2011-12-01

Co.Exist

McKinsey Consults The Masses To Find The Best Social Innovation

A new initiative from the consulting giant lets you vote on the most socially innovative companies, from TB-sniffing rats to high-tech new stoves.

The consultants at McKinsey, sick of only helping large business get bigger--or perhaps looking for some new ideas to start recommending, put out a call for 60-second videos showcasing innovative social projects. Those videos are now part of a contest, in which you, the Internet reader, can help determine the winner.

Why is McKinsey involved? They write: "We believe innovation is key. Our goal is to create a hub where we can highlight the incredible work taking place around the world and where changemakers can share new ideas and best practices." Highlighting is most of what they’ll do, as the winner gets only some coverage at the Huffington Post and a networking reception. Still, it’s drawn some impressive entrants.

The contest received nearly 150 entries from 30 countries--which an expert panel (including Doug Ulman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Livestrong, and Eric Nee, the Managing Editor, Stanford Social Innovation Review), has since whittled down to 11 of the best. Now, it’s our turn to vote.

The 11 finalists range from nimble energy generation methods and sanitation fixes, to highly nutritious peanut snacks for newborn infants.

To give a flavor, here are three of the ideas, starting with Husk Power, which enables people to generate electricity from rice husks, lighting up areas that used to be in darkness.

BioLite makes wood-burning stoves that reduce smoke emissions and generate electricity.

And Frogtek makes a cell phone-based point-of-sale and inventory management system, called Tiendatek, for small shopkeepers.

The rest of the good ideas can be seen here. Voting closes December 9.

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