- Created more than 600 new micro-business.
- 100% profitability for the micro-business owners.
- 97% of owners are women.
- 68% of business owners are below the poverty line ($2,5/day)
Monday, 25 April 2011
Friday, 8 April 2011
"Reverse engineering is the process of discovering the technological principles of a human made device, object or system through analysis of its structure, function and operation."
During the last week, as a group, we worked together to prepare a structured analysis and critique to the document that had been sent to us by the Grameen Creative Lab inherent to the "Bienestar" project, which is taking place in the region of Caldas, Colombia.
The analytical model that we applied to the document is, actually, the "reverse engineering" one; in this sense we have isolated, deconstructed and analyzed every single point of it with the prospective to grasp all the possible pros and cons.
The tangible benefit that can be drawn from this type of investigation, as well as the exercise itself, is the possibility of improving an existing template or, from its fbases, to try creating an entirely new and more efficient one.
Tuesday, 5 April 2011
Monday, 4 April 2011
The US government is exploring the use of social impact bonds as a means of encouraging greater efficiency in the delivery of social services. It essentially involves foundations and non-profits putting up initial funding for a project with government reimbursement, and the possibility of a ‘return’ if the project meets certain goals.
The benefits of Social Impact Bonds could be:
- More funds are available for prevention and early intervention services;
- The public sector only has to pay for effective services; the third party investor bears all the risk of services being potentially ineffective.
- Investors and services have an incentive to be as effective as possible, because the larger impact they have on the outcome, the larger the repayment they will receive.
According to the New York Times, President Obama is to launch in 2011 seven pilot schemes, which would issue a total of $100 million in bonds to support programs in the areas of job training, education, juvenile justice and children’s disabilities.
The Rockefeller Foundation has announced a $400,000 grant to the Nonprofit Finance Fund for a number of projects that will help bring the social impact bond concept to the US. The Fund, a community-development financial institution, recently launched an online platform for funders, non-profits and educators to share ideas about the bonds. After gathering research and opinions, they will conduct a feasibility study of the bonds in the US and identify opportunities where the financing structure could work.
Here is The Big Society, flagship policy idea of the 2010 UK Conservative Party election manifesto.
The aim is "to create a climate that empowers local people and communities, building a big society that will 'take power away from politicians and give it to people'" by encouraging charities, volunteering, social enterprises. Prime Minister David Cameron, is trying to make UK citizens ask themselves this kind of questions, "how can I do more, other than paying taxes and obeying the law, in order to make my country stronger and better place?".
Well, I have to say from a theoretical point of view it sounds pretty solid but in the real world things seem to get significantly complicated.
In my opinion, it is not so much about involving people to do the jobs covering for inevitable cuts in public services made by the Government, the great difficulty will rely on changing the mindset of 62 million of Britons. Especially in European countries where we take welfare programs for granted, and many times claiming these to be more generous every year regardless of the socio-economic environment. Evidently, this affects the transition creating a desynchronization in which the State is already cutting expanses in public services and where The Big Society is still too young and innocent to take the steering wheel. Useless to say this is causing more inequalities amongst the poor and the rich.
However, I find important to keep in mind that the Big Society is also valid even if increasing public expenditure since the goal will always remain the same: more empowerment, freedom, responsibility and control for communities allowing the Government to focus on other non accessible aspects of our society.
The Big Society is a Governmental initiative and so unfortunately these are never well perceived by the populace. Trying to tackle this issue, the conservatives are structuring a whole platform called StartUp Britain, in order to get new businesses going as well as a better social entrepreneurial friendly environment.
Here's my way of seeing this, I don't think anyone could tell if this is the solution right now but what I do know is that in UK there is will for change and when there's a will...
Sunday, 3 April 2011
The development of new technologies, such as RFID (radio frequency identification), in addition to the birth of new user profiles, led to the emergence of Zipcar’s concept by creating an agent-artifact space.
The need was generated through the specific user profiles; people who live in cities and use public transport but need cars from time to time, or people who want to save money and don’t want to go through the hassle of owning a car, or even people who refrain from buying cars for environmental reasons.
You might be thinking, “but what’s so special about Zipcar? It’s just like another car rental company.” Well, what Zipcar did, is that it eliminated the intermediary relationship a customer usually has with a car rental company and replaced it with self-service accessibility to the car through the RFID card. Small change, big difference.
The way Zipcar works is quite simple:
Each new member that joins Zipcar’s community on the webpage http://www.zipcar.com/ receives a Zipcard powered by RFID technology. The member browses the cars available through the website by time, location, price or model. Once the car is chosen and booked, the member heads towards the parking spot and uses the activated Zipcard to lock and unlock the doors of the car. After the trip is over, the user returns the car to the same location.
The Zipcar concept is environmentally friendly and is changing the way people think about owning a car. Fewer cars on the road means less congestion, less pollution, less fuel consumption, less stress and fresher air. To top that, “over 40% of Zipcar members either sell their car or stop a car-purchasing decision.”
Now that’s innovation!
Saturday, 2 April 2011
Friday, 1 April 2011
When the telephone was rolled out as a commercial product, AT&T spent a few decades trying to persuade its customers not to use it to call their friends and families. Edison thought the phonograph would be used to record last wills. Gutenberg thought he was gong to print Bibles and indulgences to add to the splendour of the Church, and could not have seen the printing-press enabled Protestant Reformation coming. Innovation is not just about new gizmos. It is about what people decide gizmos are.
In this lecture, I offer a complexity perspective on innovation. I argue innovation is emergent; it happens in cascades; it is inherently unpredictable; it is sparked in the context of relationships, not in the mind of lone inventor. Furthermore, I argue that social innovation has just the same characteristics as vanilla technical innovation. Enjoy.
I visited Aero last summer, and it is a truly charming island with beautiful natural scenery and remarkable picturesque houses. Although its inhabitants sum up to a rough total of 7,000 people, I barely saw anyone there under the age of 60! Yet, Aero remains serious about being environmental friendly and has the world’s largest solar power plants aiming to make the island completely self-sufficient in energy. Today, all of Denmark is following Aero's lead.
If innovation adaptation is not simply technology dependent but also socially dependent, then way to go people of Aero!
we're a team of seven as creative as down-to-earth people attending to the Master program called Design for Social Business (D4SB) introduced by IED this year.
According with Alberto Cottica, we are of the idea of extending this blog, which was initially formed as a platform for us to share opinions and critical viewpoints concerning the concept of Social Business.
The reason is having the opportunity to share ideas we have with other students, they will contribute as outside, interested and active observers with their remarks and considerations to this project.
We are sure that exchanging opinions and intuitions will bring new and diverse reasoning to all of us as well as for all of you who decide to be involved!
So please, be ready and willing to join us because we are all interested of yours point of view and please, do not be afraid of posting ideas in English, let's do it in Italian if you'd like, or in Spanish, French, Romanian and Portuguese or even in Arabic if you want!
We're an international team, and we do think that a good idea is a good idea also without any translation.
the D4SB team!