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Linking Into the BoP

Image rendered from logos of Linked In and the BoP Learning Lab

A few years ago I was swept up in a wave six-degrees-of-separation invitations from the professional networking site Linked In, most of the invitations coming from old b-school classmates at UNC.  As a good little networking MBA, I sent out as many invitations as I could too, feeling a certain thrill in seeing the breadth of my professional and social network. However after that initial rush I pretty much forgot all about it.  “Who actually uses this thing?” I remember thinking.

Then a week ago I got another invitation from an old colleague of mine at Rockwell International who wanted to reconnect and to share the news that a patent application of ours had finally been accepted (I have two patents in my name, officially making me an “inventor”, albeit the kind that doesn’t make any money for his inventions).  This old colleague wrote, “I always wondered what happened to you after you went back to school, sounds like you’re doing some interesting things!”

Those words sent me back into the Linked In universe, searching for other old colleagues that I had missed.  And after the excitement of reaching out to old acquaintances had passed, I decided to go poking around my Linked In network. It didn’t take long before I started looking for other people who also worked in the Base of the Pyramid. About 65 connections came up, interestingly enough most of them at 2 least degrees away or more: meaning I have few direct connections working in my own field.  

Exceptional Lives - Pilgrimages about People

I've often said that one of the greatest joys of my work is the exceptional people that I get to meet and to develop friendships with. Whether or not it's Salim Mohamed and Sammy Gitau in Kenya, Murali Ramisetti in India, or Theresa Williamson in Brazil, I have been blessed to know so many people who are busy painting their visions of a better world into reality. So I've often wondered, "What it would be like to just go on a pilgrimage to find and learn from such people?"

Inspirations: BoP-Protocol.org and e4sw.org

Things have been pretty quiet around the BRINQ Workshop, only a few posts in the last six months, so what have we been up to?

Well, besides trying to get things started in Brazil again, I've been doing a lot of work for other folks, most particularly Enterprise for a Sustainable World (ESW), a new organization started up by Cornell University professor and Sustainability guru Stuart Hart, whose book "Capitalism at the Crossroads" we covered here before.

WorldPlay.org - A World of Toys


We love a good idea when we see it, especially when it's just like one of our own! Check out World
Play, a non-profit founded to share the diversity of toys and play among communities throughout the world. Sound familiar?

http://www.WorldPlay.org/

We love a good idea when we see it, especially when it's just like one of our own! Check out World Play, a non-profit founded to share the diversity of toys and play among communities throughout the world. Sound familiar?

Finding the Hard Answers - Catalytic Communities Launches Upgraded Site

Catalytic Communities (CatComm), our community partner in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, announced the launch of its new community empowering site www.CatComm.org. CatComm is a huge inspiration for us here at BRINQ, their insights in cultivating and capturing local innovations have been critical to us in our early years and their active work with communities generating solutions has taught us that stronger relationships lead to more viable innovations. In a world of people content with "asking the hard questions", Catalytic Communities is a refreshing example of an organization actually looking for the hard answers.

WRI Officially launches NextBillion.net

The World Resources Institute has officially launched NextBillion.net, an online community focused on the intersection of business, innovation and poverty. We were lucky enough to get an early look at NextBillion, and WRI was kind enough to quote our impressions in their press release. See for yourself!

New WRI Blog Targets 'Next Billion' Consumers Dollars

WASHINGTON, May 27, 2006 - The World Resources Institute has launched an interactive blog focusing on business's role in eradicating world poverty. The organization hopes to position its new "NextBillion.net -- Development through Enterprise" blog as "the world's premiere online water cooler and conference room" for socially responsible business development.

Previously, there have been e-mail lists for such business developers, but NextBillion.net allows development and poverty reduction to reach a new level by offering a bottom-up educational resource and threaded-discussion tool for everyone from multinational executives to small-business entrepreneurs.

Representatives of companies such as Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Pitney Bowes, DuPont and SC Johnson (as well as many innovative individuals) have already begun posting comments and discussions on the blog. For instance, noted author Stuart Hart posted exclusive content this week detailing issues highlighted in his new book, Capitalism at the Crossroads: The Unlimited Business Opportunities in Solving the World's Most Difficult Problems. Additionally, with today's official launch, NextBillion.net's creators expect to quickly establish the site as the top news feed and content resource for corporations, foundations, the business-school community, poverty NGOs, development organizations, and many others.

Reaching the Next Billion (World Resources Institute)

Well, it looks the folks at the World Resources Institute (WRI) have put together yet another great resource for the rest of us. WRI is behind a litany of world-changing best hits, including Beyond Grey Pinstripes, which tracks business schools on the leading edge of sustainability, the Digital Dividends progam, identifying and promoting solutions to the global digital divide, the New Ventures program, investment for sustainably oriented start-ups in the developing world, and the fantastic Eradicating Poverty through Profit conference, first held last December in San Francisco.

NextBillion.net, WRI's latest resource, was born of the fabulous community that came together for the Eradicating Poverty conference: close to a thousand aspiring and accomplished world changers, entrepreneurs and representatives of multinationals, NGOs, universities, governments, and local businesses from throughout the developed and developing world.

Rather than explain much more, I'll just let WRI do it themselves.

Rapid Prototyping for the Masses?

One critical tool for innovation is the ability to do rapid innovation and testing, or as they say in open-source "release early and often." How can rapid prototyping be handled by aspiring designers living in the BOP?At BRINQ, we promote the innovation and design capabilities of people in the Base of the Pyramid (BOP), with a particular focus on toy design in Latin America.

BRINQ's Best of the Web - Sustainability and BOP Blogs and Links

In our research and discussions we've come across a number of wonderful websites and blogs on sustainability and the Base of the Pyramid (BOP). We'd like to share them with you. We'll keep updating this list as we continue to discover more of this fantastic work!In our research and discussions we've come across a number of wonderful websites and blogs on sustainability and the Base of the Pyramid (BOP). We'd like to share them with you. We'll keep updating this list as we continue to discover more of this fantastic work!

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