We Care Solar Wins the $100,000 Drucker Prize

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Prize recognizes past performance and future potential to turn innovative opportunity into results.

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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.

Today the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University announced that We Care Solar is the winner of the 2017 Drucker Prize. The winner’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.

About the Drucker Institute

The Drucker Institute is a social enterprise based at Claremont Graduate University. Our mission is strengthening organizations to strengthen society. Our programming—for the corporate, nonprofit and public sectors—is built on a foundation of YESTERDAY/TODAY/MONDAY*. “Yesterday” refers to the fact that our work is grounded in Peter Drucker's timeless wisdom. “Today” speaks to the urgency that we know organizational leaders feel to successfully meet their greatest challenges and opportunities. And “Monday” points to our proven ability to help executives move quickly from ideas to action to results, just as Drucker urged his own consulting clients: “Don't tell me you had a wonderful meeting with me. Tell me what you're going to do on Monday that's different.” For more, visit http://www.drucker.institute.

About Claremont Graduate University

Founded in 1925, Claremont Graduate University is one of a select few American universities devoted solely to graduate-level education with more than 2,000 students pursuing graduate degrees in more than 20 distinct areas of study. The university belongs to a consortium of schools in Southern California that includes Pomona College, Pitzer College, Claremont McKenna College, Scripps College, Harvey Mudd College, and Keck Graduate Institute. Students are encouraged to look beyond the traditional disciplinary divisions and define their own unique program of study—CGU’s transdisciplinary trademark. CGU’s other distinctions include serving as the home of the Peter F. Drucker & Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management and the annual Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards.

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Laura Roach
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