Announcing the Business Fights Poverty Design Expo 2014

By Zahid Torres-Rahman, Business Fights Poverty, and Lewis Temple, iDE UK

Announcing the Business Fights Poverty Design Expo 2014

A creative revolution is underway around the design of products and services that transform the lives of poor people. But perhaps the most exciting activity is around combining design innovation with business model innovation, so that social impact can be achieved on a massive scale.

With 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty, it is urgent that we find design solutions that are commercially sustainable and that can have a transformative social impact. There are too few examples where product and service design innovations have succeeded at scale. This needs to change.

Through an exciting collaboration between Business Fights Poverty and iDE UK, we want to help drive forward thinking on how design can change the world for the better by convening the world’s first online Design Expo – from 9 to 13 June.

We will be building on the experience of Paul Polak, The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and other pioneers who first shone a spotlight on “designing for the other 90 per cent” of the world’s population who have little or no access to the products and services that can improve their lives.

The Design Expo will include a vibrant mix of live video interviews with some of the world’s leading pioneers, live co-creation clinics with subject experts, insight articles on the latest design thinking, and an online exhibition zone showcasing the best product and service designers.

The Design Expo will celebrate product design successes, share powerful stories of the challenges facing individuals and communities, explore the complexities of getting products to market and showcase the amazing business models that have been developed.

Each day of the week will focus on one of 5 sectors: Energy (9 June), Health (10 June), Communications (11 June), Livelihoods (including enterprise, finance and agriculture) (12 June) and Water & Sanitation (13 June). The online exhibition will also be structured around these 5 sectors.

The Business Fights Poverty Design Expo 2014 will include a rich and interactive mix of activities and spaces for knowledge sharing and networking.

  • Keynote interviews with topic pioneers. We will run a number of Google Hangout interviews with key thinkers to explore the latest trends, challenges and opportunities – on topics such as zero-based design, harnessing existing and emerging technology, and creating new distribution models.
  • Live co-creation clinics with subject experts. We will run a number of online live-chat clinics for people to discuss challenges, share fixes and co-create solutions. Our vision is that an open source approach will speed up the design process and result in a product/service solution that meets the desired performance, price specification and social impact.
  • Twitter Jam. Together with Triple Pundit, we will run a Twitter Chat on Tuesday 10 June (4.30 UK time / 11.30 ET) with a range of experts to stimulate a wider conversation around each of the Design Expo featured sectors.
  • Insight articles to share best-practice learning. We are keen to surface stories of people and their ingenuity in solving problems: how working with designers, businesses, distributors and government enabled them to get their products to market: amazing solutions from remarkable people. In these articles, individuals will share practical insights on what worked and what didn’t.
  • An online exhibition zone for product and service designers. We will showcase the very best designs across the 5 sectors. For each design innovation, we will explore the what, why and how of the product or service, and its role in finding solutions to specific consumer challenges.

Get Involved!

We want you to be a part of this!

  • Are you interested in writing or reposting an article? Articles will be 500-800 words. We will supply you with our Style Guide. We will publish 2 to 3 articles a day around each day’s sector focus.
  • Would you like to join one of our expert panels? The panel discussions will take place every day from 3.30 to 4.30 UK time, and will take the form of a one-hour written discussion.
  • Would you like to showcase your product or service in our Online Exhibition? There is no charge. We will supply you with a simple template.
  • Would you like to join the Twitter Jam Panel? We will kick off the Twitter Jam on Tuesday 10 June at 4.30 UK time, with the hashtag #bfpexpo

If so, please apply to Robert Silberman, Curator of this year’s Design Expo, who will be able to let you know if your product or service meets the Expo criteria. We will need all content by 30 May.

After the Design Expo, all the content will live on in a new Design Zone – a space for the conversation to continue!

Our aim is to stimulate a broad interest in the business and social opportunities provided by this exceptional and dynamic marketplace. Help us make this vision a reality!

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One Response

  1. In the great scheme it things this may be small beer but I am about to launch a new business (with new business model) with newly designed products. The business model will be entitled  ‘The 10% Solution” and the first products will be designed especially for the World Cup in Brasil next month. Essentially 10% of the sales will be given over to ‘good causes’ which could include seed capital for start-up business.

    It will involve 16 of the competing countries for which I own their national tartan. That tartan design will form the core of the design and will make these products both unique and relevant to the purchaser. If you think these would be appropriate for the Design Expo please let me know. we launch next week.