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Published on Jul 15, 2015
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.
(Edited by: Eleni Pnevmatikou)
Isaac Holeman is a designer-researcher striving for global health equity. As an ethnographer and a co-founder 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. Lately he practices design and pursues research with Medic Mobile, as a fellow of the University of Edinburgh’s Global Health Academy and as a Gates Cambridge Scholar in innovation, strategy and organizations.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx