Building service verticals for organizations to navigate the ‘new normal’: In Conversation with Priya Kekre, CEO, Fieldscope

Fieldscope is a social-enterprise catalyzing skilled-collaboration for India’s development sector practitioners and researchers, using technology.

They do this in two ways:

Fieldscope Marketplace: A platform for flexible and remote-work   collaboration through a marketplace of independent talent.

Fieldscope Managed: Bespoke solutions to meet the communications needs for development researchers and practitioners through a  dedicated team.

 

What have been your key actions, initiatives and outcomes around the COVID-19 response?

Recognizing the importance and need for localized material in the early stages of COVID prevention, we quickly collated resources from different organizations and shared them among our network of users, clients and supporters. The main motivation was to amplify existing efforts from trusted sources without recreating the wheel.

We roped in the language expertise of our service providers to translate the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, official health behavioral messaging for COVID prevention. 

To meet the changing needs of the sector, we are building out two service verticals as a response to the anticipated change in how organizations will adapt post-COVID:

  1. Remote data collection: As, in-field surveys and other data collection exercises will become increasingly challenging, Fieldscope is building a cadre of trained and experienced specialists who can be hired on-demand. This enables teams lacking the in-house bandwidth or capacity to collect data remotely, meet their M&E data needs through our platform through a flexible model.
  2. Voice Artists: The push for digital education has been around for some time and has only been further strengthened with the setbacks to in-class experiences post-COVID along with the recent changes to the National Education Policy (NEP). To meet the growing needs of producing high-quality multilingual online educational content, we are committing to expand into voice-over services. By training domain-experienced providers for voice-over services, we hope to aid ed-tech and other education-focussed organizations increase the accessibility of their content especially for low-literacy and visually-impaired students.

 

What are your biggest learnings/challenges?

Our main learning is that these are unprecedented times, and the setbacks to “life as we knew it” will take real personal investment to first adapt and then thrive in. Most importantly, we have to be kind to each other and ourselves for not feeling “enough” or doing “enough”- there is both hope and solace in collective solidarity. 

Now more than ever, collaboration in its real sense is what can enable effective action.

Coming to the challenges, with personal circumstances and the travel restrictions that COVID brought, our founding team is operating from outside India currently. We’ve had to adapt to working remotely across geographies and staying connected as best as we can to serve the community we built Fieldscope for. We are seeing this as an opportunity to further our understanding and mission of leveraging online skilled collaboration for the social-sector. 

All other challenges are similar to what many are presumably facing: mitigating the damage from the crisis personally and professionally, recognizing new opportunities for the most impact and pivoting as per those needs. 

 

Any stories/insights emerged from the field or from your work?

Pre-COVID, Fieldscope’s initial service offerings such as translation and transcription were instrumental in aiding on-field activities especially those of researchers and practitioners working on the ground. We realized that with most field operations coming to a halt (barring essential service deployment), the sector’s skilled requirements are going to evolve. 

Through Fieldscope, clients such as VideoWiki were able to quickly identify the right skilled talent as per their budget to create multilingual videos for COVID prevention rolled out across the country. 

 

How did you leverage the COVID Action Collaborative? How do you plan on doing so in the future?

The CAC plugged in our crowdsourced folder of COVID materials to their networks which I hope has helped teams looking for such resources

As an early-stage startup, we are hopeful that the network will increase the visibility of Fieldscope’s work and services to those teams who may benefit from the platform while giving us access to learn from the wide spectrum of member’s needs. This will only help us build a better and more impactful product. 

After our initial introduction to the member network, we already have several good leads for talent that signed-up on the platform, as well as interest from like-minded impact enthusiasts to collaborate with in the future!

 

Written by Shravya Srinivas 

About the Author: 

Shravya is a recent undergraduate from Vellore Institute of Technology. Although from a Computer Science and Engineering background, she aspires to work in Strategy & Growth. Outside academics, she is passionate about volunteering and helping people in need.

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