About Solutions Library
What problem are we trying to solve?
Information about technology-based products developed for, and used by those living in poverty, is often scarce, disparate or inaccurate. These information gaps have had a number of consequences including (but not limited to): preventing transfer of best practices and lessons learned (i.e. re-invention of the wheel), lack of consistency by which to assess product performance and scalability, ineffective implementation of solutions, and lack of transparency and accountability for poor quality or unsafe products entering the market.
Our long-term goal is to catalyze the global development marketplace to produce higher quality, fit-for-service solutions that meet the immediate needs of underserved communities. To do this, we need to:
- Influence the marketplace to think in a more standard/compliant way
- Drive sector transparency and accountability
- Expedite the product design-delivery cycle by cataloguing prior-art
- Engage the community of product development stakeholders to develop tools and platforms for knowledge sharing and decision-making
What is the Solutions Library?
The E4C Solutions Library is a living database of products and services that are accessible and appropriate for those living in poverty. The data in the Solutions Library is curated technical and market performance information that is normalized across all products, enabling side-by-side comparison and analysis of market influences. This catalog serves to document progress of solutions and enable data-driven decision making by:
- Engineers and Designers seeking a neutral resource for product prior-art, understand market trends, evaluation methods, standards and comparison
- Manufacturers seeking endorsement on product performance, quality and distribution
While our target audience is primarily engineers, designers and manufacturers, we believe there will be a number of beneficiaries of the information presented in this platform, including implementers of technology seeking to distribute fit-for-service products and understanding user experiences.
The data presented in the Solutions Library is aggregated across a variety of sources, includes partner-submissions and crowd-sourced information including:
Using the Solutions Library
Convenient browsing of products is available via global search or user-friendly filtering by technology category, target geographic regions, market suggested retail price and distribution to date. Product reports provide detailed product information and include references and downloadable materials. If you have experience with a product, you can share your insights in the comments. Have a product you’d like to see in the solutions library? Just click contribute.
Comparing multiple products made easy. Side by side analysis of products is possible with normalized data across a standard set of parameters. Comparisons are reviewed by experts to ensure technical accuracy with a development perspective. Performance data specifies which data points are manufacturer claims or results of testing by third-parties or manufacturer labs.
E4C’s Solutions Library Program convenes a community of stakeholders to engage in participatory design and development of the Solutions Library platform to serve as a decision aid tool for designers, manufacturers and implementers of technology based solutions for underserved communities. E4C’s process consists of four phases, supported by the stakeholders shown below.
Solutions Library inclusion
The products and services included in the Solutions Library (alpha) are publicly promoted as solutions that are accessible and appropriate for those living in poverty. Poverty can be defined economically as those living below a certain income threshold, typically less than 1.25 or 2 USD a day (at 2005 Purchasing Price Parity). We follow the qualitative definition of the UN, which describes poverty in broader terms as a “lack of income and productive resources to ensure sustainable livelihoods; hunger and malnutrition; ill health; limited or lack of access to education and other basic services; increased morbidity and mortality from illness, homelessness and inadequate housing; unsafe environments and social discrimination and exclusion.
Additionally, the products included in the Solutions Library:
- Represent various market maturity stages (demonstrated via ‘distribution to date’)
- Represent a variety of intended users:
- Individual Household solutions
- Community-based solutions
- Service-based solutions
- Monitoring and Evaluation Technologies
- Governed by various technology protection frameworks (Open-source → IP Protected)
Product inclusion in the Solutions Library in no way constitutes E4C’s endorsement.
What is the criteria and process for product inclusion?
To be included in the Solutions Library, E4C must be able to source sufficient information in the following data categories:
- Distributors/Implementing organizations
- Product/technology IP
- Distribution to date
- Target user(s)
- User provision model
- Performance & testing
- Operation & maintenance
- Research & standards
Information sourcing methods include literature review, web sourcing and interviews with designers/manufacturers of products. The product report and associated comparison data will be reviewed for technical and development reliability by an Expert Advisor.
E4C is grateful for the support of the Solutions Library Steering Committee:
- Anand Shah (CEO, Savajal)
- Andy Lieberman (Director of New Programs, Global Social Benefit Institute, Santa Clara University)
- Chris Bull (Sr. Research Engineer, Sr. Lecturer, Brown University)
- Christopher Baker Brian (Partner, Director of Research & Technology, BBOXX, IEEE Humanitarian Technology Committee)
- Evan Thomas (Asst. Professor and Director SWEETLab, Portland State U., COO, DelAgua)
- Heather Fleming (CEO, Product Designer, Catapult Design)
- Jen Burney (Fellow, Stanford University, Center on Food Security and the Environment)
- Neil Noble (Practical Answers Coordinator, Practical Action)
- Pieter Verhagen (General Manager, Center for Global Prosperity)
The products in the Solutions Library have been reviewed by E4C’s trusted network of Expert Advisors (listed below). We are grateful to all the thought leaders who participated. Additionally, we would like to acknowledge the design guidance provided by Timothy Whitehead, on behalf of Loughborough University.
- Alissa Burkholder Murphy (Product Designer, Proximity Designs)
- Amir Sabet (Doctoral Researcher, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Laboratory for Innovation in Global Health Technology)
- Anna Murray (Civil and Environmental Engineering Doctoral Researcher, Tufts University)
- Christophe Canales (Independent Water Technologies Consultant)
- Christopher Baker Brian (Director of Research & Technology, BBOXX, IEEE Humanitarian Technology Committee)
- Felix ter Heegde (Senior Regional Biogas Advisor, SNV-Netherlands Development Organization)
- Jamie Noon (Independent Consultant in Mobility Devices)
- Jennifer Barragan (Independent Consultant in Healthcare Technology Management)
- Jennifer Burney (Stanford University, Center on Food Security and the Environment)
- Michel Maupoux (Technical Director, Green Empowerment)
- Mitra Ardron (CEO, Lumeter Networks)
- Peter Alstone (Clean Energy Consultant, Lighting Global)
- Robert Yoder (CEO, Yoder Consulting LLC)
- Sam Dargan (Owner, Great Lakes Energy)
- Sean Furey (Water & Sanitation Specialist, SKAT Consulting Ltd and SKAT Foundation)
- Tim Whitehead (Doctoral Researcher, Loughborough University)
- Anna Murray (PhD Candidate at Tufts University)
- Alex Michael Rutherford (Public policy research manager, Facebook)
- Arun Venkatesan (Chief Technology Officer, Villgro Innovations Foundation & Senior Technical Advisor, India D-Rev)
- Bob Hauck (Chief Mechanical Engineer, GE Healthcare)
- Craig A. Atkinson (nternational Trade and Sustainable Development Specialist)
- David Fulford (Director, Kingdom Bioenergy Ltd & Trustee, Foundation SKG Sangha)
- Elizabeth Johansen (Director of Product Design, Jana Care & Visiting Designer, Adjunct Faculty, Olin College of Engineering & Human-Centered Design Consultant and Speaker. Spark Health Design)
- Emily Gorbaty ( Social Innovation Consultant)
- Guillermo Fabian Diaz Lankenau (Graduate Student Researcher, Global Engineering and Research Lab MIT)
- Hernan Figueroa (Faculty member, George Washington University)
- Jan Lam (Sr. Advisor Biogas, West & Central Africa, SNV Burkina Faso)
- Jason Kass (President and Founder, Toilets For People)
- Jason Moses (Founder, CommonThread.com; Owner, Jason Moses Projects)
- Jeremy Schonhorn (Principal Scientist, Jana Care)
- Jon Sumanik-Leary (Research Associate, LCEDN (Low Carbon Energy for Development) at Loughborough University)
- Kelley Maynard Elahi (Biomedical Engineer, Director of Technology Development
- Rice 360: Institute for Global Health Technologies
- Matt McCambridge (Design Instructor, D-Lab (MIT)
- Matthew Sisul (Director, Sisul Consulting, LLC & Lecturer, Columbia University & Adjunct Instructor, NYU School of Professional Studies)
- Michael Moscherosch (Director R&D, External Innovation & Alliances at Johnson & Johnson)
- Mira Armstrong (Field Engineer at Skanska / Rubaya Project Lead, EWB New York)
- Noel Wilson (Creative Director, Catapult Design)
- Nordica MacCarty (Assistant Professor, Oregon State University)
- Laura MacDonald (Knowledge and Research Coordinator at the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology – CAWST)
- Peter Dauenhauer (Research Associate, University of Strathclyde)
- Priptal Singh
- Sharada Srinivasan (CTIC Research Fellow at Penn Law. 1 World Connected)
- Stephen Harston (Project Engineer, Intellectual Ventures Lab)
- Steven Forbes (Environmental Engineer at Forbes Environmental Engineering)
- Susan Davis (Founder & Executive Director, Improve International Inc.)
- Wilfredo Torres (ICT engineer, Netdata Networks / UCAB – Universidad Catolica Andres Bello, Venezuela-)