When he saw a mother and baby die in childbirth from a preventable and treatable condition, Myshkin Ingalawe decided to put a stop to it. “It” is undiagnosed anemia—an iron deficiency that contributes to thousands of maternal deaths each year in India. Though easily treated with iron pills, anemia commonly goes undetected, so Ingalawe created a simple device for diagnosis that could work in rural villages. Taking this bold step as a citizen engineer—one who identifies and solves a problem—Ingalawe demonstrated work that lies at the core of Rally for Impact.

Rally for Impact is a social impact organization embedded within Rally Software, a traditional for-profit business with a founding goal to create benefit beyond simple commercial measures. Rally Software aims to be a net positive business by 2020. In this case, becoming net positive means inspiring the world’s engineers to build more desirable and sustainable, as well as feasible and effective, industrial systems.

With global population estimated to be between 9 and 12 billion by 2050, we are straining the natural systems that maintain clean water, clean air, fertile soil, biological diversity, and the planet’s temperature. The degradation of these natural systems will likely lead to a much less hospitable life for human beings by the year 2100—only 87 years from now.

We must seek sustainability through:

  • design thinking that produces highly desirable and scalable solutions, as well as agile thinking that brings the power of small teams to large problems
  • lean startups that simultaneously solve for feasibility and effectiveness
  • open-source licenses to disseminate learning and solutions freely across the planet
  • sociology and biology to help fit solutions within natural processes

Above all, we must collaborate to reach these ends, iterating quickly and sharing widely the things that we learn.

This is where Rally for Impact comes in. The goal of Rally for Impact is to serve as a hub for mobilizing citizen engineers focused on solving social problems. To help them do this, Rally for Impact connects citizen engineers with key partners, product training, key tools, and nonprofit grants. Those who are striving to solve social problems can visit the Rally for Impact website and find support for advancing their solution.

Ultimately, we hope that Rally for Impact can match citizen engineers with social entrepreneurs and also entice visionary, large businesses to create sustainable and equitable solutions that span the globe. We can use the power of business to be a positive force for change. With more citizen engineers working closely with—and within—companies, we can move faster to solve the world’s most intractable problems.

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Ryan Martens

Ryan Martens is the founder and chief technology officer of Rally Software. He helps companies adopt agile and lean practices, which are methods for delivering small batches in quick cycles to speed learning...

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