“Social Entrepreneurship” – Ashoka’s Bill Drayton speaks…
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“Social Entrepreneurship” – Ashoka’s Bill Drayton speaks…

August 28, 2019


DR. LARRY BRILLANT: The
festivities and choreography will be something like this. We’re going to see an
eight minute video. Then I have the great honor
of inducing Bill to you. Then Bill is going to bring a
whole host of his retinue up here and talk to you
for a little while. Then you’re going to get
to ask questions. So let’s start with the video. [MUSIC PLAYING] BILL DRAYTON: A leading social
entrepreneur sees a new opportunity, figures it out,
and then they start introducing it at
the local level. That upsets the existing
arrangements, it undermines the idea that things
don’t change. It’s like plowing the earth. MALE SPEAKER: To identify
extraordinary natural leaders who are emerging worldwide,
Ashoka has built a rigorous, five-step selection process. A process, that in itself, helps
candidates hone their organizational vision. As Lee Hamilton said, Ashoka
invented, refined, and globally implemented a highly
rigorous adaptation of business venture capital methods
that finds and helps launch the best new social
entrepreneurs and their ideas and institutions. Sixty percent of those it
selects change national policy within five years. BILL DRAYTON: What we’re looking
for first, and very simply put, is this idea
together with this person going to change the pattern in
their field, education, human rights, whatever, on a roughly
continental scale? MALE SPEAKER: Ashoka’s real
power is that it is a many-faceted community. It enables these ideas and
change makers to weave together to do far
more together than they could alone. This community without boarders
is also building business society bridges
which will have extraordinary impact. As community grows, change
accelerates. [MUSIC PLAYING] MALE SPEAKER: We are
fighting against a centuries-old problem. Hundreds of thousands
of children are used as slave laborers. They were considered and treated
worse than animals. I realized that somebody
has to take initiative. Somebody has to speak out. Each time I went to rescue
children, it was really challenging. It was hard. Two of my colleagues
were shot dead. I was attacked several times. But we have to go on and keep
on rescuing those children. Each time I bring a child to a
mother back home, each time I feel more strong. We have freed tens of thousands
of child bonded laborers in the past 20 years. I’m very confident
that the slavery has to go in my lifetime. MALE SPEAKER: Satiate created
the Rugmark label that identifies a rug as
child labor free. Rugmark’s impact on the carpet
industry and beyond is global. Now consumer products from
clothing to athletic equipment have similar labels, seen as
a marketing advantage. J.B. SCHRAMM: Two critical
things about Ashoka, one is that Ashoka believes
that leadership drives social change. And second that leadership has
power through networks. [MUSIC PLAYING] TOMASZ SADOWSKI:
[SPEAKING IN POLISH] TRANSLATOR: After the fall of
communism in Poland, many people found the market
difficult. They lost their homes, their
livelihood, everything. I saw a solution in creating
self-help homes, communities in which people help
themselves. The state sold us this derelict house for a token sum. We call it Barka like the Ark. Barka carries the unwanted,
those left behind, the homeless, the alcoholics,
mental patients, whole families with nowhere to go. All who come are given work,
in the kitchen, driving, building, on the farm. They all feel needed. We gave these people
the will to live. Barka has 20 houses, 500
residents, and another 2,000 people come to ask for work. My wife and I would like to
export the idea of Barka across Europe so more people can
learn to help themselves. MALE SPEAKER: From these
beginnings, the Barka model has been adopted by the Polish
government and has spread throughout Europe. CAROL SHAPIRO: Most programs in justice are deficit oriented. They focus on problems. We focus on strengths, strengths
of families, strengths of government, and
strengths of communities in which people live. [MUSIC PLAYING] SURAIYA HAQUE: A woman came to
me for a job, and I turned her away because she had
a small child. And that started haunting me. I realized that these women
needed a child care facility to keep their job. So I started Phulki. Phulki is a Bengali word. It means spark, the spark
of a new idea. My two sons gave me their
first pay check. And with that, I started the
first Phulki center. The best thing about this
project is the employer is allowing their workers to come
and breastfeed their children two or three times in a day. Child care facilities reduce
the absenteeism, they can retain their skilled
worker, and migration is also declined. In garment sector alone, 1.2
million women are walking. Since Phulki started, we’re
providing child care facilities to 18 factories. My dream is all the 2,500
garment’s factories will have a daycare facility. MALE SPEAKER: Government
offices, the banking sector, hospitals, garment
manufacturers, and other citizens sector organizations
are following Haque’s model. Nike, Reebok, Levi’s, and Van
Heusen are helping set the standard for overseas
manufacturers. PAUL RICE: Ashoka has such a
broad network, not only of entrepreneurs but also of
people who support this approach to social change, that
it offers us a tremendous opportunity in terms of getting
the word out and building broader support
for fair trade. [MUSIC PLAYING] RODRIGO BAGGIO: In 1993,
I had a dream. I saw our poor youth using
computers and finding solutions for their problems
through the computers. People have said, Rodrigo
you are crazy. Because poor people have the
mind of poor people. And they never can
use computers. I started an organization called
CDI, Committee for Democracy Information
Technology. I created the first school
inside the favela in the ghetto in Rio de Janeiro. We have partnerships with
companies and international foundations that give
money, computers, and technical skills. We have 106 CDI schools in
17 Brazilian states. Over 50,000 poor youth
learn the information technology with us. Our goal is to include poor
youth in the digital era. We show another way of life. They don’t need crime. They find jobs. And they change their
behavior. CDI is my passion. Everyday I realize my dream. I love my work. MALE SPEAKER: Baggio developed
partnerships with over 20 organizations including
Microsoft, AOL, IBM, and UNISYS. His approach has been copied in
11 countries, changed 1.8 million lives, and has been
recommended by UNESCO as a model for other developing
countries. Ashoka measures the
entrepreneur’s impact five years after their launch. Is the work continuing? Have other institutions
copied the innovation? Have they changed
national policy? As these people and their ideas
succeed, they become role models encouraging many
others to care and to act. More importantly, as their
innovations enter one local community after another, they
break up old patterns and provide user friendly
new approaches. Nothing could be more
conducive to the multiplication of local change
makers whose successes in turn encourage more local
change makers. They change patterns that
resisted change. They bold enabling frameworks
that support action by other citizens and entrepreneurs. Collaborating through Ashoka,
these leading social entrepreneurs are creating a
world, where everyone will be a change maker. [MUSIC PLAYING] BILL DRAYTON: This is one of
those incredibly rare moments in history where there
is a deep, profound change going on. And our job is to serve that. What a privilege. DR. LARRY BRILLANT:
We’re talking about what a privilege. My name is Larry Brilliant. I’m a Noogler. And I’m the new Executive
Director of Google. I’m new here, but
I’m an old guy. And I want to tell you that,
especially for those of you who are so young, when you try
to do something huge like economic development, or combat
global poverty, or stop the climate crisis, these are
not cross sectional nouns that occur over a short
period of time. These are verbs that span
a long duration of time. Bill’s life and service spans
a long duration of time. I’m just going to tell you
a little bit about that. This is Wavy Gravy
and Bill Drayton. And they met together doing
a form of social service. It was the 60’s form of social
service about 35 years ago. And they’re just re-meeting
each other right now. So we are all having a
lot of fun with that. When I think about the social
entrepreneurs that have inspired my generation the most,
it’s Martin Luther King who was a social entrepreneur. And it’s Mahatma Gandhi who was
a social entrepreneur and Martin Luther King’s role model
in part of the contagion of that virus. And Bill Drayton is inspired
by, informed by, and is a student of Mahatma Gandhi. He’s a Gandhian. And I can’t tell you what a
privilege and a honor it is for me to be introducing him. We’ve walked on many of the
same paths of pilgrimage. Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali
poet, wrote a poem, which said, the great dawn, which is
for all, arise in the east. Let it’s light show us to each
other, who walk on the same path of pilgrimage. And I think there’s many from my
generation who look at what Bill has done as that verb, as
that continuation of a promise that began when we were all
young and idealistic. And we thought we’d be
able to change the world and make it better. But he’s actually done it. He’s walked with Vinoba Bhave,
one of Mahatma Gandhi’s disciples who walked
through Orissa. And from the power
of his being– from the satyagraha– from the soul force, that
he was able to bring. He was able to go and meet rich
landowners and show them that it was wrong for them
to have so much when others had so little. And these rich landowners would
surrender their villages and give them to the poor in
a movement called Gramdan. And Bill actually saw
that happened. That really happened. He walked with Chia Burkarsh
Niwaren in Bihar in the 1970’s. I actually had the chance to
walk with Chia Burkarsh Niwaren in Bihar in the 70’s. And Chia Burkarsh Niwaren
exhibited the same Gandhian ability to tell truth to power
with so much humility and force that the powerful opened
up in front of his armies of peasants and workers. And he changed India’s
history. And I think what Bill Drayton
is doing and what Ashoka is doing is no less changing
history than Vinoba Bhave and Chia Burkarsh Niwaren. And that’s the context that I
want you to see what he is doing and what these Ashoka
Fellowships mean. Because he’s being true to his
teacher, to his lineage, and the concepts that Gandhi
enunciated. I’m so honored to introduce,
therefore, Bill Drayton. BILL DRAYTON: Larry didn’t
mention a few other things. We both, I think all three of us
actually, traveled to India overland, to learn and
to contribute. In their case, they were
concerned that the response to the disasters in Pakistan and
Bangladesh where not– My ability to defeat all
known technologies. If you’re ever in danger from
Hal, just ask me to come. And I will short circuit
him on the spot. And yes, we share a
tremendous amount. And I think all of us
in this room do. Everyone is here as a change
maker for the good. And I think that’s what unites
the spirit of Google and the group of people at Google who,
on this beautiful day, choose to be here. We’ve all got that goal. And so my job in this sequence
is to try and provide a little framework. And then you’ll see three
of my colleagues. And hopefully we’ll have most of
the time for conversation. History is really critical for
understanding the opportunity we all have now. The agricultural revolution
produced a very small surplus. It supported a few percent at
most. Everyone else had to keep producing the barley for
that few percent to move to Jericho or Pataliputra. and begin civilization. We’re way past the point where
a few percent should be running everything. But they still are. And all our ultimate objectives,
all of us in this room, is to get to the point,
to break through, where in Ashoka’s articulation of our
core phrase, everyone is a change maker. Everyone knows that they
can cause change. And they can work with others
to make that happen. And it’s only when you
know that, that you are a full citizen. We can’t continue to exist in
the fast-changing, complicated world where only two or three
percent are able to provide answers and cause change. It just doesn’t work. If you have a sense that the
problems are out running the solutions, you’re right. There’s only one answer to that
and that’s to increase the number of problem solvers. And that’s, I think, what
we all share in common. Now we are at a moment in
history where the breakthrough is right within our grasp. Gandhi, Tagore, King, all of
these folks are partners in the same journey. We are privileged to be at the
moment where the breakthrough really can come. And social entrepreneurs are not
unique, but they are very, very critical key agents
of this change. The four people you
just saw on the video, they had a vision. They gave themselves permission
to do it. And they’ve had a big impact. And even since the statistics
of a year ago when we made this video, the numbers keep
increasing and the impact. So we’ve said from the
beginning, what is the most powerful force in the world? And we think, we’ve said for
years, it’s a big idea but only if it’s in the hands of
a really good entrepreneur. It’s that combination, idea and
entrepreneur, and then the institution they build,
that moves the world. If you think about it, we’ve
elected over 1,700 Fellows at the beginning points
of their career. On average, it varies from
year to year, somewhere between 50% and 60%
have already changed national policy. It’s a very, very powerful
group of people. Now we’ve learned since
then that there is something more powerful. And that’s when you build a
community of leading social entrepreneurs connected to
everyone else as needed. There are two levels that
works at, one is simply working together. So if you’re dealing with the
trafficking of women and children in South and
Southeast Asia, you can’t do it alone. Women disappear from Nepal, and
they show up in Bombay or from Northeast Thailand,
et cetera. You’re dealing with folks who
deal cross nationally, sophisticated, complicated
forces. And we need to have the 20 or so
Fellows who are working in that area closely connected. So just at a practical level,
collaboration of that sort is really important. But then there’s a deeper level
of collaboration, which we have spent 10, 12
years now learning. And that is when you take 400
leading social entrepreneurs who’ve conceived a powerful
idea, that’s changed policy, that’s operating at a large
scale, you have something much more powerful than the sum
of those 400 ideas. Each of them is typically a
human being, like one of the people in this room, gave
themselves permission. They kept looking
at a problem. They came up with an answer. And it was who they are and
those skills and insights they brought in that moment
in time. They saw an opening that could
make a big difference. But it’s a partial answer. One principal, one delivery
system, a couple of clients. When you have 400, you can see
many principals, many delivery systems. Let me give you an example. There are 400 Fellows who are
primarily focused on children and young people. Now one of the principles we’ve
learned is that if young people don’t master empathy,
they are going to be marginalized in the
modern world. And this world we live in, we
have 25%, 30% of the world’s people marginalized. People don’t want to
deal with them. Whole groups of people
are marginalized. Now what is the cause of
that marginalization? There are multiple causes. But we’ve come to believe,
increasingly that the single most important cause is that
whole groups, and therefore the individuals in them, have
not mastered a very complicated skill, which
is applied empathy. In 1900, 97% of the world’s
children were growing up in isolated, small, static,
pretty static agricultural villages. And if they just learned the
rules, if they did what their father did or their mother
did, they’d be fine. They’d be accepted in society. They’d be functional. No more. Every day all of us are in
situations where the rules haven’t been invented yet. Where there’s a conflict
of rules. The manufacturing department and
the sales department have different rules, let alone when
you cross organizational or cultural lines. We have to, every day,
constantly do this very complicated thing of
understanding we’re about to say something or do something,
what’s the impact going to be on all the people around us
several layers out, and into the future? And adjust our behavior
to be a good person. And if we can’t do that, we’re
a walking time bomb. And no one wants to deal with
us, even if we know computers or Latin or whatever. This is not a genetic skill. This is a learned
social skill. And we’ve got a lot
of humanity that isn’t learning it. And there are many Fellows
who’ve figured out how to help children and young people
master it very simply. One Canadian fellow takes a one
year old infant plus mom, and in eight hours, has kids
in, as young as possible– she has one hour a month over a
school year, those kids are grasping it. Bullying rates go down
and stay down. But the point of this is, when
you look at any issue area, and you look at great social
entrepreneurs, and you try to find out what are the principles
that they have discovered? That the decision makers in
that field, in this case people running schools for youth
programs, if we can just get it to them, they’ll
say, boy this is an idea we can run with. And then our job together is
to market it, to make that happen, to flip the
whole system. That is way more powerful
than the sum of the 400 individuals together. And so there is something more
powerful than a big idea in the hands of an entrepreneur. It’s when we work together, when
we entrepreneur together. And this is an area where I
think the opportunities for working with Google, in terms
of helping people think together across geographies
are enormous. This is something we’re all
just learning how to do. It’s a key frontier in
thinking together. Now is there anything even
more powerful than that? You might ask. And we think there
actually is. And I’ve alluded
to it already. Each of us has a great answer. And you’ll hear from Karen
in a minute as another concrete example. But all our answers
have half lives. And they’re getting shorter
and shorter and shorter. The faster the world changes,
the shorter the useful life of any solution. The one thing that is
bigger than that is everyone a change maker. If we can go from a few percent,
and ten years from now we have 15% to 20% of the
world’s people knowing that they can cause change,
we have changed the world permanently forever. Those people are
not going back. There’s a ratchet effect here. Once people are powerful,
they don’t want to be an object again. Once they have those skills,
they’re not going to give them up. It’s very contagious. And that’s our opportunity. How can we make that
breakthrough from a few percent to 20%? And the next generation
50% to 70%? And then just imagine the
architecture of human society is changed permanently. We have, what I think is sort of
an electromechanical system at the moment, which is designed
for a few people to control everyone
who’s passive. Imagine something, I apologize
for my science here. But I think of something
like the brain. Where you have synapses going
in every direction all the time, always open to create new
synapses, new patterns. Every single human being, being
the equivalent of a really smart white blood cell. Not just going around destroying
bad things but building new things,
the future. When someone sees something
that’s stuck, they say to themselves what fun. I can go and deal with that. I know how to deal with that. But we live in a world where 97%
of the world’s people are afraid to see a problem. Because if they see a problem,
what are they going to do? They know they can’t do
anything about it. So that’s an unhappy
moment for them. So they avoid even seeing
the problems. Once people love the idea of
solving problems, and they know they can. We’re going to see the
problems faster. We’re going to solve
them faster. That’s a really different
world. It’s also a world that is much
more likely to be fair. When you have a monopoly on
initiative of two or three percent, not surprisingly the
resources and the power flows to the people who have
that monopoly. And so I think, we all have a
huge opportunity to break that system and build something
much, much better. And we can do it in many
different ways. And I just suggest, this is a
long S-curve, a slow part where it builds up. We’re now at the steep part of
the S-curve where we can really break through. And if everyone in this room
just gives themselves permission to know that you
can be a change maker, the historical moment, there’s
just so much need for you to do that. Then we can together help the
change makers individually, in portfolios, by whatever subject
matter or geography you’re interested in. We can work on these
mosaics together. Many people in this room have
the ability to help people set up their technical system. There is hundreds of ways
we can work together. So now let me quickly introduce
Karen, who is one of our first global Fellows. As the field has globalized,
you couldn’t deal any more only at the national level. Karen is American, living in
Switzerland, working in China, and Southeast Asia. And bringing of all things,
prison reform then. So Karen why don’t
you explain this? KAREN TSE: Hi. First of all, I want to say
thank you all for being here. I already had one of those
great drinks downstairs. I’m completely energized by,
what was that drink called? And we were told that we
can bring one home of every single sample. So thank you very much. I also wanted to say that it is
fantastic to be here for a number of different reasons. This place is fresh
and innovative. And I’ll also start with why it
energizes me seeing all of you here in support of Ashoka
Fellows and innovators. In China, as many of you know,
there are some great new laws that have occurred. But many of the lawyers,
especially lawyers working in legal aid, in criminal law,
have themselves become the embodiment of what they’re
fighting for. So in other words, they may
stand up in court and say, my client has been tortured, and
that’s against the law. And the next thing they know,
at the end of the trial, a prosecutor or judge may point
to them, and say you have obstructed justice. And ordered them handcuffed,
bring them to jail, and beat them until they’re bloody. Now I started looking at this
and thinking, well, this is kind of a hard thing. What should we do? Well, one of the things that we
do in China right now is we bring together these change
makers, these social entrepreneurs who are criminal
defense lawyers in to groups of a hundred. And they share their stories,
work together, and also look at the laws. Many of them have at times
said to us, you know this is important. But what’s also important is
that we’re able to come together as a community. So one poem which I’d like to
share with you, which we always read there,
is this one. It is, take courage friends. The road is often long. The stakes are very high. And the path is never clear. But deep down, there
is another truth. You are not alone. And for me, they tell me, wow,
we come together in training, and it’s medicine
for the heart. And for me, when I come out,
and I see all these people here who are supporting the
work of us, and in turn supporting the work of Chinese
defenders, Cambodian defenders, and Vietnamese
defenders. It gives me great hope. Because I get to go home and
say, hey, guess what? I saw a lot of people. And they’re really supporting
your work. So go. Now also I’m very grateful to
be here with Ashoka today because Bill Drayton is one of
the first people who told me, in fact, he was the first
person, when I sat down with him and said, hey, this
is what I’m thinking. Who said to me, and I said
to him, everyone thinks that I’m crazy. Am I crazy? Bill said, Oh, no, no,
no. you’re not crazy. You’re a social entrepreneur. So I’m here, I guess in part,
and within five minutes, here to explain to you what the first
crazy idea was and how it was inspired. It started first, one
day, when I walked into a Cambodian prison. And I saw 12-year-old boy
who had been tortured. And he had been denied
access to counsel. And at that moment, I looked
and I thought to myself, I realized what an idiot I had
been for a number of years. And that was because for all
those years, I had been writing letters for political
prisoners saying, in protest of the government, throwing
stones at the government saying, stop it. Let this political
prisoner go. I would never have written
a letter for this 12-year-old boy. Because he wasn’t a political
prisoner. He hadn’t done anything
important for anybody. He was a 12-year-old boy
who had screwed up and had stolen a bicycle. So what I realized at that
moment was that there was a tremendous opportunity. Because in China, as in Vietnam,
in Cambodia, in countries throughout the world,
there are new laws that have recently been passed in the
last decade that say you have the right to a lawyer. You have a right not
to be tortured. The problem is in the
implementation of laws, number one. But number two, the irony of the
situation is that many of these governments including
the Chinese government, Vietnamese government, and
Cambodian government don’t have a problem with groups, or
organizations, individuals coming in to support the
implementation of these laws. The problem is that
there’s a gap. But they’re not being
implemented. And most people are like,
you know what? We’re going to throw
rocks right now. And that’s an easy
thing to do. And a lot of times, I think
it’s work avoidance. It’s hard to actually sit down
and help people implement these things. It’s just daily, hard,
gunge work. And so it’s easier for us to
turn our backs on these types of things that take work. I realized at that point that
there was a huge, tremendous opportunity for us to go in and
start working particularly in this area. We saw this in a number of
countries, and China is the first country that
we started in. And what I want to say is
that it’s been really an interesting process for us. Because we have walked into an
area where people say, you can’t do this. It’s China. And yet we found that,
you know what? It’s like going into a dangerous
situation where there’s hostages or something. What do you do first? You say, OK. Put down the guns. And let’s talk. Let’s talk about how
we can do it. A lot of people think you’ve
got to be isolationists. Leave them on the outside. And all the lawyers that
we talked to said, no. Don’t leave us on the outside. Because we’re inside. And we have to deal with this. We want you to come in. We want you to figure out how
to work with the government. What was fantastic for us is
that the Chinese government, like many governments actually
throughout the world who have now contacted us, said, yes. Come in, and we’ll work together
towards solutions. So we’ve started training
models. We’ve started something
called an Advisement of Rights Campaign. These are really easy things. And they had seen this on TV
where in the States, they stop you, and the police say,
you’re arrested. But you have a right to
this, this, and this. They said, that’s really cool. Let’s start that in China. So in China we started an
Advisement of Rights Campaign. Formally, there’s all these
signs that say resist– How much time left? Two minutes. OK. It says, resist punishment,
confess better treatment. But now in China, we’ve started these new poster campaigns. Which say, you have a
right to a lawyer. You have a right not
be tortured. And we started initially
with 1,000 copies. We went to 10,000 copies,
360,000 copies, now over half a million copies. And it’s now been translated
into Tibetan, Mongolian, and Weeger. We’ve gone into virtually, not
virtually, but we have hit every single province
in China. And have really been
able to make some headway in moving forward. Now what’s exciting for us too
is that we’ve trained 700 lawyers that are part
of our community. And we’ve sat down with the
Ministry of Justice. And they’ve said very clearly,
listen, we’ve trained 700. And it will probably take us
another 10 years to train the rest. But we could
use technology. And we could probably train
10,000 in the next year. So this is really our next
platform and our next step for being able to scale up to the
level we need to and also connect lawyers to each
other within China. The second thing, and I have
one minute now, right? Is that we have been very,
very heartened, well heartened, but sad
at the same time. A number of countries
have contacted us. And they said, you know what? We have the exact
same problem. Someone contacted me from
Paraguay and said, there’s not a family member here who either
themselves have been tortured, or they have a
family member who has. So all these countries have come
in and said, let’s start this together. And we’ve done the same thing. The way that we’re going to
replicate is by building an International Defender Institute
where we train Fellows throughout the world. And then have them, through
technology, replicate the training and go out into their
individual communities. Now I have half a minute, so
I’ll finish by saying that it’s great to see you. Everyone is a change maker. And my last inspiration, which
I hope you can take with you, is my friend Vishna, who
was a 4-year-old when I met him in Cambodia. He had been born in a prison. And because he was born in the
prison, everybody loved him, including all the guards. And they let him actually slip
in and out of the bars. Because they knew
him since birth. But by the time I met
him, he was, his head was growing bigger. And he was getting bigger. He would climb to the first, the
second, the third, and put his little body through
the bars. And then turn his head
slowly and then slip out the other side. Every day he would
come meet me. And he would grab my
little pinkie. And he’d want me to take him
to each of the prisoners, there were 156 at the time, so
he could stick his little finger through or look
down and say hello. And for many of them. He was their greatest joy
and greatest happiness. And really for me, when I
realize that everybody, wherever we are, in some way
we can make a difference. And I thank you for all being
here and making that difference with us today. BILL DRAYTON: When you think
about everyone a change maker, just think about the impact at
the local level of Karen’s work and of all the
entrepreneurs. She can’t succeed unless she
gets in community after community, province after
province, people to stand up and take her ideas
and run with it. Which no entrepreneurs
can succeed unless they make that happen. So she is recruiting local
change makers in the legal aid organizations and elsewhere
all across the country. And that’s what every
entrepreneur does. You can’t succeed unless you get
in hosts of communities, people to stand up. Those people, in turn,
become role models. And some of them will become
leading entrepreneurs later. And the more you have
entrepreneurs like Karen, and the more we link them together,
the rate of the disruption of the existing
system and the rate of encouraging new people, the
plowing and seeding just accelerates and accelerates. And that’s really, I think,
the core dynamic at work. So now let me then introduce
Victoria Hale who represents yet another new frontier
for us. She is a senior Fellow, already
long established before we got underway with
tremendous amounts to contribute to the fellowship. And she is right at the business
social frontier. And what happened historically
is business became entrepreneurial and
competitive. The social half fell way behind,
low salaries, low performance. And now we are closing
that gap. And Victoria’s very much
a part of that. VICTORIA HALE: Thank you Bill
and Larry and everyone for coming to listen. And I hope to be inspired. That’s what I liked to ask you
to be open to as these two beautiful women and myself
speak to you. I founded the Institute for
OneWorld Health, a not for profit pharmaceutical company. Despite what all of my friends
said, which was that will never work. And it wouldn’t have worked
if they had tried it. Because they believed that
it wouldn’t work. And so much of what we do comes
from deep inside and a passion, and an unwavering
commitment, and a stubbornness, and a perseverance
to not stop until it’s done. So why a not for profit
pharmaceutical company? I’m a pharmaceutical
scientists and proud to say so. I’m proud of my industry. Some days I love the
pharmaceutical industry and some days not. The problem was many days I also
felt ashamed, ashamed of my industry, of my profession. It was that balancing
that I couldn’t reconcile, pride and shame. What was I going
to do about it? Why did it exists? How could I define it better
so that I understood it? The beauty of a profitable
sector like the pharmaceutical industry is that it
is profitable. It is a problem, and it
creates opportunities. Blockbuster drugs are a great
thing for people who want to take those medicines. But that means that diseases of
poor people, diseases that affect small numbers of people
are out of the portfolio. They’re off the table. They’re not even in the room. They’re not even in the
building anymore. They’re not considered. So global, infectious diseases,
for instance, have been neglected for a long time
by my industry, by the pharmaceutical industry. Malaria, tuberculosis,
diarrhea, you could go on and on. The flip side of the problem
of not developing new medicines for infectious
diseases is that companies are putting lots and lots of money
into R&D for these new blockbuster diseases, right? Well, let’s see this as an
opportunity and work with industry and take that R&D,
those discoveries that are made and cannot all be pursued
because there’s so many of them, and bring them forth, and
apply them to problems in the developing world. See them as opportunities. So we did this with one drug. We have a few programs
running now. But our first drug is for
Kala-azar, Black Fever or Visceral Leishmaniasis. We’re working in Bihar, India. We’ve heard about Bihar today. Every Indian and Indo-American
friend that I had said, anywhere but Bihar. Do not work in Bihar. But we did it. Because this is where the
disease is the worst. Bihar has been wonderful. But we’ve had lots of Indian
friends smoothing the path for us so that we could work
effectively and prove that what we were doing
would benefit the poorest of the poor. We chose an old medicine
because we knew it was very safe. It was an old medicine that was
no longer manufactured. It was an antibiotic that
had been on the market for 25 years. And then oral products, its
injectable, came along that did just as good a job. So just around the time that
the pharmaceutical manufacturers stop making this
product, they were two little publications in the biomedical
literature that said the drug worked in a particular parasitic
disease, Kala-azar. They were both laboratory
studies in mice and in lab systems. But suddenly there was no drug
to pursue, to see if the drug would be effective in people, to
see if the drug would cure this forgotten disease
in people. And so we put together a program
and chose this product and this disease. And what’s the greatest impact
you can have as a pharmaceutical scientists,
as an industry, as an R&D scientist or engineer? Is to produce a product that
impacts a large number of people, right? That’s what Google
is all about. It’s the same in the
pharmaceutical industry. So to produce a drug, and get
it to people, and have it be through a different model, a
model that doesn’t require that there be profits, it
was a large experiment. We are almost finished. And in three weeks, we will
submit all of our documentation to the
FDA of India, the Drug Controller General. It’s a very exciting time. I have to say I hope, we hope,
the drug is approved. We don’t know that it will be. We anticipate and
hope strongly. There is a spectrum of
social entrepreneurs. And I’ll wrap up with two
comments about Ashoka. Bill commented that I am very
much on the business end as an industry scientist coming out
of industry to develop a social enterprise. We have had tremendous success,
and we have wonderful partnerships that we’re
building with any pharmaceutical company you can
name, which is incredible. And I won’t tell you the words
that were first used by these companies to describe
this nonprofit pharmaceutical company. It’s a dream come true. But we’re still very
much at one end. We’re still very much of
the corporate end. How do you get your product to
the people who are at the last mile, who live beyond the
farthest reaches? Well, that’s not something any
pharmaceutical company in the world, any vaccine company
in the world, has figured out how to do? Coca Cola doesn’t even reach the
people who have Kala-azar. So we need a different
way of doing it. We need, I believe, social
entrepreneurs. And it is through a network of
Ashoka Fellows, 1,700 and growing daily, that we
anticipate our impact will be manifested and felt. We can do all the great
science we want. We can have all the partnerships
that we want. There’ll be a technology backup
if the product doesn’t go far and reach the farthest
rim of the earth. One more point about Ashoka. And it is the point regarding
inspiration and being inspired and feeling something
inside of yourself. I don’t want you to resign
today to go and start something that you’re
thinking about. But don’t wait too long if you
are inspired, if you are passionate, if you do feel that
grip, if you do wake up at night agitated. Do what you need to do. And the time will come, the
right time will come. You will know. Be quiet and listen
and turn inside. The Ashoka Foundation and Bill
are incredibly potent right now in terms of viewing the
multiplication that needs to happen and that will happen of
social entrepreneurs around the world and the change that
will happen because of that. So if a few of you in the
room one day say, I’m going to try it. I’m going to go for it. Then we can all feel pleased
that we interacted today. So be inspired, and I look
forward to working with you in the future. Thank you. BILL DRAYTON: Just think about
both these stories. The work is very important. But think about the
methodology. Karen has found a way of dealing
with some of the most insecure, totalitarian
governments. As she said, put the guns
down and figure out how to deal with them. This does not make it easy. We have another colleague who
is doing the same thing with health in the same countries
and also into Africa. It’s the same insight. And you think about what
Victoria is doing, this is a major change in this industry. But it’s also a major change
in a whole series of methodologies. How do you market out
beyond Coca Cola? Who would ask that question
except an entrepreneur? Now I want to introduce the
last person here who is a colleague, Valeria Budinich,
grew up in Chile, engineer, several decades of working with
small producers, master of that area. Absolutely one of the smartest
people I’ve ever met. And she is responsible for
leading our work on full economic citizenship. This is another large mosaic of
400 Fellows, whose purpose it is to try and make sure that
everyone can play in the economy equally. And she is upsetting a
number of industries. VALERIA BUDINICH:
Thank you Bill. Thank you Larry. And thanks to all of
you for being here. With respect to full economic
citizenship before taking you through what it means for us
at Ashoka, let me share a little anecdote. Two years ago when we were
looking for a name for this initiative we went to the Google
search and actually typed, full economic
citizenship. And much to our surprise, what
we got back, it was tax havens in the Caribbean. Now I checked that recently, and
the first thing that comes out is our initiatives. So we might be doing
something good. If you look at the work of the
social entrepreneurs more closely, you will see that in
many ways the gap between the business and the social sector
is disappearing through the work of all of them. And that is changing the roles
not only of the social entrepreneurs, but it’s also
changing the role of business. And through the Full Economy
Citizenship Initiative what we’re doing is developing new
business models that allow businesses to become key agents
in delivering social change and at the same time,
helping social entrepreneurs to have access to the resources
that they need and the infrastructure that they
need in order to have significant impact. Now the kind of impact that we
are aiming at is very, it’s almost scary to say it. It’s actually to reach 2/3 of
the world population is to change forever the way the
business and the social sector relate to one another and how
access to products and services is made possible for
that 2/3 of the world that is basically living with less
than $2.00 a day. Now how are we doing it? Let me take you through
one example. And let’s quickly
move to Mexico. And there a group of social
entrepreneurs is working with the leading company in Latin
America delivering water distribution solutions to small
farmers and also for irrigation but also for
human consumption. To test this hybrid, this
business social value chain that we’re building, we are
basically focusing first on irrigation. And why irrigation? Because the numbers are so
evident that it makes you wonder why two million farmers
in Mexico are not having access to irrigation
solutions? The technology exists. The farmers are demonstrating
that they can pay with one extra harvest for that access
to irrigation technologies that would allow them to double
or triple their income in less than a year. But for some reason, companies
are still saying, like most traditional businesses, no
they cannot afford it. No they cannot pay it. Or simply, my business model
is not suitable to deliver this kind of solution, meaning
it’s not profitable. It’s not cost effective to
deliver this irrigation solution to farmers. Now what have we done? With a group of pioneers, Ashoka
Fellows there, we have built a mosaic of solutions, a
business model that basically builds on the work of an Ashoka
Fellow who is the leading person in a network, a
federation of farmers of a small cooperative. We have brought Arturo together
with Juan Jose who is a leading environmentalist
in Mexico. And now we are adding the
financial dimension by bringing Isabel Cruz who is the
leading person working in Mexico on remittances
and rural credit. The three of them are
contributing with their innovations to create a new
distribution channel, one that provides an integrated solution
that basically, for the company, is allowing them
to develop a new market that could represent in the order
of $200 million a year in Mexico alone. Recently we calculated that with
the McKinsey team, the potential in Brazil and the
number that the McKinsey consultants came up with was
$500 million a year, market. But why is it not
materializing? It’s basically not materializing
because our mindset is one equivalent to
traditional businesses before companies like Google existed. Or internet existed. Basically, it requires a new
kind of mindset to be convinced and determined
to make it happen. And to make it happen, you
also need to bring the richness of different types of
social innovations and work with pioneering businesses that
would be willing to go the extra mile, that would be
willing to make, in the case of what we’re talking about,
minor modifications. What the social entrepreneurs
are doing is aggregating the demand that the small
farmers represent. That demand aggregation implies
that the companies still would continue dealing
with 100, 200 hectares at a time, not one or half a hectare
or two hectares as most of this two million
farmers have in Mexico. And at the same time, the
company is not going to have to provide any credit
to them directly. That credit is being brokered
by the social entrepreneurs and the social entrepreneurs
serve basically has a web of non-digital type of relationship
at the grassroots level that enables
this market. The whole point of doing
this is that– I mean when you look at this
intervention, it’s not just demonstrated with a smaller
scale irrigation in Mexico. It’s to basically take it
globally to every country where this is actually an
opportunity that combines several billion dollars
for companies. But beyond that, behind this
hybrid value chain concept, what you have is a type of
business model that, as I said initially, could transform
businesses and citizen sector organizations in fields
that transcend the application to water. We are also working with a
cement company, CEMEX in Mexico that already has 120,000
clients, that it’s saving $10.00 a week, are
basically being able to build one room at a time over
a period of 70 weeks. It takes them three times less
time than it normally takes. At the same time, they save in
the order of 35% of the total cost of the home. But for the company, it implies
to stop and think that they were not selling cement. They were actually– this is the words of the
company, they are helping communities and families to
fulfill their aspirations of a better home. And the conversation totally
changed from cement to actually making the dream of
every family possible. Now the social entrepreneurs
there, what they’re doing, and it’s just like in the case of
water, is aggregating demand and facilitating the spread
through their social networks. These models now that we have
piloted them in Mexico, next year we’re taking them to
Brazil and also India. And the idea is to unleash a
change that then could be led jointly by businesses and social
sectors beyond Ashoka. It’s basically enable a whole
new way of doing business and serving low income people.

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  1. Would have preferred that the Ashoka video was embedded instead of recorded from the play-screen.

  2. very inspiring… does anyone have any ideas to help me start a social support service to improve the lives of the roman communities in slovakia, can anyone from Ashoka help me out with concepts.

  3. Does anyone know how I could contact the Ashoka organization? I desperately need their contact information. Mr. Bill, you are truly a phenomenal person!!!

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