David Kirkpatrick, “ Net Gains for the World’s Poor”, Fortune, 4/2/02.
What could be more of an example of Integral Leadership than building a system that uses technology to link people and capital the world over to support developmental projects and small businesses get started among the world’s poor? Such a project, initiated by two former World Bank employees is spreading among leaders all over the world. This is a story that involves both individual and collective leadership, that challenges beliefs and values and focuses on action. This is the story of DevelopmentSpace as reported in Fortune magazine.
When Mari Kuraishi and Dennis Whittle were involved in a World Bank effort to generate innovative ideas for distributing funding for development they were surprised 150 very good ideas. This led to a worldwide process for generating proposals for the distribution of $3 million that attracted 1100 proposals and 44 winning projects. They took this experience and create DevelopmentSpace on the Internet as a place where people can contribute directly to development projects for the poor, including a project in Uganda for funding mothers in business so they could earn the money to provide adequate nutrition for their children.
And they have built an Internet process that automates the process of connecting funding to people who have projects as. They went live in February.
“DevelopmentSpace plans to leverage the work of existing institutions in the field, even as it enables anyone to contribute to development. A number of grant-giving agencies have already expressed interest in using the new site as a tool to find projects. Nonprofit groups and trained volunteers in developing countries will vet projects before they can be listed. When DevelopmentSpace gets to the next stage–facilitating investments–it will work closely with micro-lending institutions, which have well-established procedures for cultivating financial discipline and responsibility among small borrowers..”
While they have not yet made it possible to directly fund a small business, say in Congo, Lebanon or El Salvador, that is a feature they hope to bring on line soon. In the meanwhile people are already investing in a project to bring toilets to schools in South India and several other projects elsewhere. Check it all out at http://www.developmentspace.com/