How Sauder Business School Initiatives help to solve world challenges

Sauder School of Business is full of passionate individuals and innovative ideas. I have had the privilege to be a part of two groups at the school: Sauder Africa Initiative and Sauder It seems that the paths of both have crossed a little at the moment.

Many of the business students know IDEO. We have been presented with their approaches and have watched a number of videos on how the company proceeds with finding innovative solutions. For years, the company has been considered the leader in the field of innovation and design. Some time ago, IDEO came out with a great initiative: OPEN IDEO. It literally opens the door to thousands of people who are interested to cooperate on the most pressing problems. The initiative enables the caring individuals all over the world to share their ideas and most importantly, come up with possible solutions. The challenge is developed in 5 phases: Inspiration, Concepting, Applause, Evaluation and Winners Announced.

Open IDEO recently posted a new challenge: How might we improve the maternal health with mobile technologies for low-income countries. And this is where the Sauder Africa Initiative comes in. The 2010 Kenya team was presented with a great business idea from one of our students, Absalom Kiragu Gathaiya. His company is to provide the pre-natal and ante-natal care information services (PACIS) to subsribers (presumably mostly to mothers-to-be and young mothers) via short text messages.

The subscriber will receive short message services that will deliver information about stages in pregnancy, what to expect and how to deal with the pregnancy. These are to be sent once a week as a 160 character message available both in Kiswahili and English. Each of these messages will be charged a nominal fee of KShs 10 (about 12 cents). The business plan has been completed is now awaiting for financing.

When I asked Absalom how he came up with the idea, he simply told me: „Because of our family´s experience.“ I hope that all of the mentioned initiatives will help him to make his project a reality on a large scale.

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