Embracing Emerging Technology for Social Change


Hi, I'm Eric ni. Managing editor of Stanford social innovation review which aims to inform and inspire leaders of social change. Learn more at SSI dot org. Emerging technologies like biotech and artificial intelligence have the potential to transform so many of the systems that make up the world around us at our two thousand eighteen frontiers of social innovation conference, Catherine Milligan who directs the Schwab foundation for social entrepreneurship spoke with a few savvy social entrepreneurs who are harnessing these tools for social impact right now. Milligan speaks with Keller Rinaldo CEO co-founder of zip line, which is using drones to live or blood and medicines to remote parts of the world. Kristen groups Richmond revolution foods, which is using technology to increase access to fresh healthy food in underserved communities and David Risher CEO and co founder of world reader, a global nonprofit that provides people in the developing world with free access to digital books via e readers and mobile phones. I am. Without further ado, delighted to be joined on stage by three of the social partners in the schwa- foundation's global community, Chris Richmond's of revolution. Foods Keller Rinaldo of zip line and David Risher of world reader, welcome. I thought I would start this panel with a confession. More in the Luddite camp than I am in the tech savvy guru camp. And so when I started preparing for the session, I was momentarily stricken with imposter syndrome. But then I came across something that you said Keller about bringing up Aguirre's mind to an issue and not being afraid to ask questions. And so I thought I would turn that into an advantage by putting all the less tech savvy among us in the audience at ease. You're in very good company. And you don't my goal here with the conversation that we're going to have this morning is to really strip away all of the impenetrable language and intimidating jargon. Just have a really acceptable informal conversation. So the title of the session is shorthand for the fourth industrial revolution. That's a book by professor Klaus, Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum and the co founder with his wife Hilda at the foundation for social entrepreneurship in that book just to get folks really quickly on the same page with that term in what we mean, he argues that quote, we face both the opportunities and the challenges of a range of powerful emerging technologies from artificial intelligence to biotechnologies to advance materials and quantum computing that will drive radical shifts in the way, we live fourth industrial revolution technologies are not merely incremental advances on today's digital technologies, but are truly disruptive up ending our existing ways of sensing calculating organizing acting and delivering over time. They will transform the systems we take for granted today from the way. Produce and transport goods and services to the way, we communicate collaborate and experience the world around us, unquote. So we're going to impact that in about fifty seven minutes easy task. So look my first question to all of you. That sounds so big and overwhelming, it's hard to know, how to wrap your mind around that. So let's start with mindsets. And I'm not going to ask you where these technologies will be in five years, and what are your predictions? I think you know, the reality is that. It's impossible, but still as leaders of organizations making major strategic planning decisions, you know. How are you reading interpreting the trend lines of the four I r and how is that informing your decision making so whoever? Yeah, I can. So the way we think about it is that the future is weird. And especially in a in a in a world where technology is moving faster than it has in the past. Like you mentioned like predicting trend lines. We don't even try. Because what I mean by the future is weird. Is that looking five years ahead things seem so strange like we don't even believe certain things are going to work, and then they end up working like, you know, five years ago ten years ago, most people in global public health thought, the idea of cellphones exploding across Africa was outrageous today, it's like universal and today most people think that the idea of artificial intelligence or robotic starting first in Africa. They think that idea is outrageous, and we'll be showing a little bit is that it's not that outrageous. So I guess for us like it's not so much about predicting. But rather understanding that the future is so weird that we can't really predict it, but it will be very different than where we are today. So if if we just view it as like if our actions are predicting that things will generally be the same five years from now, then we will not be successful because we'll be fundamentally wrong. Whereas if we're willing to suspend disbelief and try new things like radical new things and test them and see if they work and understand that doing that. Inherently means we'll be taking risk than some of the things that we do end up working. And that's kind of the whole point of what we do. Well, I'll add I'll try and then as the founder of revolution foods, and I think I would have originally thought I would have fallen in the same camp as you described Catherine, which is how much are we really going to use technology to change a food system and make healthy fresh affordable clean food available throughout the US, primarily and underserved communities and schools to drive health outcomes and academic outcomes. And I think when Kitson I founded red foods a decade over a decade ago. I don't think that we honestly thought about technology as a huge lever to do that. And now we do every day. And we also I think our humble enough to realize that we don't know exactly how that's gonna look in three years five years ten years. But when it comes to designing, and I'll talk more about this but designing our meal, so that they're not just healthy. But kids, love them and. Lethem? So they have a huge impact and technology related to that. When we think about producing and distributing. It comes into play for us in a pretty big way at this point. So I'll talk more about it. But you know, that's it's it's a part of everything we do know and David hoses affecting your strategic decisions. So we have kind of interesting way of thinking about this. I think which is we look a lot at what changes fast and to your point Keller. It's easy to say easy to predict a lot will continue to change. But we also like to look at what isn't going to change, and what's going to be very durable over the long term. And if you look at the kind of friction between those two I think maybe that's where some of the most interesting insight can happen, for example, fairly sure that reading which is our world is not going to become less important over time. And and no one's going to wake up one morning and say, gosh, I wish you know, fewer kids knew how to read or you know, or we would teach kids. To read later in life because that somehow mix it's like that doesn't make any sense at all. So some things you can predict with certainty reading we'll matter eating will matter, by the way. That's another thing. We can predict what. Hi, sir. Socializing connecting people will matter. Those are things that won't change now technology that will change, but even within technology. It will get cheaper. It will get more. Ubiquitous it more get more powerful. It will get more personalized. So I think to a certain extent if you can if you can sort of contrast what, you know won't change versus some other things that will change, but even in some maybe some predictable ways. That's maybe how you can start to form a framework around experimentation, do the most interesting work. Definitely. Well, so now, let's take opportunity to dive into examples and really give everyone in the audience a clear picture of what you're actually doing. And Chris I'd love to start with you. I'm sure many folks here are familiar with revolution foods in your model. But can you explain a little bit about how you are creating systems change with a whole other constellation of actors in the system. So our really key question. We asked ourselves when we were kicking off which was a little over a decade ago. At Berkeley, actually was you know, how do we create systems change in in food? We realize that the quality of food that our students we started in schools and are still really heavily providing healthy food in schools. But we were asking ourselves how do we dramatically change? The quality of food that students are receiving every day. We have a very small amount of money to to work with. But we believe there was a way to do it. And so we really bought built built the company brick by brick and thought about how do we create meals breakfast lunch snack and supper every single day? So it's amazing over you guys may may not know this. But over fifty percent of every family every child in the US eats at least one meal a day at school at this point and many eat two to three particularly in the communities that revolution foods is serving. So there's a tremendous opportunity for impact. But we knew we had a huge challenge ahead of us. And so we really thought about how to make how to create a supply chain from scratch to create the first all-natural clean label supply chain there just wasn't one available for creating these meals that we were serving into schools, and then we thought about. How do we design foods that kids are going to love? And so now, I'm sitting up here not only as an entrepreneur, but as a mom with two little boys, and this is a topic that relates to everyone out there who struggles with that every day. You know, how do I how do I serve my kids healthy food? But also food that's gonna come home eaten from their lunchbox. And that I know is going to that we know is going to nourish them every day. And this is where I think this conversation gets really interesting because working within a tiny. Tiny financial limit to do. This requires really thinking about how to leverage for us now technology in terms of creating these meals at scale at a price point, that's affordable to have the highest level of impact. So the couple of topics. I wanted to hit one is just engagement respecting consumer base design. So we now serve over two and a half million meals a week across thirty cities in two thousand schools, and we take it very very seriously that we are only designing the meals that our students in communities feel is respectful to them, and again, cultural relevance is a huge part of that. So we're out gathering data every single day from our students and processing data and saying, okay. What are those menu options and meal formats that will deliver not only health but also delight right because we want to build a community. We want to be. Lifelong healthy eaters. So that's one area. That's that's really important to us. The other piece that I would say is a. A place where we are thinking hard about what kind of technology. We can utilize is in creating access to fresh in. What would have traditionally been called food desert? So how do we think about packaging technology and shelf-life technology that enables us to bring fresh meals into communities that haven't had fresh food access every day. And that requires less drops more volume, you really have to cost optimize everything you're doing. So that's a big big part of our work and then finally distribution. So thinking about when you're delivering thirty thirty. Southie sufferers day to fifty YMCA's our boys and girls clubs around a community. That has not traditionally been a an economically viable thing to do. So how can we utilize different technologies again too? To help make that kind of delivery financially viable, so that all students and all youth will have access to these meals in after school settings as well. But those are couple of things I wanted to hit quickly. A thank you so much for that. Million meals a week. I'm sliding through these and I can talk more about. As well. I think is such an important element to the Keller in Davos you. It was quite a lying, you know, sort of if if drones can take lives drones and also be used to save lives. So why don't you share with us a little bit about how you and the entire team zip line are doing that. So zip line is building autonomous delivery networks to deliver medicine and two parts of the world did typically don't have access to medicine today. And we as a team design, the the onyx the aircraft the distribution center. And then we operated as a service, you can couldn't think of us like a twenty first century version of ups, and we work directly with governments and ministries of health to basically provide universal access to health care at a national scale. So what that looks like today in Rwanda, we're contracted by the ministry of health to serve twenty one hospitals today in the country. We're delivering about twenty five percent of the national blood supply of Rwanda using Thomas aircr. Raft today, and we'll be at about fifty percent in late June. So it's expanding really really quickly. And and what we're currently undergoing today in two thousand eighteen is actually we just added. So just to give you a sense for what we're actually looking at here the Z in the middle of the map is the distribution center that we're operating from from that distribution center, we can cover about sixty percent of the country. We just finished construction of a second distribution center that you can see now in the eastern half of the country. And that means that by the end of twenty eighteen and we're also expanding from blood to about one hundred and fifty different medical products. So that means that by the end of twenty eighteen Rwanda will be the first country in the world to provide universal access to health care any medical product delivered in fifteen minutes or less to all million of its citizens. I'm just saying I think it's particularly cool because most people think of Rwanda's being backward or very poor. And in fact, this country is doing what no other country in the world has done using the disruptive technology that Catherine is talking about said he goes want to see how it works. Okay. Says I just shot this on my cell phone. So it's not a very fancy video. But this is a zip one of the atomic aircraft flying by a guy hospital, which is one of the hospitals. We serve any doctor can place in order via WhatsApp that's how they prefer to order blood. And then they get a delivery in fifteen minutes or less, and there's no infrastructure required at the hospital we can deliver into their mailbox, which is the size about two parking spaces. You can see these women are like what the hell did we just see? But the cool thing is that at this point. It's like totally normal and boring to all the doctors, and nurses that we serve they couldn't really care less. They're like, of course, we have drones that deliver our blood. How else would you do it? And sometimes they're like angry when it comes in sixteen minutes instead of fifteen. Just to quickly address why this matters blood, particularly, but all medical products are really challenging in terms of supply chains because it's very expensive. It's often requires refrigeration doesn't last very long one of the products, we deliver platelets only last six days in all these different types of blood, so typically healthcare systems have to balance access against waste. And so if you send a lot of medicine out, then you're gonna have a lot of ways if you keep more medicine centralized, then you have access problems and people die as a result. The really cool thing about building instant delivery with with Rwanda has been that they've been able to increase access by one hundred and seventy five percent to all the blood products that we deliver which is basically unheard of. And they've done that while reducing the blood waste rate at the hospitals. We serve from seven percent which is about. An international average to zero they eliminated all blood waste at the hospitals that we serve there the first country in the world to achieve that milestone. And it also saves them in the high hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars a year. It's a really exciting opportunity where technology means you actually, get to have your cake and eat it to some ways. And then obviously, the other reason this is impactful is that providing on demand medical products, particularly blood saves lives. Zip line just yesterday completed our sixteen hundred life and death emergency delivery, which is a small subset of the overall deliveries. We do but fifty percent of those life saving deliveries are going toward moms with postpartum hemorrhaging and thirty percent or going toward kids under the age of five. So these are just a few of the moms that actually came and visited our distribution center. And you just to just to summarize a couple of things that are important that I think I know I want to talk about a little bit more. At least our perspective on this is that it's so important for this kind of technology to be sustainable and scalable in these markets that were serving. And that's the reason that we operate it as a service, we're not like giving drone administrative help and saying here you go operated. The reality is our customers don't care at all about drones like we could be using magical dragons as far as they're concerned. All they care about is just does something go from point A to point fast enough to save. Someone's life. And if we can solve that problem, then they the ministry of health can focus on doing what they're amazing, which is treating patients the other important part about making all this sustainable, and scalable is that because we actually charge our customer per delivery rather than providing these services for free. We're able to reinvest in new technology so two weeks ago, we launched a new distribution center design, a completely new aircraft. Both of them are here. The distribution centers in Rwanda have now been upgraded yesterday. We actually did the first commercial flight to one of our hospitals who to one of our hospitals in Rwanda using the new aircraft. The most important thing about all of this is that one hundred percent of zip lines team in Rwanda is relondo. And this team of extraordinary kick ass flight operators and flight engineers has achieved what the richest technology companies in the world have tried to do and not done successfully. So for so many people in the world who think that Africa is backward or falling behind or needs to like catch up to where the US is technologically. This is the strongest possible negation of that worldview like narratives are changing, and it's possible for developing countries to actually lead the world in terms of some of these disruptive technologies and leapfrog ahead of where countries like United States are and all bent and the most important thing about zip lines Rwanda team is that we have hundreds of like five year olds and six year olds and seven year olds who line up on the fence of our distribution centers every day. And they watch this teamwork and they cheer every launch and every landing and they are the future engineers of Rwanda. So that's that's why we do what we do. And why we think that this kind of technology can can have a positive impact in the world. Thank you. And I know in just a little bit. We're going to get to the QNA's bell on. I'm sure the other piece of this is the narrative around technology eagles job loss. I would love to explore that as well. And have a challenge in conversation around that can I put you on without really quickly. There's some exciting news to a now some expansions. Yup. I mean with a bunch of things technically say publicly, but suffice it to say, I mean, the really cool thing I guess is just that Rwanda is now serving as a role model to a lot of other countries both in Africa. And then some of you may have read last week actually, the department of transportation just announced that they are going to begin their this. They're partnering with zip line to do medical delivery starting in North Carolina. And if you want to know how they figure that out they went and asked for one to Rwanda's doing it. So it's a pretty amazing. Stay tuned. David over to and I'm very excited about this many people, of course, have heard of world reader in your strategic partnership with Amazon your entire distribution model depends on technology, and you have an audacious school reaching one billion people tell us about it. I'll do it. That's quite an introduction thing. Good morning everyone. Yeah. So my name is David and I'm with world leader. And his captain says we want to get a billion people reading so simple. Right. So I've got a couple of pictures as well. Maybe we're too. But this is sort of one way to look at the problem. They're better billion. This is a library is actually a picture we took in Ghana about ten years ago. And I don't know about you guys. But I actually spent a lot of time in libraries as a kid has actually raised by single mother, and this is sort of how how see sort of babysat my brother amused. She would drop my brother and me off at a library. And we'd get a sack of books. We come home. We'd read them, and that was sort of our our education growing up will this is a librarian Ghanem, and it's delightful room. It's got natural light and everything you'd want except for obviously one very important thing so about ten years ago account, and I started with this kind of crazy idea of maybe we can get a billion people reading, but use technology. And that the thesis we had is look it's easier to move bits than atoms. So this was pre drone now, you can move Adams a little more. He's still if you can figure out a way to beam things around the world. That's that's handy. Technology is going to get cheaper and cheaper now. So when we started world reader way back in the day. This actually was the first one first pictures we ever actually took. Yeah. Yeah. One of the first pictures actually ever took in Ghana back in two thousand ten we were at the time using a four hundred dollar kindle, but we had a pretty good sense that over time, you know, the price of that kindle was going to come down. Now kindles cost fifty dollars. We actually get them for less from Amazon, I'll tell you, but that in a second. But anyway, the thesis was look technology will get less and less expensive reading will matter more and more over time. And then the other keep a point. And actually, I love the point of local context and local relevance is you know, what maybe what we can do is. We can put not just western books into kids hands and encourage them to read that way. But maybe we can actually put local books right into kids hands and have them read those books. So I'll take you back here for another second. This is two thousand ten the for sixth grade classroom. We ever worked at in Ghanem. We literally took we hustled about twenty kindles over the border. We put a bunch of books on them at the time. They are actually more international books than local books, and we watch the kids read. And they looked down. And then they look at us. And they'd say, can we have another would say sure when we download another book using the cellphone infrastructure. And that's when we began to realize that this this could really work. With the other interesting things that happened in this classroom, by the way, you can see some books in the back of the class. Some of you get sometimes donors send books to classrooms in not in in places like Ghana. And so I picked up book off the bookshelf. I walked in to see with with the kids were reading and the first book picked up was a book of the history of Utah. We'll get you guys. I mean, honestly, I don't think the kids in Utah out. That's so, but that was sort of the status quo. But now you sort of fast forward, and you realize you're right. The world can leapfrog you actually can launch over entire physical infrastructure that wasn't really set up very well for moving physical books around but works perfectly. Well. In fact, they will offer digital bucks so fast forward. I thought we might do is talk about three projects. We're working right now to give you a sense of the scale and also the systems change, the we're trying to we're trying to affect so always three elements to our program. There's technology, you know, might be a kindle increasingly it's a cell phone with millions of people using cell phones every month. I'm back down to the second using apps that we've written so there's always technology appropriate to number two. There's always local relevant content. We've digitized forty thousand books over the last eight years there in about three hundred and fifty languages in fact, Kenya Rwanda their books and Kinyarwanda that line. Nightside language English is the first biggest, but then Spanish, and that's what he got a way African languages Hindi and so forth, and so on so we've digitized enormous number of books, and we can talk about that process a little bit. And then the third part is is reading support the local school systems, the local libraries parents have to be involved in these programs for these programs to work. So what do they look like, then when we combine all those embraced what do they look like, we'll give you one example. I mentioned Ghana that's where we started working ten years ago right now, we're working in what about two hundred schools in Ghana already, but we're working with an entire school district in Ghana called the quad Baram school district that school district by the end of twenty twenty. We'll have forty five thousand children ninety schools every one of them that's every primary school and probably bear. We'll be reading digitally by the end of twenty twenty using world leaders technology in books. That's very exciting to us. Because once you get an entire school system that can serve as a model for country, and that model can serve as. For the world, very similar to your to your point Cal is that kind of using systems and sort of working at a system level and then use then kind of replicate I. Second-story Kenya National library serves about four years ago. We decided rather than just work in schools. It's also working libraries because I've risen great vectors into communities. They help parents help students they help communities become a reading communities. Awesome. We started a small pilot in Kenya. We had about eight libraries patronage increased by I think it was about tenfold by the end of that that trial now fast forward a couple years later were in all sixty one public libraries in Kenya. So can you have sixty one libraries are world reader program, but twenty five meters two hundred local books all digitize all the librarians trade that is now an every single library in Kenya. And we just did the math in this a couple of days ago. And this is crazy we found that there have been over two hundred fifty thousand what are called out of library borrow so people that either taking them home or using them in a community outreach program, and it additional three hundred thousand. People using them within libraries or checkouts within a library. So that's five hundred fifty thousand uses of kindles over eighteen months in the Kenya. National library service reading local books just scale that you could never imagine sort of back in back in the day and over thirty thousand new patrons, which is huge by the way. I should point out this this guy. He's a he's a young, man. His name is Kelvin. He's a librarian, and he literally goes out into the community every week and any holds reading sessions, he literally puts readers down on desks tables and holds reading sessions, and it's to the point where he's actually a friend of mine on Facebook. Now, it's kind of amazing. It's to the point where people as walking through his community people. Call him reader, either they just say e reader reader, and in fact, if you go up to medium is actually a ridden apiece. He Kelvin has written a piece called they call me reader about the church transformational impact it's had on himself enough also on the communities last door. By the way, that program is supported by Amazon Amazon's just given us they haven't made this public yet. But it's in the order of a million dollars worth of kindles to use as a learning partnership with Amazon, actually, an important kind of substrate talk about last book story. This is a a trip who took to India just a couple of months ago. I India we're working with new parents to try to get them to read with their children on their cell phones. So everyone has a cell phone. Reading is not reading children's not a big part of the culture. But it's so very important for cognitive development parent child bonding and a bunch of other things anyway, this is a picture that we took the woman sitting next to me is Kate James James is the chief marketing officer of Pearson Pearson is the sponsor of this program, and they gave us actually a two million dollar grant to develop this program in India to get parents read to their kids. What are the been the results the result of two hundred thousand parents reading their children have reg of their children over the last? Two years fifteen thousand of them reading about four times a month. And this woman hear the story. She's telling me she says at night now when I come home two things number one. I hold up my phone. So that I can get were by books to read to my own son just incredible story, and she said my son. That's where sunsetting right there. My son. Now, you don't feel so strongly about reading that. I now want to have a new smartphone of my own rather than just rely on my my husband's kind of hand-me-down smartphone, so incredibly powerful empowering program there. So look we want to get a billion people reading, we know we can't do it alone. So far, we've gone from about a couple of hundred kids reading back in two thousand ten to about seven point six million people, but it's really all done in partnership. It's done with some of the biggest corporations in the world Amazons of the world, the Pearsons the world some of the smallest local publishers in the world that we started working with many many years ago, and I'll just leave you with one thought which I suspect Oliver share is great Kenyan proverb. Which says if you want to go far to me if you want to go fast, go alone. If you wanna go far, you will together were enormous believers in the power partnership to bring about this this system strange to get into billion people reading, thank you. Thank you so much in for. Well, we really want to have an interactive discussion and conversation with all of you. And we have about twenty five minutes left in the session. I'm going to take moderators privileged. Just ask a couple of broad questions of my own food for thought as we jumped into this dialogue in the first. Whoever is interested these take it, you know, what have been your major technology learnings along the way, I mean, even better would have been your major fails. And that you knew sort of how was that? Now shaping any big bets or technology investments that you're making it at the moment. Likes to take that. Okay. I'll talk about failures. Clearly pretty easy for us. I mean, we crashed. And we crash all the time under test circumstances. Like, these are airplanes that are meant to be fully autonomous. And whenever we make a mistake in the software or in the hardware these vehicles. Don't work. And and so, you know, I guess what I can say is one if you aren't willing to crash metaphorically or literally in our case, it will be impossible to to do something new with technology. So we we built our company on a farm in Half Moon bay and have one hundred people working out there in these mobile construction trailers, and that has a neighbor us to use the product every single day. And it's okay to crash of a vehicle can't fly. Then we learned something from it, and we fix it. And we're flying again the next day. And I think the the other side of it is that this when it comes to new technology, the other point I'll make is that it doesn't have to be perfect to provide a lot of value. You know, the use case that we're focusing on is so clear, and so obviously needed that even when things don't work perfectly. And as an example of that. I mean every once in a while our delivery accuracy algorithms are often. We've actually liked delivered blood onto the roofs of some of these hospitals once in a while and a lot of times people here that in. They're like God, it's terrible. You can't like I can't believe you survived that. And that reality is the doctor's got a ladder got up on that roof got the blood, and they transfused into the patient and save your life like they don't care. So I guess I just need to say, I think sometimes we're so bashful. And so trying to you know, really put our best foot forward and act perfect. And the reality is the technology does not have to be perfect in fact, far from it to save lives and have a big impact. Get back on that. Okay. Such an important point. And so many we made so many mistakes, and we're making mistakes right now a guaranteed right now, we get a million and a half rows of data a day from all of our reading logs, and we have no way to process it efficiently. I mean, it's not like freshman airplane. But it's still it's frankly crashing own systems and our own ability to sort of make any sense of it. But it's not gonna stop us from continuing to move forward. It's not gonna stop us from continuing to one of the things, Jeff as my old boss says often is it's called an experiment because you don't know if it's going to succeed like that's kind of the point if you know is going to succeed, it's not even experimenting after we want to experiment in this some of our big mistakes. I mean, look we this is more of an evolution. I guess the mistake we started using one software platform kindle now, we've got a lot more readers on cellphones. Because guess what to your point earlier Keller technology moves ahead. And if you get stuck if you get sort of super, hyper focused on one. Modality. You're screwed someday. Drones will move on or whatever they'll be some, you know, quad wing version of a drone that if you're not paying attention to now, you won't even see coming and someone else will get passed or whatever it is. I just think the of another really good mistake to kind of point up. Pas they're going back to more thoughts of me. But yeah, I mean, I could go on and on about mistakes. That's where you have all your learnings and growth. Yeah. But I think for us, you know, back to distributing in the US every single day across thirty cities. We had this hypothesis when we started out we thought, oh, we can produce. Source and design these fresh meals for schools, and we invested in refrigerated distribution to go throughout our communities, and what we realized very quickly is that our schools that we were serving whether it was charter schools or big school districts or a YMCA system didn't have refrigeration. So we were getting mean, effectively, what was happening is there were gigantic freezers where frozen food was being shipped from say the midwest to San Francisco, you know, very very low quality frozen kind of commodities product and then put in gigantic microwaves. And that's what kids were eating every single day until in order to design a fresh system and invest in refrigerated distribution, and everything that comes with that we had to really crack that code of how do we get fresh food equipment and infrastructure into schools, which is a whole. All other of barrier. Right. And not to your point. It was not a red foods only thing. I mean, we went out and partnered with foundations across the US to try to fund equipment and infrastructure within our communities so that students could actually access receive refrigerated fresh meals, and then eat those meals versus having months and months of frozen commodities food stacking up in freezers where it would be microwaved later. So, you know, and now we're actually looking at heating and prepping food along the way in distribution, which is sort of the next frontier. So that students are receiving those meals just fresh and hot and delicious. And they're not sitting there. A warming of oven for any period of time. So we have a lot of a lot of stumbles trying to sell our fresh healthy product in the school systems who are like we can't accommodate this. We could never move to fresh so great reflection. What I thought what I would do just really quickly as also offer. The results of a survey that we conducted of the shop on dishes, Google, social entrepreneurs community, and for those who aren't familiar with us the network now comprises about three hundred fifty organizations both four profit about two-thirds, our nonprofit and one third are four profit organizations with rations about one hundred countries. And so in the run up to the form Daniel meeting in Davos this year, we issued a survey and when asked which technology holds the most promise for their business model a majority of the social entrepreneurs responding said. Big data an internet of things those were by far the top two next came artificial intelligence and three D printing. And when asked what major technology investment they've made in the past year, the clear winner was big data followed closely by energy because many of these organizations work in emerging markets with without stable power supplies. And then after that came I o t AI three D printing and blockchain and so interesting low. Interestingly though, a third of respondents said they had not made a technology investment in the past year. So I'm curious. You know, sort of what are your reactions to that? In particularly, you know, what advice would you give to those nonprofit leaders in the audience about not about what specific investments to make. That's very context specific. But you know, we're should they start what kind of questions should they ask what resources could they turn to and really critically? How can they bring their funders and partners along those journey? Any reflections to that before we open up to the audience? I mean for me, I think it's very what we see is that even when we're working with some of the most prestigious, go public health organizations in the world, the the level of risk aversion is incredibly high there is basically only a willingness to do things that are sure to work, and and as you were just mentioning that basically means that you will not be able to leverage technology or do something new and. The reality is that even really successful technology companies. You mentioned Jeff Bezos. I mean, they try so many things and the vast majority them don't work Amazon phone, huge disaster. And Jeff was like I'm glad we wasted a billion dollars on that. He's totally willing to take the risk. And so I think the reality is that in my opinion, the most transformative things the way that we can dramatically increase access access dramatically reduce cost for for the billions of people on the planet who don't have access to the kinds of services that we enjoy is going to be through technology. But if. Social entrepreneurs. And nonprofits today, take the perspective of we're only willing to do things that don't engender risk, then that means that those organizations will have no part in bringing that technology to those people. And so for me, I think it it's like it needs to be in a conversation probably with the board and with investors or LP's or funders, whoever it is to say like if we do we do we not want to be a part of this transformation? That's definitely going to happen. And if we do then we have to be willing to take real risk and set the expectation that some of the things we do will outright fail. They'll say just a couple of words on so maybe the Amazon stories kind of illustrative since we've mentioned Jeff a couple times. So we've been working with Amazon for eight years, and and we've been very significant partner of sin certain ways, even still when we made the most recent ask to them for about ten thousand devices to use across this entire school district in Ghana. They really hesitated and the hesitated. Because we've we I pitched it to the as sort of kind of charity, and what they actually ended up saying, this is charity may or may not be a good idea. But as a way for us to learn about reading in the developing world digital reading the building world, there's no better partner, then you've got. So they look to us to help from the reason it's relevant is because so we had to take the risk. We took eight years of risk before they were willing to say that I mean and philanthropic capital. I think can actually be a really helpful way to take respite you have to find the right philanthropist to work with. Who've got a long-term view on the upper hand. Once you've made the case once you've made the case fairly, well, then you can take to all sixty one public libraries in Kenya. Or then you can take it to forty five thousand kids in gone because then you've dearest it enough that even the big companies, even the ones who say they like risks still don't want that much risk. They can sort of come on his partner. So it's a little bit of a sort of a nuance thing. But I think you have to kind of think about you layering that risk and sort of thinking about Witcher your with your support are willing to take some of the higher risk early bets around technology and unproven things, and it all sounds very scary. And blah, blah, blah. Then you prove it a little bit. And then people come on that people could say, okay, you've proven enough. That's fine. We'll we'll take you to the next level you go. Find your next funders for the for the people want to take the big risk ver- for the next generation of big ideas. The only thing I'll add. So you guys have hit funders governance kind of values based part of that values based investor or board selection, including taking risk. I think the only dynamic all ad which is part of my growth curve is the CEO is managing your team like that. So there has to be a really safe space within the company to to make mistakes. And there's gotta be a safe space to pilot. And there's got to be a we'd now have referred to it as micro tests were doing a series of micro test for us on fresh food access for for the parents and our schools, not just the students, and we've had tons of results that have not ended up the way we thought they would and we've put money towards it and we've put team and resource in RND and production towards it. And that's okay. You know, so having just a an agreement with your team around. How are we going to test? What are we going to spend? What does success look like? What is the timeframe over which we're going to test? And how are we going to review those results? Learn really quickly from those results and refocus. So I think just in my growth as a CEO. There's a big management component of it to a great reflection. Now to your question, there's a microphone. I'd love to take a couple of questions before we go back to the panel in the interests of times, we get your questions. Thank you. Please. Introduce your Evan Marwell. I run organization called education superhighway question as you think about the being four profit in a social impact space. How do you think about pricing and trade-offs between prophets and impact in growth in your businesses? Are we all for profit? We're nothing offers. But we think about them in the forefront. Probably think about it in a similar way we expect well there. Well there. Sorry. Is there another question? Yes. Right over here. Please introduce yourself is how you find me. Me loose the run on. We're going to say. And that and my Christian to all of us if you can share a little bit about, you know, your decision process to become a social entrepreneur. So why you take that is great. Okay. Hoops were we'd like to start on either one I can go. They're both great questions. Hi, evan. I can start with a a little bit of thought on that. I mean, revolution foods has been really aggressive in our strategy to scale and effectively we knew from day one. We're a four province -ocial enterprise. It'd be corporate think we're one of the first before, but we knew right away that we we had about two dollars and ninety two cents to provide a full lunch to students every day a dollar and seventy cents for breakfast and probably seventy cents for a snack. And we knew that it would take scale to reach an even positive level. So and new that sort of creating that access was first and foremost for us. So again back to what Keller said, we took very much view of. Let's be really honest about our projections, and what it's gonna cost to provide the quality that we know kids and families deserve. At a certain level of scale before reaching not EBITDA positive point for us. And we knew that we had to price within reimbursement. Rates to make our nutrition affordable and accessible to the schools and communities. We wanted to serve which are about seventy five percent free introduce lunch. So very very low income overall. And again, I think it's about that agreement and that alignment with your investors. And we've had a lot of people say no way, we would not invest in this. It's a seven year horizon versus a two year horizon. And I think that's okay because the people who are the right people opt in and the people who were the wrong folks opt out, and so it's it's been a very conscious decision to scale to a certain level nationally with a clear perspective on sort of at what point we would break, even and for us one hundred million dollars in revenue before we got to that. We're about one hundred and fifty million dollar company, right? Now, and it took about level to get to a point where we can provide access to large public school systems and generate core market core market profitability in our regions. I mean, our perspective is just that. Like this sense that. You. Shouldn't have a margin in terms of the service, you're providing I think you often hear it in global public health. I think it's like so far off because the reality is for us that we just think the most transformational changes that are going to play out in in in these economies over time. It's going to be due to things that are scalable. And so it's really important for us that each distribution center, not only be able to cover its own costs. But also that we can take some of that money and fund future growth. So that we can take that success that we see in Rwanda to now Ghana and Tanzania and lots of other countries that we've announced we're working in. So I think that I and not only that. But then it's the point I made which is that I think so much of the services that are being provided in a purely philanthropic way in these countries don't actually work that well because the organization it's not the organization's Paul. It's just that the organization has no ability to a raise money from private investors, which while you're giving up a huge resource there and. Be you don't have the ability to take something from your operations and reinvested making actual product better or the team better. And so, you know, zip line we've tried to position our company in a way where we have a very clear mission. Like, we know what we want to accomplish in the world, we know whose lives when wanna make better. But because we're also building technology that's relevant in a number of different markets. We've been able to raise over. I mean today we've raised over fifty million dollars from private investors able to partner with public organizations like Gabby and the Gates Foundation. And then we're able to sign contracts directly with governments where they're paying per delivery. So this is kind of a different model. But the exciting thing about it is it will actually scale to a billion people. And I guess I guess I think we kinda miss your question though. So what what got you started and David maybe you want to take that one to actually I'll try to take them both Evans, and yours because her so we're a nonprofit funnily enough over the last five years we've raised about fifty million dollars as well. So sort of similar scale, we took the view, and this gets to your question about why sort of entering the sort of social enterprise space and kind of blend between nonprofit, a social enterprise, we sort of took the view that this was a market failure. This was not going to happen that the the big company the big publishers the world, the big harbour manufacturers world, even the big school systems will work going to focus on digital in getting billions of people to read digitally anytime soon. Not in the next five ten fifteen years. You know, Amazon's got a lot of things on their mind. Pearson's got a lot of things on their mind. And so this is going to be opportunity to number ten thousand on their list. If we sorta let the market. Play. And maybe maybe they'd never get to it on the other hand, we could serve prime that pump world. You know, we could sorta say like let's figure out a way for us to demonstrate that this works and almost show them that there may be a market there may still be two to five to ten years out. But at least they should be thinking about it. And we have some evidence both with Amazon and Pearson. Microsoft is well actually gets back to the earlier question. Big mistakes. We actually made a big windows phone version of our app. Anyone here use windows? Yeah. I thought zero so that was a mistake on our part we made that we've we sort of bet on the wrong horse there. But in any case still we were trying to demonstrate to a for profit. Maybe if you park with us, it might open up a new opportunity in that case, it wasn't enough to save them. But I think in to your point color. I think the there's an expression no margin. No mission. You know? So even in the nonprofit space, you have to figure out what your economic Sar, and you better figure out that your costs your costs better be lower than than your pricing. Whatever it is. It may just be that the pricing isn't the pricing to the end user. But. Some other donor who's you kind of this triangle thing going on or donor funds. You, and then you cost it in a way that allows you to then deliver the service over here. But I I don't think there's a good what you can't go to a billion people. If you don't have a pretty strong economic model and donor funding is probably not a strong enough economic thought you'd better have some revenue as well. Other questions. I see one question here on one question right here up front. Please introduce yourself Kelly Hutchinson from the university of Melbourne a strategy until the accent. I'm interested. We you mentioning that the Dada Dada was the most important thing that nonprofits and social enterprises identified. So I asked the question what does from whom when and how so we know that through such I've done for my PHD that data is always provided from the nonprofit the fun. The funding the beneficiary through to the funding organization. And it's quite a requirement full these organizations to actually deliver on that. And I've actually given advice if you don't have your small non profit, and you don't have the ability to do the monitoring and evaluation don't take the money 'cause you need to spend ten to fifteen twenty percent unnaturally proving how you did what you did. And those those that metrics measurement. I know is the other areas changed, but what I'm interested. See is. Is there an appetite for sharing of this data because that's the only way we're going to get to Sciutto is actually having big Dada. Don't just out of what I've done in what these known done exactly looking at that analysis across the whole sector and actually twin you bring different data sources together that you actually get the science. So it's actually the economic data from the macho working, it's if you're able to see what the potential for a commercial entity might be in the future. And how are you approaching that data question from old the perspective from the short foundation as well? That's a great question unless question right here. Can you introduce yourself? I think this works. My name is not syringe male. I work with care, and I work in Somalia, so perhaps not a place that you're all going to be running to to test your model, but Tom, you know, somebody that's been one of these countries have been there protected prices for so long has all kinds of issues that we don't have time today, but I'd be really interested because we've been talking about throughout this morning models in pivoting responding to moments, but being planning for movements that lasts long. I'm wondering with your models. I suppose they've been models that have gotten you here to the successes that you have but what new models look like that. I think for me, I think about models that can work in conflict setting sometimes many organizations like like, my own has had a lot of difficulty. And we don't celebrate the kind of filler is that I think is being expressed today. In fact, we get the term down for for funding when you adapt. When you experiment. So my question is what what are the models are going to get you through the next ten twenty thirty years. Great big questions. Perfect questions and Don data and pivot and particularly the relevance in conflict zones keeping in mind. Chance or the conflict question. That's something. We get asked about a lot for obvious reasons in their big advantages of using autonomous delivery methods. If you're in a war zone, or if it's very dangerous to send a human out. So examples of that would be when conflict is ongoing or you know, you just may have read that there's been a new Abullah outbreak in the DRC. These are really good examples where sending a human who's like basically willing to sacrifice their life. I mean that's incredibly relic, but we should not have to force people to sacrifice their lives in order to deliver critical medical care to people in an outbreak, scenario or conflict scenario. So that's definitely something. We're really really excited about that said, and this just gives you a sense for where we're coming from like zip line has been dealing with haters for seven years now who told us this was the stupidest idea ever and was never gonna work and we've had to not only ignore them, but we've had to go disprove them. And so we have made we've been very cautious about making sure that in the first few countries. As we launch in the technology doesn't feel for reasons that don't have to do with the technology. And and that is our primary concern in terms of starting in some of these much harder to to to operate regions. It is a core part of our mission. And we want to do it. It's just that. We can't do it. I because we got to prove that it works somewhere. I. Thanks color, the data question. Sure. I'll take data in fifteen seconds or less. I mean, so we actually you know, what good news Zev low who's sitting right? There is actually one of our chief data guys at world leader at he's all about trying to figure out a way not just to collect the data. But to share it as well, I'll say we work with the university of Washington even worse San Francisco based in the US, but the university of Washington has a lab called technology and social change, and they're doing a lot of the analysis for us of our data set impart to help us not just understand what's going on. But also to share with the world. I think your your your point is is is spot on. It's really one of the game changers because we don't have to guess anymore. Someone reading we can know, and we can no is a school performing underperforming to game changer, but Charon super key gotta have help with it. Chris any reflections on how you're going to pivot for the five ten fifteen years ahead. I think I've been very well part of it as pivoting but staying at it in the sense of taking away excuses. I mean, what I've been really pleasantly surprised by with all the challenges of being an entrepreneur and trying to scale is the fact that you actually don't have to have that much scale to drive systems change. So for us. We may seem big versus enterprise actually, quite small for a big company and we're seeing procurement policy shift. We're seeing big legacy food companies respond. We're seeing. Fresh food aggregation and access improve in a way that just wasn't possible five years ago. So I do think and most importantly, we're seeing clear academic outcomes in our schools correlating the approach degrade intrusion with improved academic performance. So I think the really positive thing is this this movement of social enterprise and innovative models can actually drive a lot of change at not too big a scale if we stick with bit and keep taking away the excuses and keep aggregating the data and sharing that you can be a small organization and still shift system. I think absolutely brilliant note for us all to end on. We are out of time. I really wanna think David color and Chris for sharing their insights with us today. You've been listening to a podcast by Stanford social innovation review, a part of the center on philanthropy and civil society at Stanford University for more podcasts articles and other content about innovating persona change. Please visit our website at SSI dot org. Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. I'm Eric ni. And thank you for listening.

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