Today we announced that We Care Solar is the winner of the 2017 Drucker Prize. The organization’s solar-powered suitcase provides lighting and electricity for nighttime obstetrical care in the developing world.
The Drucker Prize judges recognized We Care Solar’s impressive results, including the provision of life-saving labor and delivery procedures to nearly one million mothers and infants who would not otherwise have received them. The judges also recognized the organization’s promise to further leverage the discipline of innovation.
“At first glance, We Care Solar may appear to be a technology innovator,” said Zach First, Executive Director of the Drucker Institute. “But the thinking behind their solar-powered suitcase is first and always about the people who will use it. In fact, their greatest innovation may be in how well they identified and met what Peter Drucker called a ‘process need’—where the only thing standing between caregivers and those in need was a little more light.”
Dr. Laura Stachel, Executive Director and co-founder of We Care Solar, said that winning The Drucker Prize will help We Care Solar advocate for the right of all women to deliver safely in health facilities equipped with lighting and essential electricity. “We are deeply honored and humbled to be selected for the 2017 Drucker Prize from among so many outstanding finalists,” Stachel said.
Stachel added that the value of The Drucker Prize goes well beyond the $100,000 award: “Applying for The Drucker Prize allowed us to reflect on our learnings and consider ways to continue innovating as an organization, giving voice to midwives, and support for mothers and babies around the world.”
The Drucker Prize application process is itself a tool for nonprofits to learn Peter Drucker’s innovation principles and practices. A survey of those who completed the 2017 application found that 89% said that doing so would prompt them to explore additional opportunities for innovation. And, most significantly, 96% of the 50 semifinalists said the learning-centric second round of the process would help their organizations more effectively innovate.
All of the ideas and tools created for The Drucker Prize application process are now available for free in The Drucker Prize resource library. It features the timeless wisdom of Peter Drucker, videos showcasing insights from some of today’s top thinkers on management and leadership, and other practical resources.
In addition to First, the judges for the 2017 Drucker Prize were: Jenny Darroch, Henry Y. Hwang Dean of the Drucker-Ito School of Management; Cecily Drucker, member of the Drucker Institute’s Board of Advisors; Sumita Dutta, Managing Director at Golden Seeds; Kevin McCoy, President of National Office Furniture; C. William Pollard, Chairman Emeritus of ServiceMaster Co. and an emeritus member of the Drucker Institute’s Board of Advisors; Theresa Reno-Weber, President and CEO of Metro United Way and a member of the Drucker Institute’s Board of Advisors; Agnieszka Rykaczewska, Ph. D. Candidate in Evaluation at Claremont Graduate University; David Styers, Director of Learning and Development at the Presidio Trust; and Jocelyn Wyatt, Co-Lead and Executive Director at IDEO.org.
Administered annually since 1991, The Drucker Prize, formerly known as the Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation, is given to a social-sector organization that demonstrates Drucker’s definition of innovation: “change that creates a new dimension of performance.” The judges look for programs that demonstrate a strong mix of current effectiveness and future promise.