By Rusen Kumar

BANGALORE: Abhishek Ranjan leads Banking Industry Marketing, Sustainability  and CSR for Brillio Technology, a global IT firm. Abhishek carries a decade of experience in Marketing and Social Sector. He was handpicked by his CEO to setup the CSR and Sustainability  framework of his company. In a chat with Rusen Kumar, Editor, India CSR, Abhishek Ranjan, Global Head, Sustainability, CSR and BFSI Industry Marketing at Brillio shared his company’s vision on CSR and recent initiatives in detail. He says that CSR is referred as the soul of his organization. A global CSR campaign ‘Bringing Smiles’ is recently launched  in his leadership to bring joy and smiles to young minds through digital technology and technology intervention. Edited excerpt:

Tell us about Brillio technology journey and business philosophy?

Abhishek Ranjan copyBrillio is a global technology consulting firm which started its journey in 2014, focused on leveraging emerging technologies for innovation and application modernization. Dedicated to creating innovative digital experiences for clientele, Brillio uses advanced digital engineering to ensure these experiences run smoothly, and enables customer-facing and operational insights with the power of big data analytics. The company’s philosophy is around how to get a better customer experience and enable ease of use of these technologies for customers. Brillio brings business expertise to clients in Banking and Finance, Utilities, CPG, Retail, Technology, Media and Entertainment industries and is proud to serve leaders who are a part of Fortune 500 from these industries.

Our readers want to know about your company’s CSR journey. Please discuss in detail.

Brillio, which is just two and half years old, has a very robust CSR practice. Internally, CSR is referred as the soul of the organization. Our CSR journey started in 2015 with the belief that to build a great company it is not enough just to develop great products and solutions but also contribute to the society. Brillio’s CSR initiatives are directly driven under the guidance of our CEO, Raj Mamodia, thereafter lead by the CSR team.

Bringing Smiles’ is the theme for our overall global CSR intiative,. It essentially stands for bringing joy and smiles to young minds through digital technology and technology intervention. Brillio believes that as a technology company, along with business growth, we can also make an impact in society by providing technologies for education, digital literacy, and skill development. From the beginning, the company had a clear vision and focus on three areas: technology intervention and education, digital literacy and skill development with technology.

Brillio has committed to achieving a goal of reaching 100,000 young minds, aged 10-16 years old, globally by 2020. The company aims to be an influential part of their lives, helping to shape their careers over a span of 6-7 years, supporting them and to be a mentor. The organization aims to achieve this with the help of its employees; who have volunteered to pledge 100,000 hours of their time. Our team works with various government schools to reduce the digital divide. We strive to provide the same level of exposure and innovation to all. We want to support and invest in a new digital economy through smart classes, e-learning projects, innovation workshops, interactive self-learning initiatives and active skills sharing. Brillio’s CSR philosophy is that technology can be an enabler in fostering an innovative mindset in children at an early stage. This is where we will be able to create digital interventions for learning that will transform education and skill development.

Do you have your corporate foundation for implementation of CSR projects?

Brillio doesn’t have a corporate foundation, instead we are able to achieve our goals through the generosity of our employees who volunteer countless hours to help our CSR projects. Brillio’s CSR program as well as the project management is handled internally.

What is the implementing method of CSR?

The CSR team at Brillio takes care of the program and project management for all the CSR initiatives of the company. We ensure that the whole implementation will be done end-to-end, from identifying the beneficiary to the time the impact is measured. As a company, Brillio doesn’t believe in the event-based approach or doing one-off activities but rather supports the program-based approach of supporting and investing in long term programs to make sure that the impact is higher. Most of our programs are covered, governed, managed and implemented directly by the CSR team. We also have a very innovative model to co-govern the projects we do with our non-profit partners.

Do you have CSR committee as per CSR Law?

Yes, Brillio does have a CSR committee. Bringing Smiles is the global CSR campaign, both in India and the US and the company has a committee that adheres to country specific laws and regulations.

For more information, please refer to the website – Brillio India – CSR Policy

What is your CSR team strength?

Globally, we have two members working and dedicating all their time to CSR. They are supported by 10 volunteer leads at each location who oversee the different activities. Additionally, we have nearly 200 volunteers across our different geographies.

What are key CSR projects initiated recently?

Brillio has various CSR projects globally which are aimed at creating long term impact on the lives of young minds. Some of the key ones are highlighted below:

  • We work with more than 20 government schools in Bengaluru and Trivandrum in India. We have implemented digital literacy sessions and four e-learning centers for them. Also, in 15 of these schools we have Science, Technology, and Digital sessions with the facility to conduct hands-on science experiments and develop computer and computer-application knowledge, which weren’t available otherwise
  • Through our ‘Share a meal’, in Seattle, US, every Thursday the employees of Brillio skip a meal to contribute that money to buy food for the underprivileged. The employees who usually step out to get a meal, instead eat a very light meal one day per week to help the ones in need. The donation collected through this event goes to a Food Bank that work towards eradicating hunger.
  • Brillio supports students of the Sunrise Middle School, which is the lowest ranked Middle School in San Jose, We are providing them richer experience in technology education on a regular basis.
  • We also encourage the Thank God it’s Friday! (TGIF) concept, but with a twist.  Since the inception of the Bringing Smiles program, every Friday from 2 to 3 pm the CSR volunteers at Brillio step out to teach and spend time with underprivileged children in Bangalore and Trivandrum.
  • Brillio has 50 e-teachers, across the globe, teaching Science, Math and English to rural students in India via Skype and Google Hangouts. This initiative is done in partnership with eVidyaloka, a not for profit organization

What are the communication strategies to inform stakeholders at Brillio Technology?

The communication strategies are two-fold, traditional and digital. We use e-mails, conference calls, and email groups/ distribution lists (DLs) but focus on social media and mobile communication. Brillio’s CSR team has been using the WhatsApp platform extensively as users are notified instantaneously and are quick to participate. Many volunteers have also expressed they prefer this less formal yet involved form of communication. We also use WhatsApp for product and program ideation. Participants are able to vote on WhatsApp to finalize projects.  In fact, the name and the logo of the ‘Bringing Smiles’ campaign was finalized using WhatsApp. In total, there are 15 WhatsApp groups, one for each location, to enable localized and effective communications within the groups.

Another tool used is Microsoft Yammer, the social platform for businesses, to showcase the work we do. There are contests for sharing selfies of the products designed along with the children who are being helped and mentored. Along with this, the company uses outdoor communication such as posters, banners, goodies like t-shirts, caps, etc.

One project which is very close to your heart?

Brillio has various CSR initiatives but everything falls under the clear goal of reaching and helping 100,000 young minds. More than saying which project is close to heart, being involved in the process of inspiring young people to realize their own potential, is what brings us joy. To see the numbers, grow every day and visualize the smiles and joy spread, is what is close to Brillio’s hearts.

How do you view the difference between CSR and sustainability?

At Brillio, we believe in creating a culture of “Act Responsible and Think Sustainable”. Sustainability is a huge term and it involves three important components, or the 3Ps – People, Planet and Profit.

While Sustainability is the larger goal, CSR is a subset of the larger sustainability and the most important one as well. It is one of the three pillars of sustainability. CSR forms a part of the overall sustainability umbrella. For E.g. Brillio’s Bringing Smiles program is our CSR initiative. Our Sustainability initiative ‘Bringing Smiles – Sustaining Happiness’ involves other aspects of sustainability such as environmental impact reduction initiatives.

Would you like to add any more thoughts?

Brillio’s initiatives are all employee-centric. Recently we conducted an internal survey amongst the millennial employees asking about the three things that inspire them to be a part of Brillio. Undoubtedly, CSR was amongst the top three. This is mainly due to the inclusion of the employees in our initiatives and challenging them to strive better.

Brillio recognizes its employees’ efforts through various reward-based programs. One such example is our ‘Hike and Smile’ initiative at Brillio, which encourages and rewards our top 10 employees based on number of hours volunteered; with a fully sponsored mountaineering/hiking trip. The evaluation criteria include volunteering and community service both within and outside of the company’s CSR programs. This way the organization encourages corporate citizenship and its employees to serve as volunteers and spend time during office hours for the same.

Volunteering is recognized a great deal in the company, and takes a structured course. To give you a perspective on the numbers, 5000 volunteering hours have been clocked to date and impacted 5000 young minds. Within a year, the company has seen a 200% increase in the volunteer strength with 200 regular committed volunteers (i.e. 10% of Brillio’s workforce) and more than 600 people (i.e. 30% of Brillio’s workforce) have been a part of the CSR activities at least once since the inception.

About Abhishek Ranjan: Abhishek’s career started with IBM as Business Analyst and later worked for Oracle Financial Services, where he was credited with setting up the Customer Centers and Industry Relations function in India. He has expertise in managing Social Media and teaches Social Media Marketing at various institutions. Abhishek is also an avid blogger and his articles have been published by leading global publications and CSR websites including IndiaCSR.in. He served on the board of various non-profits and CSR/IT committees of CII, BCIC and NASSCOM. He is the Chairman of Rotary JBN Trust and the founder trustee of the Netra Lake Rejuvenation Trust. He recently awarded for his work in the area of lake and ward development by the Hon’ble Union Law Minister Shri Sadanada Gowda. He has led various community engagement projects. He has been invited as speaker by IIM Calcutta, Indian School of Business (ISB), Bangalore CSR Roundtable, Christ College, Rotary Club, Narsee Monjee, Symbiosis (SCMHRD), Banasthali University, Institute of Public Enterprise, Jyoti Niwas College, SSMRV College, Vishwa Yuva Kendra and many more such organizations. He has recently been selected as one of the 100 Most Impactful CSR Leaders (Global Listing) by World CSR Congress. Abhishek completed his PGDCA from IMT Ghaziabad, and an executive program on Digital and Social Media Marketing from ISB, Hyderabad. He can be reached on twitter @IAbhishekRanjan

CSR social channels of Brillio