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OCTOBER 16, 2000

© 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 global ecosystem.

  • I'm going to talk about putting people at the heart of technology.

  • 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 solutions.


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.


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 invention.

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 untapped.


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 now.

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 distribution.

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.


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 region.

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 organizations.

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 with you.


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 great company.

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 for listening.

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