blindness. Aravind became known to give away their secrets to their success to ‘competitors’ and help hospitals model after them. Since it was first founded, Aravind de linked its aspirations from money, and treated it with equanimity. Money was “neither an obsession nor an obscenity, but a tool that aids in the restoration of sight.” Dr. V’s beliefs and motivations...
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