Light-bulb moments for a nonprofit

From the New York Times:

No baby should die or be disabled because a light bulb can’t be replaced. Yet during visits to hospitals in India and other countries, Krista Donaldson often saw lifesaving phototherapy systems, used to treat infant jaundice, languishing in dusty corners because of burned-out bulbs and other seemingly simple problems.

Often, the real issue was that these donated Western systems weren’t designed for local conditions.

As chief executive of a nonprofit organization called D-Rev, Ms. Donaldson had a mission: to design first-rate medical equipment better suited to developing countries, then license it to for-profit distributors in those areas. That way, she reasoned, the market would allow sales and production to grow to meet full demand.

Or that was the plan. It hasn’t exactly worked out that way. “We thought if you design a good product, it will scale on its own,” Ms. Donaldson said. “That works in efficient markets, but most developing communities don’t have efficient markets.”

To read the complete article, click here.

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