The power of distribution: small-scale irrigation in Zimbabwe

MercyCorps¬†works to build secure, productive, and just communities in some of the world’s toughest places like Somalia, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, and Haiti. They recently shared a success story about small-scale irrigation in Zimbabwe that’s really a story about distribution.

Our social nature through trade, or when ideas have sex

This TED talk by Matt Ridley deftly summarizes the inherent power and benefit in our social nature and reinforces why we live in societies and perform public services for each other. I concede that his notion of ideas having sex seems odd and maybe needlessly provocative–until you hear his presentation. Then it makes total sense.Continue reading

Distributing Money to the Poor

In this blog, I’ve talked about the distribution of goods and services, one of the pillars of marketing. I’ve also talked about fairness and inequality, which are closely related to distribution. But when it comes to the public good, maybe that’s all more complicated than it’s need to be. Maybe we just need to be...Continue reading

A prize for distribution

When I saw D-Prize mentioned in a post on Stanford Social Innovation Review, I thought, “Genius!” Distribution is one of the pillars of marketing, even in the public sector. What good is it If you have a great solution but can’t get it to the people who have the problem?

Governing the Commons: Eight Ways to Avoid the Tragedy of the Commons

One great thing that Elinor Ostrom did in her book Governing the Commons: The evolution of institutions for collective action was to lay out design principles for long-enduring institutions that manage community pooled resources (CPR) and avoid the “tragedy of the commons“. (CPRs can be many things. Ostrom’s draws her main examples from forestry, fisheries,...Continue reading

Franchising for health

In rural communities in India, the ratio of doctors to patients is 1:2000. That leaves a large gap in health services to be filled. A large but informal jumble of health care practitioners  tries to fill the gap. Often, these practitioners are under-capitalized, under-trained, and disconnected from each other and from professional consultation with a...Continue reading

Design, distribution, and education

I was prowling TED recently and came across Emily Pilloton’s talk about applying design to improve education in rural North Carolina. I liked her view of radically improving a public service like education through fresh application of design and distribution.

If Fairness is Innate, How Do You Explain Opportunism?

In this blog, I’ve argued that fairness is innate in humans and other social animals such as Capuchin monkeys. But if that’s the case, how do we account for greed, selfishness, and opportunism, especially when it doesn’t serve the individual’s long-term self-interest?

Wholesaling to the base of the pyramid: Tenda Atacado

Here’s a marketing challenge for you: Build a billion-dollar business serving clients who Earn less than $1,500 a month Completed less than eight years of education Lack access to banking, credit, or financing

The power of distribution: Fighting hookworm in Cambodia

Kids in the U.S. no longer contract hookworm, like they did 100 years ago, thanks to an integrated campaign of medication distribution, improved sanitary, and public education. Children at the time who were exposed to this integrated campaign were more likely to subsequently grow up more literate and affluent. (Read more about this campaign.) Hookworm...Continue reading

Scroll to top