ASME and Engineering for Change Introduce Impact.Engineered to Honor Social Innovators
Dec. 8, 2017
ASME and Engineering for Change (E4C) recently launched Impact.Engineered, which calls attention to the innovations of industry, engineers, and entrepreneurs striving for social impact in underserved communities the world over. Several individuals and companies were recognized for their contributions to the technology for development arena during an evening reception at the inaugural event, which was held on October 18 at the Centre for Social Innovation in Manhattan.
Approximately 100 engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs and makers from the public and private sectors attended the one-day forum, which featured programming focused on the future of engineering and highlighted the work of individuals and organizations who have consistently demonstrated a commitment to innovation, quality, rigor, sustainability, and social impact.
Two companies — D-REV and Sign-IO — were named the award winners in the “Hardware Trailblazer” category, which recognized excellence and innovation in the production of hardware solutions for emerging markets. D-REV, a San Francisco-based non-profit organization, designs and produces affordable, quality medical devices for developing communities. The second award winner in the category, Sign-IO, was one of the grand-prize winners at the ASME Innovation Showcase (ISHOW) in Kenya, which was held in May. Sign-IO has developed a sign-language-to-speech translation glove to help sign language users communicate with the general public.
Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Mitchell Baker and Linda Raftree were honored by ASME and E4C with awards for “Women Leading in Technology and Impact.” Weidman-Grunewald is senior vice president, chief sustainability and public affairs officer and head of sustainability and public affairs at Ericsson. Baker is executive chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation. Raftree is an independent consultant and convener of the discussion forums Technology Salons and MERL Tech.
Three companies — Inveneo, World Possible and Google — received awards in the “Connecting the Unconnected” category, which highlights organizations that are dedicated to bringing the Internet to the nearly one-half of the world that currently has no access to it. In addition, Carola Schwank of the nonprofit foundation Siemens Stiftung was recognized with the award in the “Corporate Philanthropy Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” category for corporate foundations that are committed to promoting social development.
In addition to the awards presentation, which took place at the conference’s evening reception, the event included opportunities for attendees to hear from and connect with representatives from social enterprises, impact design firms and leading engineering firms, and to take part in workshops exploring the supply chains, ISHOW’s design and engineering review process, the E4C Solutions Library, and intellectual property rights.
The program also featured three panel sessions — “Enabling an Ecosystem for Social Impact,” “Pole-to-Pole Innovation Flows” and “Engineering for 2050” — featuring a number of experts in technology for global development, including Bob Hauck, chief mechanical engineer for GE Healthcare (retired); Lucy Vasserman, staff software engineer at Google; Vivas Kumar of Tesla’s lithium battery supply chain department; Michael Moscherosch, director of R&D at Johnson & Johnson; Wayan Vota, digital health director for IntraHealth International; and Jason Prapas, translational research director for the Tata Center for Technology and Design at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The successful forum in New York was a promising beginning to what is expected to become an annual event celebrating social innovation. “We are thrilled to be part of a global movement wherein scientists and engineers have increasingly devoted their time and expertise to address some of the world’s most intractable problems,” said Paul Scott, interim executive director of the ASME Foundation and director of ASME’s Engineering for Global Development department. “Our inaugural Impact.Engineered forum and its awards program recognize these makers, designers, social entrepreneurs and problem-solvers’ many auspicious achievements. It will hopefully inspire others to make a social impact on people’s lives.”