Meet Ryan

Ryan MartensWith the start of a new year comes new opportunities to connect, engage, and explore. One such opportunity was an interview on Rally for Impact, a fascinating arm  of the for-profit social enterprise Rally Software. Innov8Social spoke with Rally Software’s Founder and CTO Ryan Martens about his vision for empowering engineers to turn their attention to many of the world’s most pressing problems.
In addition to his work at the helm of Rally for Impact, Ryan also served as Mentor in Residence for the Unreasonable Institute in 2011 and continues to serve as a Mentor.

Rally Software and Rally for Impact

Rally Software has adopted a 1/1/1 model similar to Salesforce, where 1% of the company’s founding equity is put toward the Entrepreneurs Foundation, 1% of employee’s time is used for volunteer projects, and 1% of equity financing to endow the efforts of citizen engineers.
Scroll to end of the post for an informative introduction video to learn about what the organization does, its goals, and an account of a citizen engineer. When asking Ryan about Rally’s decision to become a B Corporation he said that he certified as as a B Corporation because he sees it as a promising hybrid model between a non-profit and for-profit entity.

Read the Interview

Interview on Rally for Impact with Ryan Martens, Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Rally Software

Q1 | Innov8Social: How did you first get involved with Rally for Impact?  How long has it been around?

A1 | Ryan Martens, Rally for Impact: The idea has been percolating for 10 years. We officially launched it in October 2012.

Q2 | Innov8Social: What problem/pain point is Rally for Impact addressing?

A2 | Ryan: I feel strongly that business is the only force on the planet large enough and pervasive enough to change our broken global systems. With Rally for Impact, we are stepping up to say that business must lead the way in solving social problems. We can embed our social enterprises within the wrapper of business and be successful at both by bringing the learnings from one into the other.

My vision is to bring citizen engineers and social entrepreneurs together to help scale their efforts, as well as to inspire businesses to create sustainable and equitable solutions that span the globe.

Together, citizen engineers and social entrepreneurs can be the giant lever to fix the global systems that create clean water, clean air, rich soil, biodiversity and happiness as a natural by-product of everyday work.

I do not believe you can make one singular giant leap to become a social impact enterprise, but rather, incremental progress. You need the support of the business to value the work and thus create an environment where citizen engineers are empowered to explore not just feasible and effective solutions, but highly desirable and sustainable solutions. We need to build the right things that help us make the world better with every use..

Q3 | Innov8SocialThe site emphasizes the presence of citizen engineers—how did you first think of this broad category? Who are the most typical ‘citizen engineers’ you have come across?

A3 | Ryan: I did not coin the term Citizen Engineer; Dave Douglas and Greg Papadopoulos actually did in their book: Citizen Engineer. There really is no “typical story” – the profile is someone who identifies a social problem and then works to solve it. Much of comes from finding an unfortunate opportunity that they are compelled to wrestle with and attempt to solve. We have great examples on the Rally For Impact site that include business, technical and grassroots organizing stories: http://www.rallydev.com/community/rallyforimpact/stories.

Q4 | Innov8Social: What is the primary purpose of Rally for Impact?

A4 | Ryan: Our mission to mobilize citizen engineers to solve the world’s toughest problems is based in part on my interactions with Dave Douglas, co-author of the book Citizen Engineer. Dave and Greg define citizen engineers as “the connection point between science and society—between pure knowledge and how it is used. Citizen engineers are techno-responsible, environmentally responsible, economically responsible, socially responsible participants in the engineering community.”

To mobilize citizen engineers to do this, we need to leverage:

  • design thinking to produce highly desirable solutions that scale quickly
  • agile thinking to bring the power of small teams to large problems
  • lean startup to simultaneously solve for feasibility and effectiveness
  • open source licenses to disseminate learnings and solutions freely across the planet
  • sociology and biology to design sustainable solutions that work with nature
Between Dave’s book, the Stanford d.school, Eric Ries, Steve Blank and what we know about scaling Agile, we now have a recipe for mobilizing citizen engineers. Our job at Rally For Impact is to work collaboratively with our employees, business and social partners and most importantly, our customers, to leverage these methods to educate, enable and mobilize these citizen engineers across the planet. We have the science and technology, now we just need citizen engineers to apply them in uniquely local and global ways.

We believe business can be the force that helps us create sustainable systems for billions of humans to live on this planet in a just, equitable and restorative fashion. It is why we are here as a company.

Action

Rally for Impact is seeking to build its base of social innovation-minded engineers. If you are interested you can take this pictorial citizen engineer survey.

 

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