IDE: Solving poverty with profit
Entrepreneurs are everywhere. iDE wants to put them to work.
Farmers are entrepreneurs by nature. But a struggling farmer can’t afford to take risks like other entrepreneurs do. His farming is limited to growing the food he needs for his own family’s survival. What if he could grow enough to feed his family, plus enough to sell at the market? By actually making a profit from his farm, he gains access to better food, opportunities for education, the freedom to invest in his own business, and the ability to buy basic goods that can transform the health and lives of his family. And what if other businesses earned a profit by helping him be a better farmer? That’s solving poverty with profit.
1) “Talk to the people who have the problem and listen to what they say.”
iDE has always operated under the ethos of actually talking to those we are striving to serve before proposing a solution. Our design approach has evolved, while remaining rooted in that core philosophy. Today, we use Human-Centered Design to create solutions that are desirable, feasible, and viable.
2) Markets provide unimaginable opportunities and hope
A market-based approach to solving poverty creates efficient and sustainable impact. Local businesses thrive while delivering transformative products and services to millions of people who need them.
3) Local Solutions
There are too many examples in the developing world of products or infrastructure that worked for a year before something failed, and then were left abandoned because no one in the community knew how to fix them—or even obtain replacement parts. iDE’s strength is in designing solutions that fit the context, not just for this year, but beyond.
4) Building a lifeline of opportunity
A great product is just the beginning. For it to succeed, we need to get it from urban centers to rural areas, many miles away. And then a few more miles to local, off-the-beaten-path marketplaces. And finally, the last—and most challenging—mile, to the doorsteps of our customers—rural households and small-scale farmers.
5) Tapping the wisdom of local government
iDE works hand-in-hand with governments and other public sector entities to break down barriers to economic growth, to benefit the poorest citizens. By providing opportunities for public-sector officials to visit, review, and train with existing programs, they discover the benefits of market-based approaches to solve public issues.
6) Seeing your impact in numbers
Our solutions are designed around data: crop yields, sales numbers, production amounts. And that data is constantly available to us through an integrated network that combines cloud-based storage with in-the-field mobile applications. Data allows us to critically analyze what we’re doing and helps us to make better decisions—whether we’re testing a hypothesis in a controlled environment or validating anecdotal evidence in a way that’s rigorous and defensible.
Our work is focused on building market systems that increase incomes through scaling transformative products, services and technologies in agriculture, WASH, and finance.