Legatum Lecture - Paul Polak
Paul Polak isn’t your everyday global poverty fighter. He’s a 75-year old former psychiatrist who believes that the world’s poorest people, most of whom are farmers living on less than $2/day, are capable entrepreneurs and viable consumers. It’s a philosophy that drove him to start International Development Enterprises (IDE), a non-profit providing these $2/day farmers affordable irrigation & high-yield farming strategies. After 25 years, Dr. Polak and IDE succeeded in moving over 17 million people out of poverty. He has since turned over leadership of the organization to Al Doerkson but remains actively involved as a board member and advisor. Still driven to do more, he decided to start another non-profit venture, a for-profit venture, and to write a book, all aimed at harnessing the market to combat poverty. The non-profit, called D-Rev: Design for the Other 90%, aims to create a global “design revolution” to change the way the world’s best designers view and serve the 2.8 billion people who live on less than $2 a day. Dr. Polak outlines the principles for this design revolution in his book Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail, explaining how designers can profitably serve the world’s lowest-income consumers while simultaneously providing them a path out of poverty. His for-profit venture, called Windhorse International, will demonstrate that big business can be a part of this revolution. Poverty better watch out!