Support for Innovation

DIL sponsors several programs that bring experienced innovators, development practitioners and entrepreneurial mentors to UC Berkeley to interact with and provide feedback for on-campus innovators and social entrepreneurs. These events and other innovator resources are open to all.

Practitioners in Residence
The Blum Center’s Practitioners in Residence Program provides one-on-one consultations.

DIL Salons
The DIL Salons bring together leaders in the Bay Area’s technology and development communities to share and discuss insights on topics in international development

DIL Workshops
The DIL Workshops are technical workshops designed to help support innovators on campus.

Social Innovator OnRamp
The Social Innovator OnRamp at UC Berkeley is your online gateway to hundreds of high quality resources that can turn your Big Ideas into Big Impact: funding opportunities, startup incubator programs, training programs, and much more. There is also a Social Innovator OnRamp class at UC Berkeley each Fall, where students receive support as they work on their own social impact ideas (see website).


Practitioners in Residence

Want feedback on your project or just an opportunity to talk to an outside expert more generally? The Blum Center’s Practitioners in Residence program connects on-campus innovators and social entrepreneurs with a wide range of experts from Industry, non-profits, government, and social enterprises. Sign-up for 30-minute one-on-one consulting and mentorship conversations with a range of outside entrepreneurs and other practitioners working on projects for social good.

Who is it for? Practitioners in Residence is open to all of the UC Berkeley community, including both undergraduate and graduate students, across all departments and disciplines.  The program provides unique opportunities for real-world feedback, perspectives and mentoring as you pursue social impact. From specific project or strategy questions, to perspectives focused to geographic regions and countries, to informal ‘informational interviews,’ this is your chance to connect!

Past Practitioners in Residence include: Elliot Anderson (Sanku Fortification), Sheila Desai (USAID India Mission), Jane Coyne (WE CARE Solar), Roger Chen (OATV), Andree Sosler (Potential Energy), Jenny Stefanotti (Stanford, Andrea Spillman (Captricity), Timothy Lipton (ReAllocate), Philippe Sion (FSG), Paul Towne (CARE), Barb Krause (Global Social Benefit Incubator), Jinnat Ara (BRAC), Mahbubur Rahman (BRAC), Rick Moss (Better Ventures), Ellen Martin (FSG), John Gage (Human Needs Initiative), Arielle Moinester (Catholic Relief Services), Lisa Lin (Linchpin), James Bernard (Microsoft Education), Piya Baptista (International Finance Corporation), Sylvia Lee (Skoll Global Threats Fund).

Visit our Events Page for upcoming opportunities!

Are you interested in serving as a Practitioner in Residence? Contact us at


DIL Salons

The DIL Salons are informal, small group discussions around technology- and science-based innovation that addresses global development challenges. Each Salon focuses on a broad implementation theme, such as field-testing, international collaborations, regulatory approvals and IP. The Salons are NOT focused around academic disciplines or technical product design. Each 1 hour conversation is jump-started by a practitioner or DIL researcher who will share insights and answer questions on the day’s theme.

The mission of the DIL Salon is to support UC Berkeley innovation teams towards implementation and real-world impact. To suggest Salon moderators and themes that would be helpful to you, email DIL-ecosystem [at] berkeley [dot] edu.

Visit our Events Page for upcoming DIL Salons!

Examples of Past DIL Salons

October 23, 2014 (THURS). 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Moderator: Bruce Baikie, Executive Director at Inveneo
Theme: Computing and Broadband in Developing Countries

Learn more about Bruce Baikie

Bruce is the Executive Director of Inveneo and Founder of Green WiFi. He leads Inveneo with extensive experience in the energy and telecom industries, 17 years in Silicon Valley as a telecom industry expert, a background in engineering and experience implementing solar powered ICT4D projects to help further Inveneo’s mission. He recently provided technical guidance and hands-on training and implementation assistance bringing Internet access to hard to reach schools in Haiti and Micronesia. His areas of expertise include: wireless networking, eco-data centers, DC power, and solar power. Bruce has published numerous white papers and articles on green data center operations and solar power in ICT4D. His educational background includes a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University and advanced studies in International Business from the University of Wisconsin. He is also a guest lecturer on solar powered ICT4D at ICTP and the University of Guam.

SEPTEMBER 11, 2014 (THURS). 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Moderator: Barbara Krause, Senior Corporate Finance Attorney, Social Venture Attorney, and Entrepreneur.
Theme: Social Impact Startups: all you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask about structure and strategy

Learn more about Barbara Krause

Barbara Krause is a Senior Corporate Finance Attorney, Social Venture Attorney, and Entrepreneur based in the Bay Area. She has an international legal career spanning more than 10 years representing private and public companies in all industries and at all stages of development, investors in early and later stage ventures, and leading banks and commercial lending institutions. In addition to her legal career, Krause has served as a lecturer at Santa Clara University since 2010.

MAY 1, 2014 (FRI). 12:00pm- 1:00pm

Moderator: Wesley Grubbs, open data, data visualization, & design + implementation; Owner of Pitch Interactive.
Theme: Data and Dignity

Learn more about Wesley Grubbs

Wesley Grubbs is an artist, data visualizer and provocateur based in Berkeley, CA. In 2007 he founded Pitch Interactive, a studio whose focus is weaving code with design with statistics to find versatile solutions to communicate complex data for clients such as Google, Wired, GE, Esquire, Scientific American, Popular Science and the McKnight Foundation. He received his BA and Masters at the University of Arkansas.


APRIL 4, 2014 (FRI). 12:30pm- 1:30pm
Moderator: Nathaniel Manning, open data, business development, and technology for global good; Director of Business Development at Ushahidi, Former Chief Data Coordinator at USAID & connecting the globe with BRCK.
Theme: Ushahidi, building a tech ecosystem in Nairobi that reaches the world

Learn more about Nathaniel Manning

Nathaniel’s work orbits around the theme of developing technology that makes the world a better place.
Nathaniel is the Director of Business and Strategy at Ushahidi. Nat also helps run business development for the BRCK, a redesign of connectivity for the developing world.

He was previously a Presidential Innovation Fellow, and then the first Chief Data Coordinator at USAID. The role involved working to develop tools and strategies for liberating data to fuel entrepreneurship and innovation for international development.

Nathaniel has also previously co-founded Fellow Robots, a robotics company, and The Instnace, a personal data exchange. Previously, Manning was a financial associate for the Clean Energy team at the Clinton Climate Initiative, living in Bangkok and Melbourne and working throughout Asia-Pacific.

Nathaniel holds a BA and MA from Brown University.

FEBRUARY 10, 2014 (MON). 5pm-6 pm This event has concluded
Theme: Leveraging Microbiology for Global Change
Moderator: Nathan Wolfe; professor, virologist, Founder & CEO of Metabiota, and Founder & Executive Chairman of Global Viral.

Learn more about Nathan Wolfe

Dr. Nathan Wolfe, the Lorry I. Lokey Visiting Professor in Human Biology at Stanford University, has spent his life studying deadly viruses to detect worldwide disease pandemics before they kill millions. Wolfe is Founder and CEO of Metabiota, a for-profit company specializing in microbiological research, products and services. He is also Founder and Executive Chairman of Global Viral, a non-profit promoting understanding, exploration and stewardship of the microbial world.

TIME magazine included him in the “2011 Time 100” as one of the one hundred most influential people in the world; Rolling Stone named him one of the “100 Agents of Change” in 2009; and Popular Science recognized him as one of their “Brilliant 10” in 2006. He has been honored with a Fulbright fellowship and the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award. He is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. Times Books published Dr. Wolfe’s first book, THE VIRAL STORM: The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age on October 11, 2011. Dr. Wolfe has over 80 scientific publications and his work has been published in or covered by Nature, Science, The New York Times, The Economist, NPR, The New Yorker and Forbes among others. He has received support totaling over $30m in grants and contracts from, the Skoll Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the US Department of Defense and others.

JANUARY 22, 2014 (TUE). noon – 1 pm This event has concluded.
Theme: Starting New Ventures in Africa: Entry, Strategy, and Political & Cultural Engagement
Moderator: Jonathan Berman, Writer, Speaker, and Global Development Consultant

Learn more about Jonathan Berman

Jonathan Berman is an author, speaker, and consultant. He current serves as a senior fellow at Columbia University’s Vale Center and a senior advisor to Dalberg, a strategic advisory firm focused on frontier markets. He has advised numerous global Fortune 500 companies on entry and operations in emerging and frontier markets, focusing on the political and economic dynamics that drive shareholder value. His clients include global leaders in oil, gas, mining, agribusiness, infrastructure, healthcare, and consumer goods, as well as governments and investors active in these sectors.

His most recent book Success in Africa: CEO Insights from a Continent on the Rise features the views of global and African CEOS on the unique dynamics of fast-growth markets. He has contributed to various publications including The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Bloomberg and Harvard Business Review, where he writes a regular blog. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Berman is a graduate of Yale University and UC Berkeley.

NOVEMBER 12, 2013 (TUE). 5-6 pm This event has concluded.
Theme: Scaling-Up Technologies for Development: Leapfrogging the Status Quo
Moderator: Sheila Desai, Senior Science & Tech Advisor, USAID India Mission’s Center for Innovation & Partnerships
Learn more about Sheila Desai

Sheila E. Desai arrived in India in September 2012 to serve as the Deputy Director for the Office of Food Security within the USAID/India Mission. She has since transitioned to serve as USAID India’s Senior Science and Technology Advisor sitting within the Mission’s Center for Innovation and Partnerships. She regularly coordinates with USAID Washington DC initiatives to increase cooperation between U.S. Universities and visiting U.S. scholars/scientists with Indian organizations. Prior to this position, she was seconded from USAID to the International Security Assistance Forces where she served as the Senior Economist for the Stability Development Unit in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Before joining USAID, Dr. Desai worked as a Management Consultant and Transfer Pricing Economist for Price Waterhouse Coopers and Accenture. Her international experience includes serving as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay and leading household survey development in rural Mexico. She speaks Spanish and French and holds a B.A. in Economics from Yale University and an M.S. and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics. Originally from Minnesota, she recently relocated to India and Florida.

OCTOBER 30, 2013 (WED). 4-5 pm  This event has concluded.
Theme: How to Distribute Risk during the Path of Least Resistance to Commercialization
Moderator: David Green, MacArthur /Ashoka Fellow, Serial social entrepreneur with a focus on high-quality, low-cost medical devices
Learn more about David Green

David currently works to create social investing funds to support sustainable social enterprises, including The Eye Fund with Deutsche Bank for $15M and now the Solar Fund with Bamboo Finance.  More recently he co-founded Sound World Solutions, a social enterprise to make affordable hearing devices with a novel fitting made of off-the-self Bluetooth components.

David Green has worked with many organizations to make medical technology and health care services sustainable, affordable and accessible to all. David is a MacArthur Fellow, Ashoka Fellow and is recognized by Schwab Foundation as a leading social entrepreneur. David directed the establishment of Aurolab and has developed high-volume, quality eye care programs that are affordable to the poor and self-sustaining from user fees, including Aravind Eye Hospital in India. He has played a role in developing major eye care programs in China, India, Nepal, Egypt, Tanzania, Bangladesh and Guatemala. Within this paradigm of ‘empathetic capitalism’, he now works to create social investing funds to support sustainable social enterprises (The Eye Fund with Deutsche Bank for $15M and now the Solar Fund with Bamboo Finance). In addition to co-founding Sound World Solutions, he started Brien Holden Vision Diagnostics, to design unique and affordable ways to detect eye disease, diabetes and neurological disorders. He works with Pacific Vision Foundation to establish an eye institute serving all in N. California.

David is also Vice President at Ashoka, where he leads an effort to reduce health care costs in the US.  He graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor in General Studies (1978) and a Masters degree in Public Health (1982).  He is on the faculty of Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute.  He is the recipient of the 2009 “Spirit of Helen Keller” award for humanitarian efforts in blindness prevention; is the recipient of the 2009 University of Michigan Humanitarian Service Award; and was selected by University of Michigan Engineering students as a leading social entrepreneur alumnus. He is on the boards of the University of Michigan School of Business Social Venture Fund; the Stanford Biomedical Fellowship for India; and is on the advisory board of the Seva Foundation.


DIL Workshops

DIL Workshops are designed to support research projects through their innovation pipeline. Workshops will be facilitated by experts and focus on topics such as IRB approval, intellectual property, and M&E.

Visit our Events Page to check out upcoming DIL Workshops!