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In business or philanthropy, the key is treating people as valued 'clients'

Selling inexpensive products in the developing world is one way to lift living standards. But whether it's capitalism or philanthropy you've got to listen to and involve your customer.

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The ideal lab development, of course, is in the community. You develop the product right there. You have several different members of the community testing it out at all points. You can take it to the land, the home, the village and get real feedback and results.

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Of course the likelihood of having a high-tech lab and manufacturing facility is low. But that's the goal we eventually want to get to: true engagement, from start to finish, in
designing the product. Just as the Stanford students started, they need to "middle," "end," and continue the conversation with community members' involvement.
Professor Patell is right on to forge ahead with these ideas. We can't wait for perfection. No business should. You start with the best you can do and continue to improve it.
But imagine the world above where products are developed in the community, by the community. It will happen.

That's the stage of development we really want to get to with local communities. They are the innovators, the designers, the producers, and the executors. At some point, the
communities won't need the outside students and businesses, as it should be.

Patell says about treating people as equals: "Charities don’t have to do that.”

Perhaps, but neither do businesses. As far as treating people as equals, that goes down to an individual mindset. Businesses and charities both must be involved, be excellent listeners, and engage the community in every part of the process. Charities also play an important role donating money and providing volunteers, filling unmet needs in the marketplace as it continues to grow.

Business ideas are critical. So is philanthropy. As capitalism thrives, it will provide wonderful opportunities. Both are needed to help our world flourish.

Pamela Hawley is the founder and CEO of UniversalGiving. She is a social entrepreneur who has founded two successful ventures and is a global leader in philanthropy, entrepreneurship, and corporate social responsibility. She is a Jefferson Award winner, a recent finalist for Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award, an Expert Blogger on corporate social responsibility for Fast Company, and has been invited to the White House for its Consortium on Next Generation Leadership and Social Innovation.

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