Innovation for Social Impact: Wrapping-up the First Living Progress Challenge

Innovation for Social Impact: Wrapping-up the First Living Progress Challenge

by Chris Wellise, Sr. Director, Social Innovation and Sustainability
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#Innovation for #SocialImpact: Wrapping-up the First #LivingProgressChallenge @HPE_LivingProg

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 1:10pm

Though a lot has changed since the garage days of Hewlett-Packard Company, that passionate, persistent, and bold entrepreneurial spirit has remained a core part of our company and culture. And on HPE's Living Progress team, it is with this drive that we create and actively support sustainable solutions for our company, our customers and our world. This week, as we wrap up the Living Progress Challenge, we’re reflecting upon our past year managing this innovative program, and we’re celebrating the creation of four new digital tools that will help make a positive difference in the world.  

If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ve probably seen the updates on the Living Progress Challenge over the past year, such as here and here. We sought to bring HPE expertise and technology to individuals and NGO experts in the field in order to address pressing social and environmental challenges that demand bold action.

Launched in November 2015, the Challenge asked the global community: what digital tools and software applications would you create to improve people’s lives? Our goal: Improve the lives of 1 million people by 2020.

After a highly competitive process with more than 130 proposals submitted from 28 countries around the world:

  • 17 proposals were selected and designed into prototypes
  • 10 teams pitched live at the Living Progress Challenge Finals pitch event in New York
  • 4 innovative solutions were ultimately selected as our final winners

These four solutions span a range of impact areas—from helping rural women save money and gain access to financial tools; to combatting the illegal trade of fisheries products; to connecting youth in Mexico with mentors; and helping the world’s largest volunteer organization transform the way people engage in their communities.

Each are now in final testing phases and will be launching over the coming weeks and months.

These teams reflect that same innovative and entrepreneurial drive that we honor in start-ups, and that we see as core to who we are at HPE. For some of the NGO teams, this was the first time pursuing digital tools into their problem-solving. Teams were courageous, they learned about their user needs and wants, and they iterated to apply new learnings. They were fast and smart, motivated by the profound belief in a vision of what was possible.

The potential for technology to solve challenges in new ways, to enable faster scale, and to invite people around the world into the global economy is limitless. With technological innovation and entrepreneurial resolve we know change is possible. We hope everyone will join us as we track the Living Progress Challenge solutions that will launch over the coming months. We know the deeply exciting advances for the organizations, and the people they serve, lie just ahead.