Think your organization is productive? We’d like to direct your attention to D-Rev, a nonprofit technology design firm that aims to improve the health of people around the world living on under $4 per day. It’s a big mission, but the organization is already in the process of pushing out two innovations to the developing world, with a handful of others on the back burner.
D-Rev’s innovations are all driven by people on the ground in the countries where they work, instead of by people in other countries who think they know what the developing world needs. For example, Brilliance (an inexpensive phototherapy device for treating infant jaundice) came about when a doctor approached a D-Rev staff member. The ReMotion Knee, an affordable prosthetic leg system, sprung out of a Stanford University class—but the Jaipur Foot Clinic in India (an organization that provides limbs, crutches, and other devices to the disabled for free) had first approached the class and said “We need a better knee.”
D-Rev is just getting started with the launch phase—its first commercial product, the ReMotion JaipurKnee, is being used in two clinics in India, where about 3,600 knees have already been fitted. That has all happened through a no-cost license with the Jaipur Foot Clinic. Now D-Rev has modified the design and is looking to go into mass production next year.
It’s easy to see why the ReMotion knee is superior to what’s currently available. During my visit to D-Rev’s temporary headquarters, I had the chance to check out both the ReMotion knee and a knee distributed by the Red Cross. The Red Cross knee moved along a single axis, like a door hinge. The ReMotion knee, in comparison, has a 165-degree range of motion. The problem, of course, is that the Red Cross is a giant organization with a global distribution network.
Next up for D-Rev is Brilliance, a phototherapy device for neonatal jaundice that costs about $400, compared to the average price of $3,000 for devices used in the U.S. (not to mention the cost of regularly replacing CFL bulbs). D-Rev’s solution: using LED bulbs and a more efficient design. Donaldson has high hopes that Brilliance will scale quickly—D-Rev hasn’t done a big publicity push for the device, but already the organization is receiving plenty of inquiries.
Ultimately, Donaldson hopes that D-Rev can launch a new product every year to a year and a half. It’s an ambitious goal, but the developing world could certainly use the innovation coming out of D-Rev sooner rather than later.