InsightaaS: In recent days, Across the Net has been featuring posts that have social connections – between different content sources and their communities and/or between InsightaaS and our community. Today’s feature falls into the “and” category. IntelligentHQ started following one of our accounts (in Germany, actually, even though the firm itself appears to be US-based) and invited us to provide feedback on their site. While site reviews aren’t really our thing, we found some of the IntelligentHQ content interesting, and wanted to highlight one of the posts here.
“12 Innovative Technologies That Foster Social Change” isn’t as tightly focused on IT as InsightaaS typically is – the first technology listed is the “EnviroLoo,” and the list also includes air filters and refrigerators – but taken as a whole, the list shows that at the intersection of design, engineering innovation and IT, there is a great deal of opportunity to make a difference to a large proportion of the world’s inhabitants. Frequently, “we” (including InsightaaS, which writes on the subject for Bloomberg BNA) consider ‘sustainable IT’ to refer to methods of reducing technology-related power use or carbon emissions, but the notion of ‘sustainability’ has a much broader meaning as well, and it is good sometimes to review the ways that innovation can be applied to human rather than environmental objectives.
Social entrepreneurs are changing the world with ideas that solve some of the most difficult challenges, such as poverty, education, malnutrition and disease. Social entrepreneurs sometimes make a profit and sometimes do not, but the commonality that brings them all together is the desire to solve social ills. In 2006, John Voelcker of the Stanford Social Innovation Review reviewed ten innovative technologies that are going a long way to driving social change across the globe. All of these organisations were argued by Voelcker to: “…apply the principles of running a commercial venture: clarify the value of the product, test the product extensively before launching and always listen to customers.”
These differentiated them from other social entrepreneurs. The innovative technologies focused on are not just gadgets that have been invented and put out there to market without a plan. As William Gibson says:
“The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.”
How then, to distribute it ? That is the unique quality of the social entrepreneurs that we expose in the following list. They invented technologies that focus on all aspects of the products’ operations such as distribution, adoption, maintenance and payback period. As Timnothy Prestero, from Design that Matters says in the following video, to have a great idea and to design is easier, than implementing and distributing that idea, as well as adapting it to the real world…