Tuesday, October 18, 2011

THE $300 HOUSE-for-the-POOR


The $300 House was first described in a Harvard Business Review blog post by Vijay Govindarajan and Christian Sarkar. Initially, we just wanted to put the idea out there, but now, due to the tremendous response, we've decided to see how far we can go toward making this idea a reality.
$300 House for the Poor

We started with five simple questions:
  • How can organic, self-built slums be turned into livable housing?
  • What might a house-for-the-poor look like?
  • How can world-class engineering and design capabilities be utilized to solve the problem?
  • What reverse-innovation lessons might be learned by the participants in such a project?
  • How could the poor afford to buy this house?
The goal is to design, build, and deploy a simple dwelling which keeps a family safe from the weather, allows them to sleep at night, and gives them a little bit of dignity. If we can give the poor a chance to live safely and build an inclusive ecosystem of services around them which includes, clean water, sanitation, health services, family planning, education, and micro enterprise, maybe we can start reducing the disease of poverty. By helping create this ecosystem, we believe companies can make money while providing services needed by the poor at an affordable cost. The poor deserve a chance, a real chance, to make it out of poverty.

To do this, we'll bring together people, institutions, and businesses in a "creation space" to:
1) turn this idea a reality, and
2) test it out in the field.
In terms of progress, we've just begun:



We're bringing together three sets of players - the residents of the $300 House, the designers of the house, and the implementers - the organizations (private and public) who will build the "change we want to see."

The residents of the $300 House can be in any part of the world. We're planning to start with a house designed for three specific countries - India, Haiti, and Indonesia.

Dartmouth (through VG) is sending teams of students to India and Haiti to work with groups on the ground to evaluate the prospects, challenges, ecosystem opportunities, community strengths, etc.

The designers will be you and your friends - amateurs, students, and professional designers. We're going to ask you to submit your concepts and ideas in a simple but usable format. Stay tuned for the announcement! We'll choose one or more models or combinations to create the first prototypes for a pilot project in the field. We also invite professional architectural and design firms to step up in this collaborative effort.

The organizations will include non-profits (NGOs), for profit vendors, and of course public organizations - both regional and national governmental agencies. As execution becomes our priority, we'll work with existing, trustworthy organizations to construct/assemble the $300 House in the locations selected. We're also thinking about the building skillsets required and training community members to become a part of this ecosystem - as a way to build a sustainable economic structure.

Once we learn how to do this, the organizations we work with will be able to scale the solution. At that point, we will be prepared to expand to help other countries around the world.

Finally, the lessons we learn from this building process should be applied (we hope) to building the next generation of green housing in the US and the developed world. We see this as a clear reverse innovation opportunity as well.

Let us know if you want to join the project!

Thanks for your interest and support,

Vijay Govindarajan and 
Christian Sarkar
suggestions? contact us: info@300house.com

'one mobile per human being'

Path breaking ideas that will change the world

Access to communication through a mobile phone has changed lives of people in urban, semi-urban, semi-rural and rural areas as well as across all continents and countries. It is universal. It gives them access to livelihoods, health, education, rights, water, electricity, road, house, financial transactions, internet and everything else. Now mobile is also a computer, watch, tv, radio, audio player, movie player, camera, calculator, alarm clock, GPS, internet surfing and everything else put into one. Cellphone manufacturers can easily produce a phone for less than $10, in India you can possibly get IIT to design one that will cost only $1 in mass manufacturing. We only need to provide about 4 billion mobiles for free and it can be done at a cost of $4 billion. Almost every mobile service provider from almost 500+ mobile operators in the world will be happy to chip in to do so as it directly gets them service revenues if they provide free phones. Service providers like Vodafone, Airtel, AT&T etc will buy phones from mobile manufacturers such as Nokia, Siemens, LG etc and provide free lifetime connection and free 3 months of outgoing service. After that user pays for service in pre-paid fashion. Incoming is lifetime free.

Weather forecast can be sent as sms to fishermen along the coast so that they will not go into the sea during bad weather or if they are already in the sea, they can reach the coast quickly. Millions of lives can be saved every year.
A local call on landline costs between Re 1 to Rs. 3. With cellphone, it can be done for 50 paise. For poor people this is huge savings.IncomeFor skilled labour such as plumber, electrician, carpenter, daily wage labour, farm worker, mason, painter etc, a mobile means their customers can easily reach them at any time. This leads to increase in their business and earnings.
Any type of information can be accessed using sms google search. Local business details, prices of crop, items etc in other markets, cities.
Mobile can double up as watch, alarm clock, calculator, radio, audio player, movie player, internet access.
Using banking services of companies like eko.in, mobile can act as ATM to deposit or withdraw cash, even take small loans.
Mobile repair, solar mobile charging stations and other livelihood opportunities can be generated in millions if every human being has a mobile.
Govts can send details of welfare schemes, important policy changes, other relevant messages to entire population in an instant.
General news, public service messages, awareness programs, educational and health programs can be sent easily by text messages.
Service Providers
Utility bills for water, electricity, phone, cable tv, dth, Taxes such as property, water, road can be billed and collected easily over mobile phone.
Unique Identification
Each human being can have his/her cell phone # as a unique identifier for the person.
Air, train, bus tickets, products, services can be purchased using m-commerce. Banking transactions can be done.

Benefits to Cellphone operators
4 billion new cellphones @ Rs. 250/$5 per month average service revenue will result into annual revenues of $240 billion.
Benefits to Cellphone manufacturers
4 billion new cellphones @ 10% upgrade or replacement required every year means 400 million new cellphones required every year. @ Rs. 1,000/$20 per cellphone, this will result into $8 billion revenues.
Benefits to World Economy
4 billion new cellphones @ Rs. 500/$10 per month increase in economic activity will result into world GDP increasing by $480 billion.

If you have old mobile, used cell phone, discarded cellphones that you are not using, please donate them to us for this project. If you want to donate new phones for this project, please make a donation of $10 or Rs. 500 per phone you want to donate. Contact us at sploonker@gmail.com

Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October 16-18, 2012

NESsT has been selected to host the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October 16-18, 2012. The SEWF is the premiere global event focused exclusively on social enterprise and on building global awareness of the effectiveness of social enterprise in solving critical social problems. The SEWF 2012 will attract over 1000 global and Brazilian participants from social enterprises, foundations and trusts, private investment firms, as well as business and government leaders.

The annual SEWF was established in 2008 by an international steering group comprised of leading social enterprise support organizations from around the world. The primary purpose of SEWF is to assemble social enterprise leaders and champions from all continents to collaborate, share best practices, and to catalyze the social enterprise movement in the host country. The inaugural SEWF was held in 2008 in Edinburgh, Scotland, and has since traveled to Melbourne, Australia (2009), San Francisco, California (2009), and Johannesburg, South Africa (2010).

The SEWF 2012 will focus on the theme of "Social Enterprise: Investing for Impact" with an emphasis impact investing. Impact investing is an asset class on the rise globally. Investors are increasingly seeking opportunities to place their capital in businesses "that can harness the positive power of enterprise," generating both positive financial returns and social benefits for the community. The SEWF2012 will emphasize strategies for attracting new investment capital for social enterprise from private and public sources, particularly in emerging market countries. The SEWF 2012 will explore global efforts to develop a social capital market to support social enterprises at their various stages of development and with varied sources and types of financing from grants, loans, equity, social bonds, and the emerging social stock exchange.

"The SEWF corresponds with the 15th anniversary of NESsT's founding in 1997 and is a tremendous opportunity to raise the profile of social enterprise and impact investing in Brazil as well as across Latin America," says NESsT co-Founder & CEO, Nicole Etchart.

NESsT has selected a social enterprise venue to host the SEWF 2012. The Centro Cultural Ação da Cidadania is operated by Ação da Cidadania, a leading Brazilian community organization dedicated to overcoming hunger and poverty. The Centro is located in Rio's waterfront port area, designated for redevelopment in anticipation of the World Cup and Olympics in 2014 and 2016, respectively.
Additional highlights of the SEWF 2012 in Rio will include:
  • keynote addresses from high-profile public officials, private investors and social enterprise pioneers from Brazil and around the world
  • 10 tracks including engaging panels and workshops with speakers and panelists from leading social enterprises and investors
  • Social Enterprise Marketplace and exhibition for social enterprises and service providers in Brazil and globally to display their products and services
  • Investor Day to introduce private and public investors to social enterprise and impact investing
  • Social Enterpise Awards Gala recognizing excellence in social enterprise
  • Social Enterprise "Pitching" Place: for social enterprises to present their business plans to experts & investors for advice & feedback
  • Social Enterprise Workshops: ongoing "how-to" skills-building workshops
  • Social enterprise site visits and study tour in/around Rio and to Bahia to showcase unique social enterprise models in Brazil
  • World Café space to network with colleagues, investors, and new friends
  • Live entertainment, cultural activities and exhibits highlighting the cultural vibrancy of Brazil.
Online registration for the SEWF 2012 will open on November 15th at www.sewf2012.org. For information on SEWF2012, contact us at sewf@nesst.org