The empowering people. Network joined the Practical Impact Alliance of the D-Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Practical Impact Alliance (PIA), an initiative launched by D-Lab in 2014, brings together leaders from diverse organizations with aligned missions so that they may share learning, collaborate, and develop best practices together.

”Everyone is a maker“, that is the credo of Amy Smith, the passionate founder and co-director of D-Lab. With Amy’s membership in the jury of the “empowering people. Award 2015”,  Siemens Stiftung had already established a fruitful connection with the renowned MIT D-Lab. Siemens Stiftung recently joined the Practical Impact Alliance program.

Carola Schwank visiting D-Lab.

Carola Schwank, 3rd from the left and head of the “empowering people. Network”, visiting D-Lab.

Carola Schwank, Head of the ”empowering people. Network” (epN) was recently interviewed by Dana Gorodetsky, Partnerships Coordinator at Practical Impact Alliance (PIA), to talk about the benefits of a partnership between the Practical Impact Alliance and the “empowering people. Network”:

Why did you choose to join PIA? What value do you anticipate for Siemens Stiftung?

The empowering people. Network (epN) connects inventors and entrepreneurs around the world and offers basis for a variety of online and offline activities within an integrated approach. During the last three years we’ve developed a range of programs and tools designed to foster specific knowledge, expertise and peer-to-peer exchange about business, technology and implementation issues. The demand is immense and we are convinced that international collaboration can significantly strengthen the impact of single players. MIT D-Lab is one of our favorite partners, not only because Amy Smith has a seat on our “empowering people. Award” jury but because it brings together an exciting heterogeneous group that provides a variety of approaches, experiences and applicable learnings.

Amy Smith, founder and co-director of D-Lab and jury member of the “empowering people. Award 2015”.

Amy Smith, founder and co-director of D-Lab and jury member of the “empowering people. Award 2015”.

What element of PIA are you most excited to engage in this year?

This is the first year we are involved, and to be honest, I love several aspects of PIA. There is an exciting opportunity to nominate several members of our epNetwork, social entrepreneurs and inventors of technology for development, to be members in one of the four learning groups. They will be able to meet peers and benefit from new knowledge and collegial advice, and I’m eager to hear their feedback. I also see PIA as a ground for gathering experiences on new learning approaches that are generally interesting for international networks like ours: Will online communication with a reduction to virtual exchange over months really work and bring concrete impact? And last but not least, the Co-Creation Workshop is sure to be a thrilling highlight of interaction and creativity.

Which Siemens Stiftung priorities or projects do you see as most relevant to the PIA network and approach?

We actually run some similar projects that also focus on international networking, capacity building and improving. These projects include our regional “empowering people. Onsite” training program for social entrepreneurs in specific regions and the “empowering people. Workshop”, which brings together international participants from our epNetwork as well as organizations in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Furthermore, our foundation runs our own operative projects on the ground with a strong focus on our Safe Water Kiosk Program. I am happy that colleagues from both teams were able to join PIA and contribute using their expertise –  as well as gain new insights at the same time.

You can also learn more about the partnership between Siemens Stiftung and PIA >>here.

Thanks to Practical Impact Alliance for allowing us to publish the interview, originally published here.

About the author:
Dana Gorodetsky, Partnerships Coordinator, Practical Impact Alliance
In her role as Practical Impact Alliance (PIA) partnerships coordinator, Dana manages the growing PIA network, coordinating the activities offered to members and strengthening PIA’s engagement with MIT’s international development ecosystem. Prior to D-Lab, she worked with groups across MIT to build philanthropic partnerships with foundations. Dana also has experience in brand strategy, event planning, and field research. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, conversant in Spanish, and has traveled to Europe, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and China.

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