Design Revolution

Sun-Powered Irrigation

By Jack Keller, P.E., Paul Polak, Paul Storaci, and Robert Yoder A note from Paul Polak: This is the last paper my dear friend and soul brother, Jack Keller, wrote, He died recently at the age of 85 at an IDE social gathering, in the middle of an animated discussion on politics, He put down… Read More »

The Next Digital Revolution

If the giants of global business had used some of the basic principles of appropriate technology effectively, Those giants and the companies they formed would have literally transformed business as it is today.

Simplicity Brings Hope to the Digital Age

Seoul Digital Forum, May 22, 2012 Business leaders today spend all their time trying to serve the richest 10% of the world’s customers. We need a revolution in business thinking to create products and services for the other 90%, not because it is the moral thing to do, but because there are vast new profitable… Read More »

Building A Better Mousetrap is Only the Beginning

Paul Polak Responds to Acumen Fund’s Lesson #6 – “Great Technology Alone is not the Answer”   Question: If you build a better mousetrap will the world beat a path to your door? Answer: Without superb marketing and distribution nobody beats a path to your door. In my work with a multitude of affordable technologies… Read More »

From Concept to Market: How to Design for Impact

This week, we’re happy to introduce a new Question-and-Answer blog format – where Paul Polak will post video answers to questions submitted on social media, for others to reference. If you have a question you’d like Paul to answer please tweet us at @OutofPoverty or e-mail Paul at whatworks@whyworks.com. Responding to Martin Herrndorf’s (@Herrndorf) blog post titled… Read More »

¡Viva la revolución

Five years ago, at the Aspen design summit, I said that 90% of the world’s designers spent all of their time addressing the needs of the richest 10% of the world’s customers. I also said that before I die I want to see that silly ratio turned on its head. What followed was an amazing… Read More »

Affordable Design Comes to Denver – “Design for the Other 90%” – RedLine Gallery

by Kali Friedmann The Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt “Design for the Other 90%” exhibit has arrived at RedLine Gallery in downtown Denver, showcasing products designed explicitly to fit the needs and circumstances of the world’s poorest customers – the “other 90%” who are bypassed by current design processes. The exhibit, organized in part by International Development Enterprises… Read More »

The Birth and Death of Big Institutions

By Paul Polak The failure of development is closely tied to the ossification of big institutional structures. The World Bank was born as a vehicle for reconstructing Europe after World War II, a task it carried out with amazing success. But when it morphed into a massive institution to address global poverty, it didn’t do… Read More »

Applying the Design Revolution to the Woes of Big Canals

By Paul Polak The 13,324 miles of canal system in Pakistan’s Sindh province irrigates 12 million acres of land. That’s a canal that’s long enough to cross the United States three times! This canal system and others like it make as significant a contribution to feeding the world’s growing population as the introduction of the… Read More »

Big Dams or Sprinkling Cans?

By Paul Polak Everybody in the world knows about big dams. They do irreparable damage to the environment and the  millions of people they displace, but we need to keep building a few of them to feed the nine billion people we expect will live on planet earth when its population stabilizes. Ten years ago, ten world… Read More »

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