LuminAID's Story

LuminAID

3. Good Health and Well-Being 7. Affordable and Clean Energy

Overview

The solution that were are discussing is LuminAID’s first product, the PackLite Spectra USB. This is a solar-powered inflatable light that folds, making it easy to store and pack, it can float, and does not require any power source as it uses the sun’s energy. This is innovative and addresses the UN Sustainable Development Goal of affordable and clean energy as it gives people a light source without harming the environment as it uses solar power. Additionally, it is innovative as it is easy to transport, making it ideal for helping individuals who have just been hit by a natural disaster have access to an adequate light source.

Authors

Abhineet Jain

Abhineet Jain

Ashton Smith

Ashton Smith

Geetam Patchigolla

Geetam Patchigolla

Augustine Amaquandoh

Augustine Amaquandoh

School

Rutgers Business School

Rutgers Business School

Professor

Kenneth Welch

Kenneth Welch

Innovation

The innovations that are being discussed are LuminAIDs solar-powered devices. LuminAID devices are small solar-rechargeable products that have a variety of uses. For instance, they are waterproof, foldable, which makes them easy to package and transport, and can be used for many things such as charging other small electronic devices and as an adequate light source. The primary purpose of the product is to be used to help the residents of areas that were just struck by natural disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes. Additionally, this relates to the UN Sustainable Development Goal of affordable and clean energy as the innovation creates sustainable energy using solar power that is transformed into a light. This is important as it can provide significant amounts of light with having a very minimal environmental impact.

Moreover, it focuses on the UN goal of good health and wellbeing as light is essential too many fundamental human functions. For instance, light is necessary for things such as eating, doing work, or even studying at night. Because of the nature of these natural disasters, frequently in underdeveloped countries, it can take months sometimes even years to completely restore a nation's infrastructure and get power to all parts of the land back. As a result, this is important to wellbeing and good health as it will allow these individuals to continue their daily activities such as eating or doing work in the dark. This product has had a significant impact as LuminAID has partnered with numerous nonprofits to give hurricane relief to those facing the consequences of Hurricane Dorian and many other natural calamities.

LuminAID's Story

Inspiration

When we asked Andrea about why she started the business, she told us a story of when Andrea and her partner, Anne Stork were architecture graduate students asked to design a product to assist post-earthquake relief efforts in Haiti. After looking at what supplies most people donated, Anna and Andrea came to a revealing conclusion. They realized that in most cases, people frequently only donate three types of supplies: food, water, or simple first aid supplies. These are all important; however, they lacked one crucial thing that the world did not have an adequate solution for: a renewable and cheap light source for these individuals. During our interview, Andrea said that "without light, individuals can't make use of all these items that were donated," therefore emphasizing the importance and necessity of creating an adequate light source.

Furthermore, when we interviewed her, she emphasized the need to advertise and make people more aware of this issue globally. Andrea and Anna realized they needed to create something to address this issue, and as a result, created their first LuminAID lamp. They designed a solar power based floatable device that could provide adequate light to these disaster victims. Andrea said that she hoped with this light, underdeveloped nations would be able to recover from the effects of natural disasters faster, and the people living there would be able to maintain some level of normalcy while the nation was rebuilding itself.

Overall impact

LuminAID products are largely used for humanitarian reasons, as the lantern and chargers are mostly used to help people in distress after natural disasters. After we interviewed Andrea, she told the group that the portable solar lamps are used in many places to provide communities with a reliable and clean source of energy. After disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes, LuminAID’s products offer people that are experiencing extreme power outages with both light and a place to charge their phones. However, Andrea said that the impact of the product is not limited to only humanitarian efforts. Their products are also primarily used by people that have a passion for the outdoors, as the lanterns can be used for camping and other outdoor activities.

The products are solar-powered and rechargeable, so they run indefinitely, whether you are experiencing trouble or exploring the wilderness. 1.6 billion people across the globe do not have access to readily available energy, so the impact of the lantern is offering easy access to sustainable light. This lessens the dangers of using other lanterns, such as ones fueled by kerosene as these are highly flammable and release toxic gases indoors. It not only lessens the hazards of lamps, but it reduces costs, as it is a one time purchase for the light, and after this, the charging relies solely on solar power.

When we asked Andrea about the overall impact of the innovation, she cited numerous numeric examples. For instance, to help those affected in the Bahamas from Hurricane Dorian, over 7,000 solar lanterns and phone chargers were sent, giving over 20,000 people access to light. Additionally, LuminAID has partnered with numerous nonprofits such as ShelterBox and the United Nations Population Fund to give over 10,000 solar-powered devices to those in need.

Business benefit

One of LuminAID’s most popular and successful products is their PackLite Max 2-in-1 phone charger and lantern. This is LuminAID’s most sophisticated product, it combines their solar-powered inflatable light with their solar-powered portable phone charger. When we interviewed Andrea, she told us that the PackLite Max helps their business in many ways. For instance, in today’s society, cell phones are a necessity for most people. This product brings in large amounts of revenue for people who are either preparing for emergency power outages or those who like to go outdoors as they will not have to worry about their cell phones dying, and it gives them an adequate light source. This provides the company with large amounts of revenue, which allows the company to continue to operate.

Furthermore, she told us that many organizations see this as extremely innovative, combing their two staple products. The organizations only have to buy and transport one product as opposed to two. This has benefitted their business as it has allowed them to partner with more organizations, allowing their business to sustain even more. Additionally, she told us that it has opened new markets for the everyday consumer as opposed to just people who have just been struck by disasters, which raises their revenue, allowing them to hire more individuals, create new products, and further expand their corporation.

Social and environmental benefit

This is a social innovation as the organization has created a product that significantly benefits victims of natural disasters by allowing them to have an adequate source of light without the need for things such as batteries or chargers. These benefit society as light is essential too many human actions. After disaster strikes, these devices benefit society as individuals will be able to charge their phones and other electronic devices, allowing them to communicate with other people. Additionally, it helps the community because if everyone has access to light, they will be able to rebuild their society significantly faster. Moreover, this benefits the environment as it creates light and electricity using only solar power and without hurting the environment. This innovation also helps give back to good causes in society. When businesses get recognized and grow beyond its launch concept of doing good, its immediate turn to give back to the community, which helps create an excellent way to connect to their customers. LuminAID has many programs such as "Give Light, Get Light program," which lets customers buy two light and donate one of them to nonprofits or charity organizations. These help the business generate revenue, while also giving back to society. Recently, to help those affected in the Bahamas from Hurricane Dorian, over 7,000 solar lanterns and phone chargers were sent, giving over 20,000 people access to light. Additionally, LuminAID has partnered with numerous nonprofits such as ShelterBox and the United Nations Population Fund to give over 10,000 solar-powered devices to those in need.

Interview

Andrea Sreshta, CEO

Photo of interviewee

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LuminAID

LuminAID

Chicago, Illinois, US

Business Website: https://luminaid.com/

Year Founded: 2010

Number of Employees: 51 to 200

LuminAID creates a variety of lights that are solar-powered, light, affordable, and convenient. LuminAID was designed to benefit those who have just been hit by a natural disaster or in impoverished nations, giving them access to a convenient and renewable light source.