GAYATRI DATAR – CO-FOUNDER EARTHENABLE WINNER OF THE POSTCODE LOTTERY GREEN CHALLENGE 2017

The genesis of EarthEnable began in 2013 when Gayatri (32) travelled to Rwanda as part of a Stanford class on Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability. The problem: 80% of Rwandans live on dirt floors that encourage disease and infections. Gayatri, now based in Rwanda, set about addressing this issue with an affordable and sustainable idea: an earthen floor finished with a custom-developed oil. No concrete, substantially less emissions and reduced chances of disease.

How did you approach problem solving in a brand-new context such as Rwanda?

“Design thinking changed the way I think about problems and how to solve them. This was a major turning point in my life. Before, as a management consultant I came up with a hypothesis, did the analysis and then came up with an answer. Now, instead, I spent two and a half months just learning and being with people in their homes in Rwanda; being open to spending time learning and being empathetic. You can’t lack empathy and design a product for someone’s needs. And empathy can be taught. Innovation can be taught too. I learned it, I am a living example of this.”

 

EarthEnable was the winner of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2017

GAYATRI DATAR – CO-FOUNDER EARTHENABLE WINNER OF THE POSTCODE LOTTERY GREEN CHALLENGE 2017

The genesis of EarthEnable began in 2013 when Gayatri (32) travelled to Rwanda as part of a Stanford class on Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability. The problem: 80% of Rwandans live on dirt floors that encourage disease and infections. Gayatri, now based in Rwanda, set about addressing this issue with an affordable and sustainable idea: an earthen floor finished with a custom-developed oil. No concrete, substantially less emissions and reduced chances of disease.

How did you approach problem solving in a brand-new context such as Rwanda?

“Design thinking changed the way I think about problems and how to solve them. This was a major turning point in my life. Before, as a management consultant I came up with a hypothesis, did the analysis and then came up with an answer. Now, instead, I spent two and a half months just learning and being with people in their homes in Rwanda; being open to spending time learning and being empathetic. You can’t lack empathy and design a product for someone’s needs. And empathy can be taught. Innovation can be taught too. I learned it, I am a living example of this.”

 

EarthEnable was the winner of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2017