WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE CONFERENCE: CREATING DIGITAL DIVIDENDS
OCTOBER 16, 2000
"THE DIGITAL ECOSYSTEM"
© Copyright 2000 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P
All rights reserved. Do not use without written permission from HP.
Good afternoon, everyone.
I am sincerely sorry I couldn't join you in person, but
I'm happy to be able to participate in spirit, for the challenge
we're addressing - overcoming the global digital divide -
is one of the most important challenges of our day.
Solving the problem of the world's uneven distribution of
information technology, economic resources, and wealth will
require hard-headed analysis and conceptual creativity. It
will require innovation and invention. Above all, it will
require hard work - work that must be undertaken in partnership
if we are to succeed.
Today, I'm going to touch on five points:
- I'd like to share my perspective on the amazing global
transformation we're living through.
- I'm going to talk about the health and stability of the
- I'm going to talk about putting people at the heart of
- I'm going to talk about partnership models as the way
to fortify the global ecosystem.
- And I'm going to talk about the importance of sustainable
To find a parallel for the historical shift that we're undergoing,
I have to go back in history, back to my undergraduate days.
At the time, I was no technologist. Instead, I studied medieval
history and philosophy. It's there in the Italian Renaissance
where I can find the best parallels to our age.
We know it best through Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci,
Copernicus and Galileo. It was a time of intense intellectual
ferment, an epoch when individual achievement flourished.
Old truths were shattered, and new principles were discovered.
In that time five centuries ago, invention was the prime
virtue. Humanism freed man to look at the world anew. The
belief that man could master that world sparked the growth
of science and technology.
And when scientists proved the world was round, leaders
began looking at how their acts affected people beyond their
shores. They began to think about transoceanic commerce, and
economics, and the funding of meaningful deeds and the policies
that made for an enlightened society.
Trade between cities and nations opened up. Hundreds of
years of inward, isolated, parochial thinking gave way to
wonder, and curiosity and possibilities about potential.
I think the most compelling thing that you learn about the
Italian Renaissance is that there wasn't a single act of bravery
or ingenuity or inventiveness that triggered it - it was a
collection of bold acts by individuals with many different
talents that led to this significant advancement in culture,
economics, science and the arts.
THE DIGITAL RENAISSANCE
We're at the beginning of a second Renaissance: the Digital
Renaissance. One of the most striking parallels between our
era and the first Renaissance is that invention is once again
the prime virtue.
This time around, a million ideas and inventions are flowering.
The concept of the nation-state is being tested by global
connections, by global communities, by global markets. The
Digital Renaissance is about empowering all individuals by
unlocking their richest core asset: a great idea, a great
This time around, the tools for invention can be extended
to every corner of the world. The creativity and invention
of the Internet economy can be offered to the developing world.
This time around, ideas aren't allocated by geography or
culture or religion. There's no shortage of inventiveness
or intelligence anywhere in this world. There are four billion
people who are full of inventive ideas, and they are largely
THE GLOBAL DIGITAL ECOSYSTEM
If I had to distill all the trends and developments of the
Digital Renaissance and instant communications down to one
single concept, it would be this: It's that we are in a single
global ecosystem - wired, connected, overlapping and bumping
into one another, benefiting from each others' successes and
suffering from each others' failures. It may sound sappy and
trite, but it's true. As diverse as our languages, our cultures
and our tastes may be, together we are all part of one ecosystem
We are all one global ecosystem. And when one part of us
is excluded or handicapped, either through conscious discrimination
or benign neglect, the rest of us will suffer eventually.
Complexity theory tells us that imbalance and asymmetry
will resolve itself in time, either through negative resolutions
like war or disease or economic breakdown, or through positive
resolutions like the breaking down of barriers, the opening
up of systems, the movement of wealth and knowledge and personal
opportunity and fulfillment to a more balanced geographic
In fact, the potential for economic growth in the emerging
market economies has never been greater. OECD statistics show
that spending on information technologies in these economies
is growing at a rate twice as fast as in the industrialized
world although it started from a lower base.
Through such investments, the world's poorest countries
can skip directly to the digital world. And in this wired
world, they can reach beyond present boundaries to learn new
agricultural techniques, to find the best medical practices,
and to buy and sell their commodities, goods, and services.
They, too, can join the global knowledge economy. They,
too, can find their own path to economic growth through the
power of information technology.
PUTTING PEOPLE AT TECHNOLOGY'S HEART
At HP, we believe that the Digital Renaissance can improve
the economic, political and social quality of life for individuals,
communities and countries around the world. Because of the
Digital Renaissance, we believe people everywhere can benefit
from what we call "e-inclusion." This is HP's shorthand for
our vision of enabling all the world's people to access the
social and economic opportunities of the digital age.
Now, we've developed a major new corporate initiative to
reach the emerging market economies - or what we could just
as easily call the excluded market economies. We're calling
this initiative "world e-inclusion." And we're focusing it
directly on the rural poor in Africa, Asia, Latin America
and Central Europe.
First, world e-inclusion is about people more than it is
about technology. While the Internet and other advances make
our vision possible, our initiative is not primarily about
technology. It's about people: people having access to information
that gives them important choices in their lives.
Today, many people see technology as the problem behind
the so-called digital divide. Others see it as the solution.
Our view is that technology is neither.
Instead, we believe that WE - that is, people - are the
solution; that technology is a key tool to give all of us
power over our own education, our own health and our own prosperity.
The real power lies not in the technology itself, but in
connections: global conversations, global ideas, global exchange
- connections that will allow all of us to access the best
that each of us has to offer.
One extraordinary example of this is an Indian village in
Peru, home of the Ashaninka tribe. Until recently, Oswaldo
Rosas - the 30-year-old tribal leader - could think of few
benefits modern life had brought his people. Poverty and disease
had debased and decimated them since British missionaries
brought the first link to the outside world 81 years ago.
As recently as the early 1990s, communist guerrillas had forced
some Ashaninka into slavery. Even after the Peruvian army
defeated the insurgents, life in this thatched-hut settlement
with no electricity or running water remained a grueling struggle.
Through grants from a Lima-based nonprofit organization,
the Canadian government and the local telephone company, a
computer came last October along with a portable generator,
a satellite dish and a big screen monitor for video conferencing
for high school education.
Oswaldo and five other tribal leaders received eight weeks
of computer training and built an Ashaninka Web site filled
with their folklore. They have used the Net to sell organically
grown oranges in Lima, 250 miles to the east. Since last October
the leader's hut now doubles as a tribal cyber café. Life
in the village is still difficult, but the tribal leader says
that the computer is the first real chance his country has
ever given his people.
It's about an African physician who tried unsuccessfully
to treat a case of tuberculosis until he turned to the Web
for assistance. Within 24 hours he received a response from
a physician in the U.S. who was able to supply precise information
on medication-resistant strains in the African doctor's home
It's about Rosario Godinez Porras, a young Costa Rican woman
who has developed a sense of purpose because she has given
others in her community new opportunities for education and
employment by managing a telecenter in her village.
So first and foremost, world e-inclusion is about people.
It is about all people having access to health care, education
and income opportunities - where they live, in their language,
consistent to their culture.
And now our second principle: partnership. We know we cannot
do this alone. Our vision includes a rich ecosystem of partners:
some global, most local, on every continent, in cities and
in villages, women and men, old and young.
These partners include companies, governments, development
agencies, grass-roots organizations and individuals. Partners
who invent solutions, and partners who deliver them. Partners
who donate, and partners who invest. Partners who are here
in this room today, and partners in remote villages who we
will never meet in person. And every partner is an essential
participant in the journey.
Even before forming our new initiative, we had formed and
announced two partnerships to test and learn about this opportunity.
We are working with the Foundation for Sustainable Development
of Costa Rica and several other organizations to develop and
implement telecenters for villages in remote areas of the
world. The project, called LINCOS, which you'll hear more
about tomorrow morning, brings technology to rural villages,
helping to spur micro enterprise and economic development,
including distance learning, telemedicine, micro banking,
communications and access to world markets.
More recently, we announced a similar project with Grameen
Bank, in Bangladesh. The Grameen telecenters have an initial
focus on electronic transfer of funds and on reducing infant
mortality rates in rural Bangladesh.
At this conference and in the coming weeks and months, we
will be announcing a number of important strategic alliances
and operating partnerships in our world e-inclusion initiative.
In fact, the primary purpose of our announcement here today
is to let you know what we're doing so that we can invite
you to join us in this journey.
And now our third principle: sustainability.
Whether we're discussing the Ashaninka tribe or the Nigerian
nation, a micro-lending program or a major partnership with
a multinational, economic, cultural and environmental solutions
will need to be sustainable in all their dimensions, so they
don't die out when the donations dry up.
Sustainable solutions and models respect social and cultural
mores and idiosyncrasies. They draw power from diversity,
and they affirm openness and freedom. Sustainable solutions
create their own momentum.
The three elements I've just talked about as necessary to
bring the whole world into the digital Renaissance - people,
partnerships and sustainability - are inextricably linked.
All are fundamental, and none more important than any other,
in the advancement of human development. Our challenge is
to make them real, to move beyond talk to committed action.
HP's initial efforts in this area have shown us both the
difficulty and magnitude of these tasks. Yet, far more importantly,
we've been energized by the passion and commitment of many
partner companies, local organizations and our own employees.
Last week, we announced our world e-inclusion strategy along
with a set of goals that we've set for ourselves:
- In 2001, we will touch 1,000 villages across the world
through "on-the- ground" initiatives that provide measurable
social and economic benefits to communities
- In 2001, we will enlist one million partners, ranging
from major alliances and global partners, to regional organizations,
to local project teams and individuals at the grassroots
- In 2001, we will target $1 billion of HP and partner products
and services to be sold, leased or donated through special
e-inclusion programs. We'll do this by creating a focused
HP Garage Venture Fund for world e-inclusion projects, and
by designing special sales programs and solution bundles
that will apply to customers in emerging market economies,
and, finally, by donating or discounting products to qualified
And while we hope this effort will create a social benefit,
we expect that reaching out to emerging markets will also
contribute to our financial growth overall.
With you today are two outstanding HP executives: Debra
Dunn and Lyle Hurst. Debra leads our strategy and corporate
operations and has been a driving force behind HP's e-inclusion
initiative, in large part because of her own personal commitment
to this issue. Lyle Hurst is our Director for World e-Inclusion,
the passionate leader of all our e-inclusion programs, partnerships
and priorities. They look forward to sharing ideas and actions
From HP's inception, our commitment to improving our communities
has defined what we are about as much as anything else. This
is, as I've said repeatedly, the character and soul of this
Bill Hewlett and David Packard were first and foremost inventors.
They also were public-spirited men of integrity. They believed,
as Winston Churchill once put it, "We make a living by what
we do; we make a life by what we give." Their values are enshrined
in our corporate objectives: "The betterment of our society
is not a job to be left to a few; it is a responsibility to
be shared by all."
This marks the beginning of HP's commitment to community
service on a global scale. We stand for a commitment to action
that will become real.
Thank you. And now I'm happy to turn this over to Debra
Dunn, who is there, live and in person. I thank you again
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