Business model design

Social Impact

WE Festival: Way Cooler Than Davos

This was how Majora Carter started her talk at the Sustainability Panel this past weekend at the Women’s Entrepreneurship Festival at NYU ITP. Way cooler, because rather than meet with the Davos crowd and pontificate about worldchanging ideas, we were talking about how visionary women were bringing their worldchanging ideas to fruition.The conference was organized by Nancy Hechinger, an ITP professor, Joanne Wilson, the famous GothamGal of NYC, and Diana Rhoten of Startl, an education technology incubator, with Read More

When Everyone Becomes a Participant Observer

Tomorrow I’m participating in a “Breaching Boundaries” conversation at the American Anthropological Association’s yearly event. Here are my thoughts as a layperson and fan of anthropology; I went for a whole 10 years once without anthropology. After a few ethnography and anthropology classes in undergrad to support a comparative religion major, I took what I needed for critical thinking skills but tucked the rest of those liberal arts away so Read More

Measuring the Water Crisis – Blog Action Day

We tend to tell the story of developing world crisis in numbers:  Almost 1 billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us. Every day more than 4,000 children around the world die from diseases caused by poor water sanitation In Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours every year just walking for water. These statistics are abominable, shocking. But Read More

The GDP Killers

ROI, EPS, and GDP are acronyms under attack. From big picture to smaller picture, these acronyms all give order of magnitude value to the financial return of our efforts as humans on this earth. I’m going to start with the big picture, GDP, and look at the developing alternatives to a one number view of a country’s well being. GDP: Gross Domestic Product which is the value of private consumption, gross investment, government Read More

UNICEF Innovation: An SMS System That Saves Lives

Most non-governmental aid organizations like UNICEF rely on hand-written, hand-collected data and forms, sent to country capitols, and entered into national databases. Months pass before information is fully recorded and transmitted back to those who make decisions about critical food distribution, medicine, and other life-supporting help. UNICEF’s innovation team is changing the way governments and aid organizations respond to crisis by utilizing the accelerated adoption of hand-held mobile phones to Read More

The Million Baby Crawl: A Brand Takes a Political Stand

At Open Forum for Inhabitat: “We cannot stand, but we stand for something,” is the rallying cry for Seventh Generation’s latest marketing campaign, an effort to give babies a virtual voice in upcoming legislation about chemicals and kid safety. In a social media marketing effort, the company has partnered with Erin Brockovich and Safer Chemicals to draw attention to the Kid Safe Chemicals Act. Seventh Generation’s message is that, “babies everywhere are crawling to Washington Read More

The Darfur Stove Project

At Open Forum for Inhabitat: Every day in Darfur refugee camps, women leave to travel on six to seven hour missions to collect fuel wood for their meals, and every day these women increase their risk of violent attack. When Ashok Gadgil, a physicist at Lawerence Berkeley National Laboratory, visited Darfur to observe how families were cooking their meals and foraging for wood, he launched a project with Ken Chow through Engineers Read More

The Measure of Money: Social Impact Investing Grows Up

For Open Forum at Inhabitat: Are financial markets a force for social good? 1000+ entrepreneurs, NGO staffers, and financiers attended the second annual Social Capital Markets Conference (SOCAP09) to answer the question. One year later, the conversation transformed from enthusiastic optimism to a more scrupulous discussion about measurement, metrics, and proof. Interest in environmentally and socially beneficial investment is at an all time high, and so is the need for a common Read More

For Profit, For Good

At Open Forum for Inhabitat: Socially-minded venture entrepreneurs want a new kind of company. Choose for-profit, and you are unable to receive grants from foundations looking to fund the very social benefit you are aiming to provide. Choose not-for-profit, and you kill the entrepreneurial spirit, as you are limited from offering stock options, owning the company, or rewarding top employees when the organization is successful.  What is a burgeoning social Read More

Collecting Manifestos

Collecting Manifestos I’m collecting my favorite design (and other) manifestos via Social Text and others. Here are some to start. 1776   The United States Declaration of Independence 1789   The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen French Revolution 1812   The Cartagena Manifesto Simón Bolívar 1848   The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels 1919   Bauhaus Manifesto Walter Gropius 1924   Surrealist Manifesto André Breton 1964   First Things First 1967   The Society of the Spectacle Guy Debord 1987   Ten Rules of Good Design Dieter Rams 1998   An Incomplete Manifeseto for Read More