Samuel Warrack Goldman

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2010


This profile was prepared when Samuel Warrack Goldman was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2010.
The New Idea
Samuel has designed a solar lantern that is affordable for 90 percent of the global population. Unlike many other design initiatives, the solar lantern was not designed around a specific issue like poverty. Rather it was designed to be truly innovative in its intent and design. Samuel effectively anticipated the unarticulated need of a design that has eventually become a universally applicable lifestyle product. The lantern replaces the use of three formerly essential materials - kerosene, candles, and rechargeable battery - to solve critical health problems and reduce the carbon footprint. In addition to being safe, reliable and efficient, it’s highly portable and nearly maintenance-free nature makes it ideal for use in remote areas. Samuel has introduced a product that pushes both geographic and cultural barriers and broadens the universality of its application. He has created a global distribution system that can potentially enable the mobility of millions of products into rural areas each month.

Samuel’s solution cuts across the silos of health and education not only in rural India, but also in Tanzania. In addition to reducing health hazards, it also decreases the carbon footprint and bears a low financial ownership cost. Samuel initially began with a design that could easily cater to the underserved lighting market and eventually replace the unsafe and environmentally unfriendly kerosene lanterns, dry-cell batteries, and candles. His design team invariably works with user groups to improve and arrive at designs that are not only user-friendly but also maintenance-free. Given that Samuel’s lighting-only product is priced at an entry-level US$10, while a second product that includes a cell phone charger is US$30, it is reasonable to assert that both are the appropriate technologies for rural and urban households.

Samuel has introduced a distribution system on a massive scale to deliver his products through a three-tier dispensation channel, which engages micro-credit organizations to rural consumer goods and retail outlets in the hinterlands. His spread strategy is unique in that his constant design innovations invite an increasing amount of players to provide competition and ultimately impose downward pressures on prices.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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