30 minutes with Paul Polak

I really don't know if I was looking forward to this 30 minutes or somewhat dreading it..... It was awkward enough for me to be in company of someone so important....someone who have reached out to about 17 million people enabling them out of poverty!

Paul Polak, Founder of International Development Enterprises; Founder of D-Rev: Design for the other 90% and also the Founder of Windhorse International is one of our mentors here at the Unreasonable Institute and luckily enough even after the amazing sessions that we get to have with these mentors, each one of us is still offered time of about 30 minutes talk with them during scheduled out times. And my 30 minutes talk was just approaching while I floated inside my mind to gather each specific thing I would like to discuss to him.

The 30 minutes hadn't yet started perhaps when I started out of breath about what we were doing at Sughar, and most amazingly enough he helped me to feel more calm by asking more questions. The 4 strategy model at Sughar to prevent honor killings in Pakistan came as something interesting to him and it wasn't a few minutes when we were emerged in dialogue about how everything was set up and how some failure of our approach made us achieve even higher results.

One thing very interesting is, Paul Polak is someone with whom you would feel like, he is saying : Got 'ya! he did get me if not anyone else, the thoughts of him as someone who was probably too emerged into what he was doing and the fact that he indeed had lot on his hands and might not give much thought to what small just-taken-birth organizations would be doing, he got me because he was opposite of all that I thought, his concentration towards Sughar and what we did awed me.

"Providing people livelihoods and growing their income especially in the case of women, is to me the first solution to all problems", he said. He mentioned about the social restrictions to women in Bangladesh and how this very women bringing income to her family was the one who could break these restrictions and was respected and had a more higher self-esteem. The point is how you stand against a problem or better use that very problem to become the solution itself and while Sughar doing the same thing, he said our approach was much closer to where we start thinking about scalability and sustainability, which is one thing that cant be done by profit for your organization nor the profit for poor or whom you are working with.

I had the great privilege to be introduced through Paul to Paul Meyers of The Ten Thousand Villages organization, which reaches out to millions of people with an effective model of sustainability and scalability including replicable approaches. While talking to him on the phone I got a lot of insight on how organizations ought to be more persistence to some set goals which are hard to achieve at sometimes and in the case where a lot of competition is expected, planning and implementation need a lot of strategies.

Furthermore during my talk to Paul in 30 minutes, I could realize that his basic words most amazingly reflected that if you own a powerful idea, you may feel the need of a power organizational-setup to run it, otherwise its all waste. Thinking in the context of projects makes things unsustainable and thus ineffective and when activities are pre-planned with a strong revenue in-hand, that helps to impact millions if that's what your goal is. I just couldn't agree more!