The Asian Development Bank (Manila, Philippines) is a multi-lateral development institution that lends, invests, and grants funds to governments and private companies in developing countries with the aim of poverty alleviation. I am working in the Private Sector Operations Department, which is the private-sector arm of the bank. PSOD lends and invests equity in private, for-profit, companies and projects in developing countries in sectors that are consistent with a development theme and the ADB’s strategy (e.g. clean energy infrastructure like wind/solar, trade and transport infrastructure like ports, as well as agribusiness and water).
If there is one thing that is constant in the field of social innovation, it is “change.” We find that social innovations that break through and create significant impact are those that adapt to new opportunities, turn left when there is an obstacle in the road and rally stakeholders to make a vision reality. As a Center that aspires to “walk” what we believe in, we have some exciting new changes this upcoming year.
I've never been so excited to read education blogs daily and watch education news as I have been this summer. It's amazing how the Race to the Top Fund, a 4.35 Billion dollar competitive grant has gained national attention in a way that the Department of Education hasn't seen in quite a long time.
It seems like such a long time ago that I wrote my first blog entry after week one of my internship. I'm now at the end of week 8 and looking back see a whirlwind of surveys, Education Pioneers workshops, and *gasp* excursions that have taken me out of Manhattan. All in all, I cannot believe that my summer is starting to wrap up here at Teach For America and as cliche as it may sound, it's been a great one.
It's hard to believe only three weeks stand between me and my time here at the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools (PLAS). It has been quite a journey. Upon entering PLAS, the success of Education reform in Los Angeles looked bleak after uncovering the challenges that stand in the way of providing all children with the education they deserve. On both sides of the school fence there are major roadblocks. Inside the fence (in the classroom), the proficiency and graduation rates are appauling. On the other side, trying to navigate through the political arena of education reform seems impossible. And we, PLAS, are on the fence, stuck in the middle.
How do you create an (almost) fully blown business plan for Rabea, a 33 year old Moroccan lady living in Spain, whose children are both at school and would like an opportunity to regain the autonomy she had in her home country?
Answer, invite nine different NGOs to a Jornada de Innovación and let them run wild with a whiteboard and some post-its.
Last week we held our first Jornada de Innovación. The aim of the day was to demonstrate the Design Thinking process to representatives from various NGOs and organizations in Madrid, including Oxfam, IE Business School, whilst also using the ideas to harness the creativity of our peers in designing potential programs to aid immigrant entrepreneurs.
This summer, I have oscillated between feeling grounded and balanced one moment and completely upended the next. Each day brings together the confidence that I am adding true value to SVdP and its real estate portfolio, with a deep seated sense that there is a huge amount of dysfunction in our cities that we are not currently addressing as a community.
I'm spending the summer working for Design Revolution (www.d-rev.org), a small startup, nonprofit design firm focused on developing technologies to improve the health or income of individuals living on less than $2/day. My official job description says that I am working on a marketing and distribution strategy for the low-cost phototherapy device that we prepared to launch in India by the end of the year.
India is teaching me patience. This is a tremendous task, India has its work cut out for it, but I think it's working.
When I told friends I was going to spend the summer in India helping Embrace market their Infant Warmer product, I got the occasional raised eyebrow, the requisite "dont drink the water" comments, and the standard cautionary words about "delhi belly". These were all the things I expected to get from India, what I didn't understand was how profound an impact this country would have on that evasive trait that seems to have been left out of my genetic make up - patience.