In a climate of austerity, charity and community organizations are forced to find alternative income streams to deliver social benefits. Donations continue to contract and experts are saying that 2013 will be another difficult year. At the same time, 783 million people still don’t have clean water, 2.5 billion people still don’t have access to proper sanitation facilities, and 3 billion people still live on less than $2.50 a day.
With the recent financial crisis, attitudes in the private sector are beginning to shift. MBA students hope to become more responsible leaders and social intrapreneurs hope to step up for society by creating positive social and environmental impact from within their companies.
Last fall, Ashoka launched a competition called the League of Intrapreneurs to identify people working within traditional for-profit companies who are innovating and developing scalable solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.
The competition garnered 230 entries and four winners were announced today.
Sacha Carina van Ginhoven, TNT Express
Sacha Carina van Ginhoven is the Global Program Manager Innovation at TNT Express. She spent two months living in a slum in Africa to develop a mobile-based address system with TNT, Vodafone, and local slum businesses.
Although there are millions of small businesses in slums worldwide, many do not have formally recognized addresses, which make it difficult to send and receive goods. With the intervention of mobile-based addresses, local businesses can connect themselves to global markets.
Aparecida Teixeira de Morais, Tribanco
Aparecida Teixeira de Morais is the Director of Human Resources at Tribanco, the financial arm of one of the largest distributors in Brazil, Grupo Martins. A company’s HR department is typically responsible for developing and training its staff. However, de Morais championed the idea that Tribanco should also train and develop its clients, so that small retail shops can grow into solid businesses.
Graham Simpson, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
Graham Simpson is part of a team of scientists at GSK looking to develop cheap and reliable diagnosis of diseases in remote, rural areas that have challenging weather conditions, lack of electricity or clean water, and inadequately trained healthcare staff. The problem is that undiagnosed conditions are left untreated.
The idea is at the growth stage, but is expected to be a simple, cheap, paper-based device that can be administered by minimally trained healthcare staff.
People’s Choice: Mandar Apte, Shell
Mandar Apte works on the GameChanger program at Shell, which invests in early stage, radical ideas in energy and provides coaching and incubation to make a proof of concept and turn the idea into a product for the marketplace. Apte was also named the People’s Choice winner in the competition.
Stress, fear of failure, and judgments from others are barriers to disruptive ideas. The GameChanger program was created as a “safe place” where internal Shell staff and external innovators can access capital and resources to build their ideas.
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