Isaac Holeman co-founded an organization that has transformed the lives of thousands of people in Malawi and more than 20 other countries around the world. His groundbreaking idea was to take a familiar object, as a mobile phone, and repurpose it to overcome resupply difficulties caused by huge distances between health workers and hospitals. After months of work, the initial results were disappointing. Malawi’s poor electricity infrastructure, airtime purchasing habits and unfamiliar mobile phones had not been taken into account. This led Isaac to focus more on the users’ daily activities than broad concepts like culture and incorporate them into the design of a paper-thin SIM card health app that would run on the basic mobile phones familiar to the health workers of Malawi. Through his experience he invites us to look at our technologies in practice so that we can re-imagine them from the perspective of the users and fit them in people’s everyday lives.
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This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Isaac would like to put a mobile phone in the hand of every community health worker. As a designer he wants to help solve problems in areas that have poor infrastructure and limited access to resources. The footage of Medic Mobile's work in Kenya was produced by the Skoll Foundation leading up to the 2014 Skoll World Forum. See the full video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2m63fkwlA6Q Isaac Holeman is a designer-scholar striving for global health equity. As an ethnographer and cofounder of the social enterprise Medic Mobile, his work is about seeing through the eyes of the poor and marginalized and responding pragmatically. Medic Mobile received a Skoll award in 2014, and Isaac has been featured twice in Forbes Magazine as one of the top 30 social entrepreneurs under the age of 30.
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Isaac talks about the power of collaborative design - of working with your users to create the product. For Isaac, collaborative design is not only good business, but an important moral project that holds the potential to genuinely empower those who've most fallen outside the system. Isaac Holeman is an ethnographer and design thinker striving for global health equity. As a Gates Cambridge Scholar and a founding director of the award-winning social enterprise Medic Mobile, his work is about seeing through the eyes of the poor and marginalised and responding pragmatically.
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2010 Echoing Green Fellows Isaac Holeman and Josh Nesbit present on Mobile Technology and Health at the 2011 Be Bold Summit: 10 Ideas Shaking the World. On January 28, 2011 Echoing Green partnered with the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at the University of Texas at Austin for the Be Bold Summit: 10 Ideas Shaking the World. Six Echoing Green Fellows were joined by four social change leaders to present their next big idea for social change. Learn more at http://www.echoinggreen.org
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