When I founded my company almost 15 years ago, a big motivation was to drive meaningful impact, in large part by challenging the status quo. When a friend and former client approached me in January to share his vision for a new non-profit with the aim to create an immersive, high-impact and time definite volunteer experience, I was immediately intrigued. Soon thereafter, I was onboard.
He explained that there’s a new wave of well-funded technology companies across emerging markets that has embraced innovation as a powerful tool. Through innovation, these ventures are addressing social and economic needs that affect the more than 2 billion people living in extreme poverty around the globe. However, many of these companies still need access to specific expertise to navigate pressing challenges and capitalize on opportunities that enable them to scale their businesses.
From this challenge was born the vision of Doug Galen, CEO and Co-founder of RippleWorks. The foundation’s mission is to accelerate innovation and the commercial success of promising, well-funded global social ventures by pairing them with engaged and experienced Silicon Valley domain experts. RippleWorks’ experts help these companies address specific and pressing growth challenges by virtue of having solved similar challenges countless times before.
In support of its charter to create “IMPACT BEYOND BOUNDARIES,” the foundation launches today with the support of a $60 million endowment from e-Loan Co-Founder and Ripple Labs CEO, Chris Larsen, and inaugural partnerships with IDEO.org, Omidyar Network, Village Capital, and Accion International.
Working hand in hand with RippleWorks CEO from concept inception, I was charged with validating the organization’s strategy, establishing the brand positioning foundation and extending and aligning the strategy through the development of the brand name, identity, tagline, messaging, Website and customer experience. True to RippleWorks’ culture as a non-profit with a sense of urgency, the organization was conceived and launched in under three months.
I was truly inspired by Doug’s vision to provide access to meaningful volunteer opportunities that let experienced Silicon Valley experts use their heads––not their hands––to create real impact. And by pairing the right experts with the right mission at the right time, RippleWorks ventures can not only accelerate economic impact but also create a “ripple-effect” of social good.
RippleWorks provides access to meaningful, “bite-sized” projects that are well defined, have clear objectives and timelines, and fit into experts’ demanding professional schedule and personal life. Experts volunteer when they have the time and are partnered when the ventures need help most.
Experts are diligently matched with entrepreneurs based on the needs of the venture and the unique domain skills of the expert, be it in technology, product development, marketing, or customer acquisition. RippleWorks vets the companies to ensure they have the talent to complement the volunteer’s expertise, giving the project a high likelihood for success. Domain experts who want to volunteer to create impact can apply their professional skills in exciting emerging markets, through a brief, all-expenses paid 7-10 day in-market immersion, and continuing the project through completion at home, through on-going remote dialogs.
Having spent many multi-month stints in Asia and Europe throughout my life and career has given me an invaluable perspective and context, not only by seeing the world, but also by experiencing how the world works differently.
True, game-changing impact comes from challenging the status quo, paying attention to every detail like no others, generating insights that uncover unmet needs and then capitalizing on those opportunities by aligning everything to deliver distinct meaningful value. That’s been brandadvisors’ approach from the start, and today, RippleWorks is the latest product of our client collaboration.
To learn more about Rippleworks and see a snapshot of our work, visit www.rippleworks.org.