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”

5 Population Trends that can either Disrupt or Transform Your Business (and Career)

The 7 billion questions. According to National Geographic, by the end of 2011 our population growth will reach 7 billion. What are the consequences for the shift in population? How does population growth have an impact on business and career development? This is something that we all need to think about the implications of, as we witness the shifting of population growth and economic clout from developed to developing nations.

You might not realize that big corporations have ‘quietly’ building their presence at places, where they see having the most potential to grow in the emerging markets. Because they see that emerging markets is the place to go to maintain their growth.

The 7 billion questions. According to National Geographic, by the end of 2011 our population growth will reach 7 billion. What are the consequences for the shift in population? How does population growth have an impact on business and career development? This is something that we all need to think about the implications of, as we witness the shifting of population growth and economic clout from developed to developing nations.

You might not realize that big corporations have ‘quietly’ building their presence at places, where they see having the most potential to grow in the emerging markets. Because they see that emerging markets is the place to go to maintain their growth.

Continue reading “5 Population Trends that can either Disrupt or Transform Your Business (and Career)”

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.

Using the Internet to Scale, a Study

An interesting piece about success story from the social entrepreneurship world. KaBOOM!, a Washington DC based organization, is breaking new ground for using internet to scale, according a study by Monitor Institute. (h/t Steve Case)

By taking an online approach, KaBOOM! has dramatically increased its outcomes instead while lowering its direct costs. In 2009, it’s online outreach helped people build more than 1,600 do-it-yourself (DIY) playgrounds in communities around the U.S. – almost as many as the nonprofit has assembled directly over the past 14 years. 

That’s quite a leap.

Some of their strategies that can be adopted for business:

  • integrate online with offline strategies to ’empower people’ to self-organize around the non-profit’s model for social change. This approach is similar to Barack Obama’s campaign. (Social Pulpit: Barack Obama Social Media Toolkit)
  • make things simple for others to use. 
  • don’t try to control the DIY or brand they use – in other word – “lose control.”

Another thing is a good example of how Creative Commons is use for the distribution of this report. Monitor Institute obviously wanted to put more mileage on this report by letting the readers share the content of this study with others. (read more: Copyright vs. Creative Commons


Breaking New Ground Using the Internet to Scale
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