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”

The Path to Find Your Next Big Ideas

bright ideaI recently had the opportunity to chat with Peter Sims, the author of “Little Bets,” at the Social Good Summit. Peter is also a co-founder of Fuse Corps, a social enterprise that partner up with government, mayors, etc. to help tackle the nation’s most pressing problems. This is part of his little bets.

Little bets are a way to explore and develop new possibilities. The idea is to start small experiment to discover big things. You have to go through the process to discover bigger and better ideas. There is no shortcut for that.

For example, comedian Chris Rock would practice (read: experiment) with his lines at small comedy clubs around where he lives – before he uses those lines (that worked) for the big stage.

The same is true with VCs, how they would invest in a number of different companies. Not all companies would succeed (if it works out 100% success ratio, it would be a dream!), however, from the companies they invest one of two would grow big and give multiple times payback to investors.

So before you dive in to the conversation, here are some the things you can learn from this conversation:

  • where Peter finds his inspiration
  • that it’s okay to fail

Continue reading “The Path to Find Your Next Big Ideas”

South Korean President Talks Green to US Congress

President Barack Obama and Republic of Korea Lee Myung Bak         photo: Pete Souza – White House

Did Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid give hint to South Korean President to speak about green economy to members of congress? The President of South Korea, Lee Myung Bak, who is on a state visit to Washington this week – his speech seems to hit the chord at today’s Joint Session of Congress.

At the session, Lee Myung Bak talks about his country’s emergence to join the economic powerhouses of the world. Transforming itself from one of the poorest to the most dynamic economy. Think about for a sec. You probably know some of the household names here via technology or car, brands like Kia, Samsung, LG, and Hyundai. Those brands originated from Korea and branched out from there.

So. Korea is a small country, with only 48 million people in comparison to the U.S. with 312+ million in population. This is a country that have no natural resources and yet managed to become global top 10 economic power!

It’s very impressive, when you think about how they achieved that position – in just one generation. Why? Because, they prioritized education.  Continue reading “South Korean President Talks Green to US Congress”

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…
UN_Women
September 20, 2011
Geena Davis @GDIGM at #socialgood: “Kids need to see entertainment where females are valued as much as males.” @mashable @unfoundation
UN_Women
September 20, 2011
Guterres -The most nobel part of our job is to help refugees unite, go back home. #socialgood @refugees
melissarfleming
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
lionozion
September 20, 2011
@TheMandyMoore says startling statistics & tidbits are great way to spread awareness on malaria through social media #socialgood
USAID
September 20, 2011
Geena Davis @GDIGM at #socialgood: “Gender portrayls influence aspirations. If they can see it, they can be it” @mashable @unfoundation
UN_Women
September 20, 2011
A bed net can protect a family of 4 for up to 3 years (@TheMandyMoore + @ashong are showing+telling!) #socialgood
unfoundation
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.
mgyerman
September 20, 2011
@TheMandyMoore Totally agree about teaching kids about things like malaria in school. Why isn’t this being taught now? #SocialGood
johnrougeux
September 20, 2011
Every 45 seconds a child dies of malaria… #SocialGood let’s change that…now @nothingbutnets @themandymoore
WaterIsHumanity
September 20, 2011

A Preview to Social Good Summit 2011

Next week, we will be at the Social Good Summit, a four-day summit hosted by the good guys at Mashable, UN Foundation and  92Y. This is a second year of a four-day event where technologists, influential minds, government officials, and activists will hob nob and come together to find the solutions for the world’s most pressing problems. Problems like education, health, malaria, etc. That and in addition, there will be 8 startups (that are changing the world!) competing for a $10,000 prize in a ‘Startup Challenge.’

The lineup of speakers include Ted Turner, Lance Amstrong, Muhammad Yunus, Pete Cashmore (in case you’ve been hiding in a cave, he’s the founder of Mashable – the most visited side for all things social media), actor Geena Davis, Ami Dar (if you’re looking for non-profit jobs, his site ‘Idealist’ is the go-to source), Scott Harrison (the Charity:Water guy), and many many more. You just have to see it yourself, here.

Continue reading “A Preview to Social Good Summit 2011”

Think like a Startup. Visualize Your Business Model.. in 15 Minutes

“Ordinary people believe only in the possible. Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible or probable, but rather what is impossible. And by visualizing the impossible, they begin to see it as possible.”

~ Cherie Carter-Scott

This is the challenge for most entrepreneurs is that we often get caught up so much in daily things that we failed to see the big picture, focus on that and put it to work.

“Ordinary people believe only in the possible. Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible or probable, but rather what is impossible. And by visualizing the impossible, they begin to see it as possible.”

~ Cherie Carter-Scott

This is the challenge for most entrepreneurs is that we often get caught up so much in daily things that we failed to see the big picture, focus on that and put it to work.

The startup business framework created by Tom Hulme, IDEO’s Design Director at their London’s office, is simple enough for anyone to use. Whether you just have this idea that you think is very interesting, to large companies.

Continue reading “Think like a Startup. Visualize Your Business Model.. in 15 Minutes”

DuPont Packaging Awards Show Sustainability Drives Innovation

DuPont made the announcement of the winners for their 23rd packaging awards yesterday. DuPont packaging awards dates back to 1986. “The awards is the industry’s longest running, global, independently judged celebration of innovation and collaboration throughout the value chain.”

And welcome to social media! Because I learned about it via @DuPont_ability (their witter account for their sustainability news) and the winners was announced through a global webcast.

DuPont made the announcement of the winners for their 23rd packaging awards yesterday. DuPont packaging awards dates back to 1986. “The awards is the industry’s longest running, global, independently judged celebration of innovation and collaboration throughout the value chain.”

And welcome to social media! Because I learned about it via @DuPont_ability (their witter account for their sustainability news) and the winners was announced through a global webcast.

Continue reading “DuPont Packaging Awards Show Sustainability Drives Innovation”