This session focuses on bottom-up principles explained by those who actually act them out (claps) through design, technology, and harnessing the right markets. All three speakers point to the importance of universal access and opportunity, as well as the need to educate and involve the 10 percent demographic.
Jessica Flannery co-founded Kiva.org after being inspired (a "whole body experience," she says) by the microfinance-based work and words of Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. She worked first-hand as a lender to poor entrepreneurs in East Africa and soon after used the power of the internet to to let anyone make business loans to third world countries. A widespread network of internet lenders, local microfinance partners, and borrowing entrepreneurs make Kiva's online marketplace come alive, where 99.7% of loans are paid back with interest and lenders are free to move on to help someone else who has a will to prosper.
Next we see a gigantor slide, full bleed, of a Hummer. "90% percent of today's designers solve issues for only the richest 10%." Pioneer of "Design for the Other 90%" thinking and founder of International Development Enterprises (IDE), Dr. Paul Polak, poignantly reminded us of the need for a planet-wide Design Revolution, since "affordability is not an economic problem. It's an engineering and design problem." This revolution entails restructuring design education in both rich and poor parts of the world and the obvious need for change within big business thinking and production. IDE has brought 17 million dollar-a-day people out of poverty over a span of 25 years with a market-based approach, not through handouts. Polak is now working to carry out IDE's current mission, to have 150 million more ppl move out of poverty by 2025, and also continues to pursue and spread the word about the much needed Design Revolution.
The segment rounded out with a fascinating presentation by Adrian Bowyer who uses rapid prototyping in hopes to ultimately create products that self replicate most of their own parts, exist symbiotically with people, and produce other goods in return for being helped to replicate in the first place (wheeze)--a technological metaphor for the prolific symbiotic relationships seen in nature like that between bees and flowers. "Chickens can't run or fly, and they taste good. They are the most successful bird that has ever existed because of their symbiotic relationship with humans." With RepRap (Replicating Rapid-prototyper), Bowyer has begun the process of making such a thing possible, and most importantly, within an accessible, open source environment.
Deep breath. That wraps up our morning brain meals and now it's time for a lunch meal. Back soon.