Social Intrapreneurship: It gives you goose bumps

Goat rearing is the main source of income for the tribal population in South India. Basic knowledge on how to keep goats healthy and recognize disease symptoms can make a huge difference – not just for the goats, but for the whole community.

In 2018, Simon Golms, an IT expert at Boehringer Ingelheim in Germany, was contacted by a colleague involved in Making More Health’s project to support villagers in learning more about goat keeping. The team wanted to develop an app, and after being introduced to the project, Simon dedicated his time, passion, and expertise into the project.

During development, Simon had to be very agile and to take over several roles: “There was no big team or money available. We just had to deal with what we had. I learned about the importance of changing perspective, and I improved my problem solving skills. ”The project was beyond his normal business context – Simon had a lot to learn as the success of the app depended on its acceptance by the goat keepers: “We started with the idea to create a minimum viable product, as user-friendly as possible for our village people on the ground. I learned a lot about goats and goat health, of course, but also about the importance of the cultural context: Usage of colors and how they are embedded in cultures and about the role of pictures in which users will recognize themselves, and about India and its values,” explains Simon.

At the end of 2019, Simon traveled to Coimbatore, India for the Making More Health Leadership Insights Week, where he experienced the local culture in person. During a conversation with a local doctor, he realized the potential impact of the goat app on the ground: A feeling that gives him “goose bumps” even now.

Currently, the app is still a public beta because final translation and development steps are still required. It will be available for the iOS and Android operating systems in multiple languages. The app is set to function fully offline due to the deficient network coverage in rural India, and it has audible content due to the high level of illiteracy especially among the elderly. As a further goal, he would like to make the app an open-source project to widen the possibilities for collaboration. Simon advises colleagues who want to engage as social intrapreneurs to “go about it openly and with pleasure. Use your skills, talent, expertise, and experience to support those who ask for help. By so doing you will make the world a better place.”