CANBERRA — In her 10 years as director of the Vodafone Americas Foundation, June Sugiyama has inadvertently become an expert in developing challenges.
Since 2009, the foundation has been running the Wireless Innovation Challenge, which seeks innovative ideas using wireless-related technology to address social issues around the world. This year marked the ninth challenge, which awarded a total of $600,000 to projects addressing infectious diseases, animal poaching and mobile financial services. Years of leading the challenge have helped Sugiyama to refine ideas of what works in creating disruption to address social and other issues affecting developing countries.
In a conversation with Devex, she explained that technology alone is not the key. Here is the interview, edited for length and clarity.
The Wireless Innovation Challenge is quite remarkable in the diversity of ideas from winners. Are you surprised by the types of ideas you receive?