Social Good Startup: Kopernik

kopernik dlight solar lanternKopernik is one of the 8 finalists to Startups Good Challenge that was held about a month ago, sponsored by the good guys at Mashable, 92Y and UN Foundation. I tried to reach out to all of the finalists, however, only 5 responded – with one left the event early, before I had the chance to interview the founder.

The criteria:

“Startups that are building or using technology to make a positive impact on the world will compete for a chance to present at the Social Good Summit and win a $10,000 cash prize for their company.”

So this is the first social good organizations out of four (that I was able to have conversations with) that will be featured here. The lineup: Kopernik, Empower Energy, Simple Energy and the winner of this competition – a 19-yo kid, Sun Saluter.

In this interview, I talked with Toshi Nakamura, the co-founder of Kopernik, a social enterprise who’s also a member of Clinton Global Initiative. Toshi and I shares one thing in common: Indonesia. Oh well, his organization is based in Indonesia, and I was lifted from there. That’s about it.

The problem that they’re trying to solve is in the distribution of life-changing technology to the last mile in the developing country (read: the poorest). Think of this business as the online store for innovative technologies, i.e. technology like what you see from the picture above showing d.light lantern, which is one of the products available from their store.

Continue reading “Social Good Startup: Kopernik”


How this First Lady Uses Social Media

It’s fascinating to learn what other politicians or the spouse of a politician uses social media for. We know for a fact that President Obama enjoys a social media celebrity status, because he’s one of the few politicians who have millions of followers! What about on the other side of the world?

There is the First Lady of Dominican Republic, Dr. Margarita Cedeno de Fernandez, a celebrity politician in her own right.

When she made a surprise appearance at Social Good Summit, she talks a bit of how she uses social media. She says that “she is both a follower and user of social networks, Twitter, Facebook.”  These tools give her the ability to be connected with the youth and people from around the world.

In her capacity as a First Lady, she uses ICT (short for information communication technology) to empower women, improve literacy rate, economic development. If you want to connect with her, the twitter handle is @margaritacdf.

Check it out.

Sustainable Good Governance in Time of Direct Aid

By: Takahiro Nakamura 

We tirelessly hear about international aid lost before reaching the very people who most need it. Donors in the industrialized world today have become increasingly suspicious of their donations going into the hands of government officials and aid workers, and more aid organizations solicit them claiming that they directly deliver services and goods to the people.

While this bottom-up approach has its own advantages, it also deprives the local governments of their opportunities to deliver services on their own. As a result, the governments are not able to develop such capacity, and their people turn to aid organizations for assistance before their own governments, hence, making it more difficult for the aid organizations to exit the countries.

The Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative is an organization that works on this very issue of bureaucracy in places overwhelmingly known to the West for corruption and aid-dependency. The organization stands on its principle to help African governments be independent of the international community, said Kate Gross, the Chief Executive of the organization.

Their approach consists of two steps—first, the organization works with leaders in the selected African countries that are “at turning points”, providing advice and resources. Once the trustful relationship is developed, its staff also work with public servants of all levels inside their governments and help them deliver countries’ policies.

Continue reading “Sustainable Good Governance in Time of Direct Aid”

Making the Connection for #SocialGood

It’s very inspiring to see how people across the spectrum around the world, are using technology and social media to make connection & do social good. They are using different platforms to educate, empower women and girls, spreading the buzz, connecting displaced people, and more. One thing they share in common – is the ability to make a change.

The starting point of any conversation. Why are we doing this?

Geena Davis @GDIGM at #socialgood: “When are we going to get over the idea that it is shocking that women can do things?” @mashable…
September 20, 2011
Geena Davis @GDIGM at #socialgood: “Kids need to see entertainment where females are valued as much as males.” @mashable @unfoundation
September 20, 2011
Guterres -The most nobel part of our job is to help refugees unite, go back home. #socialgood @refugees
September 20, 2011
.@womenwarpeace: “It’s not just a question of who’s watching media, it’s an issue of who’s talking. We’ve only heard from men.” #socialgood
September 20, 2011
@TheMandyMoore says startling statistics & tidbits are great way to spread awareness on malaria through social media #socialgood
September 20, 2011
Geena Davis @GDIGM at #socialgood: “Gender portrayls influence aspirations. If they can see it, they can be it” @mashable @unfoundation
September 20, 2011
A bed net can protect a family of 4 for up to 3 years (@TheMandyMoore + @ashong are showing+telling!) #socialgood
September 20, 2011
#SocialGood @ABurak on how gaming can be used to make social good changes…in this case for girls & women. Teaching via data.
September 20, 2011
@TheMandyMoore Totally agree about teaching kids about things like malaria in school. Why isn’t this being taught now? #SocialGood
September 20, 2011
Every 45 seconds a child dies of malaria… #SocialGood let’s change that…now @nothingbutnets @themandymoore
September 20, 2011

5 Countries, 4 Retailers Rule the (Global) Retail Landscape

How have we come so far in 10 years? In the 10 years since A.T. Kearney launched their Global Retail Development Index (GRDI) research, they learned that five countries consistently been on the top 10 and four big companies get more than half of their sales from international market.

How have we come so far in 10 years? In the 10 years since A.T. Kearney launched their Global Retail Development Index (GRDI) research, they learned that five countries consistently been on the top 10 and four big companies get more than half of their sales from international market.

Via A.T. Kearney.

Five countries. China, India, Russia, Vietnam and Chile have consistently been in the top 10 since the first GRDI(see figure). Population size, a growing middle class, increased wealth and consumer spending appeal are important factors. Favorable foreign investment regulations and openness to wholly owned foreign trade are also attractive to global retailers.

Continue reading “5 Countries, 4 Retailers Rule the (Global) Retail Landscape”

5 Global Forces that Will Shape The Future of Your Business

Reasons for rethinking business as we go forward to 2011 and beyond. According to McKinsey Quarterly, there are five global forces that will shape the future of business and society that represents both opportunities and challenges. 

“These trends are important because each of them can create, reshape, or extinguish entire industries,” says Patrick Vigueri of McKinsey’s. (emphasis added)

1. The rise of emerging market as the center of consumerism and innovation.

2. The imperative to improve developed-market productivity.

3. Ever-expanding (and interconnected) global networks.

4. The tension between rapidly rising resource consumption and sustainability.

5. The increasingly larger role of the state as a business partner and regulator.

Watch the video.

For transcript, here.

50+ Innovative Products from Emerging Markets

A while back I posted the “Business Case for Sustainability: Reason No. 1,” which is population. It’s estimated that the world’s population will reach 9 billion people by 2050. At the current population growth, according to Carnegie, “developing economies have accounted for nearly 70% of growth the past 5 years.” Surprised? The market is shifting from developed towards emerging markets. The global emerging middle class now stands at 2 billion people, who collectively spend $6.9 trillion per year, a figure that estimated by McKinsey will grow twice US current consumption by 2020. 

No matter how big or small your business is, you can’t ignore the stats and trends, especially if you’re looking into new opportunities. If you’re not looking for expansion abroad, the least that you can do is to look for new ideas from there and bring it here.

So here it is. Check out this month’s edition of trendwatching look at the 50+ innovative products coming from emerging markets for ideas and inspirations.