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2 posts from July 2011

July 22, 2011

Life’s a beach

The Bush House Telegraph
News and views from the Deloitte Center for Strategic Leadership, Bush House, London

04 Thinkstock - Image - StarfishIt’s July and in countries in the West thoughts are turning to summer vacation. In a week or less, many people will start to flee cities for the sea. Commercial centers like Milan, demonically hot and humid in the summer, will resemble ghost towns.

Even in London, where cranking up the air conditioning is rarely necessary, it’s a business truism that “you can’t get anything done in August.”

When school’s out, so are families—bound for airports, or highways, or both but, generally, for a beach.

For those who find beaches a bit boring, I’ve got something new to wile away the hours. But don’t worry, it’s not a guide to global accounting principles. It’s a game (and it’s not “I spy”). I call it “Spot the metaphor,” and I owe it all to management writers Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom, authors of the The Starfish and the Spider: The unstoppable power of leaderless organizations.

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July 18, 2011

Bridging the digital divide: Deloitte21 program Close the Gap

Young students in Uganda using computers provided by Close the Gap International, a Deloitte21 programIn 2003, I founded Close the Gap International, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to bridge the digital divide by providing refurbished computers and information technology (IT) equipment to educational programs in developing, and more recently, in developed countries. Our objective is to improve the lives of underserved young people by providing them access to IT equipment, and by extension, computer literacy skills and information via the Internet that they would not otherwise have access to. 

In the industrialized world, computers are replaced every three to four years, meaning that companies are increasingly looking for sustainable ways to replace their used devices. At the same time, millions of computers are needed, particularly in developing countries. Recognizing this cycle, Close the Gap created a win-win situation. By supplying developing countries with high-quality, refurbished IT equipment that’s donated by companies in Western countries, Close the Gap creates practical, social and sustainable solutions that enable people to bring about a true change in their lives through the use of IT.

Through 2010, Close the Gap collected more than 160,000 computers from donors in Belgium, France, Germany, Luxemburg, and the Netherlands. These devices are being used in learning centers in sub-Saharan Africa, South-East Asia,  Latin America, and also more recently in employability programs in Belgium, France,  Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.

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