I was going through some of the ideas shared in the TEDxGateway back in the month of December and one of them particularly struck me. As its mostly said, the best ideas are the simplest ones. I can’t recall any complex ideas that would have really taken off in the recent past.
The idea that intrigued me was presented by Karthik Naralasetty. He starts his talk with case of a young girl from Karnataka who needed nearly 30 units of blood every month to make it through thalassemia which is a blood disorder. The most common perception that most people have is that others would be donating blood and that they don’t really need to donate. Many times people get away with donations with arbitrary excuses which brings us to the other point that Karthik makes that “Finding donors is difficult”.
In the midst of all the noise that is created about different problems that one faces, its often difficult to reach out to the exact person who can help with the requirements. This is applicable to any real world problem wherein not only individuals but massive brands, non-government organizations and non-profits face the same challenge. However, with the growing technology landscape and shift in networking online, Karthik was able to foresee an opportunity area. Typically the early adopters for any technology would want to experiment and push the frontiers to explore what they can really do with the medium.
Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012.
The simplicity of Karthik’s idea was to go social with the concept of blood donation. After evaluating several platforms, he centered on Facebook and leveraged the large network he had. To be more specific he created a total of 8 groups for different blood groups. Then a website was created where all these groups were directed and friends were requested to join. Many times, we as individuals want to contribute towards certain causes but hold back thinking why put in the time or rather no one else is doing it. However, when we see a greater cause to align ourselves with for the greater good of others we are motivated to take action to believe that we are a part of something greater than ourselves. Karthik’s understanding of the power of facebook and human connections in this context gave him a big lever in making this viral with requests for groups in different countries.
He’s also built on the immediacy of responding to blood requests by creating “Social Blood”. The uniqueness of this platform is that it helps in identifying which friends have a common blood group to the user and what other blood types are available in his/her network. This also makes it simpler to connect with a blood bank or hospital in times of need. I think this can be instrumental in case of crisis or instances where a rare blood type may be needed. Karthik points out that this is his effort to solve the blood crisis and cites that if 1 to 3% of the population was to donate blood, it would suffice the need for the entire country. Towards the end he makes an interesting point that there is a global compassion crisis and this would be one step towards resolving it. I think this idea is very simplistic, yet powerful in terms of taking care of an issue that is stifling many groups across the world. A scale up to this would lead to building up of a powerful network that can be banked on by several medical institutions worldwide!