“Whether we collaborate around a group of entrepreneurs, a program for smallholder farmers, or a trade policy, what RBF made loud and clear is that, in today’s interconnected world, we must break down the barriers that have previously siloed our work if we want to make meaningful progress.” David Ball
David brings to SecondMuse and LAUNCH a multifaceted approach to finding the right levers to accelerate innovative solutions to complex social and environmental challenges. Over the past decade he has managed experimental cross-sectoral programs around the world focused on food, the environment, and education with organizations ranging from Major League Baseball to the National Park Service. Today’s blog is about his insights from a recent trip to the Responsible Business Forum.
Last month, David Ball, Manager at SecondMuse, traveled to Jakarta, Indonesia to attend the 5th Responsible Business Forum on Food & Agriculture. He joined more than 450 food, agriculture, and nutrition leaders from the public and private sectors, including investors, NGOs and farmers, to discuss complex challenges and how collaboration holds the key to achieving lasting results in pursuit of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in Asia.
David shared, “Collaboration is at the heart of the work that we do at SecondMuse and the Responsible Business Forum was particularly timely as we open our first office here in Asia. It was an honor to share the stage with both the entrepreneurs who are at the center of our programs and the stakeholders who create the collaborative ecosystem that empowers them to have an impact.”
At the convening, David presented on the power of network-centered innovation, a methodology championed by SecondMuse, to power social, environmental, and economic systems change. As such, he stressed the need for unprecedented and unlikely collaborations to drive innovation like never before.
“The greatest challenges that we face today, whether around climate, health, or equality can’t be solved alone,” David remarked. “They take networks of investors, government officials, innovators, and institutions coming together. New discoveries and inventions will change the world not only because of their practical utilization, but because they will be the catalyst that enables people to work together.”
Since joining SecondMuse in 2016, David has been a conduit for collaborative innovation, co-leading the Blue Economy Challenge Aquacelerator, an effort to revolutionize the aquaculture industry, develop local economies across the Indian Ocean region, and improve our relationship with oceans, fishing and aquatic life, by connecting inspiring innovators with the networks capable of turning their ideas into reality. Today, in his role with SecondMuse, David continues to leverage network connections for the benefit of game-changing solutions worldwide. At RBF Jakarta, he shared lessons learned from his experience in the innovation space and being part of LAUNCH, which has accelerated 110 innovations with an 80% success rate since its founding by NASA, USAID, the U.S. Department of State, and NIKE in 2009.
“Integral to the success of the innovators we have been fortunate to work with has been an emphasis on providing support that goes beyond capital and stressing collaboration over competition,” explained David. “We believe that if you are able to elevate a community or sector, the individual will rise up alongside.”
To that end, David’s speech was followed by a diverse panel on the future of farming and the role innovative approaches using big data, the internet of things, and robotics could play. He sat alongside experts from East Ventures, a leading early stage venture capital firm in Asia; Poladrone, building the future of aerial data analysis and collection and Malaysia; 100Integreity, building a weather and agronomic insight platform for farmers; and Dattabot, a leading big data analytics firm in Indonesia. All of these panelists modeled the intersection that their work has with the SDGs. RBF Jakarta was a call to action for these stakeholders, as well as others in the room.
“Whether we collaborate around a group of entrepreneurs, a program for smallholder farmers, or a trade policy, what RBF made loud and clear is that, in today’s interconnected world, we must break down the barriers that have previously siloed our work if we want to make meaningful progress.”