Darlene Damm

Singularity Chair: Global Grand Challenges

Darlene Damm is Faculty Chair & Head of Social Impact at Singularity University. She has spent nearly two decades working on moonshots and initiatives designed to solve our world’s toughest social problems and empower people to create abundant futures.

At Singularity University, Darlene focuses on helping people understand how exponential technologies are creating abundance in the global grand challenge areas, as well as articulating and preparing for new social challenges created by exponential technologies including technological unemployment, inequality, and ethical issues.

Darlene has a broad background spanning across both technology and social change. In 2012 she founded DIYROCKETS, the first company to crowdsource space technology, and in 2011 was an early co-founder of Matternet, one of the world’s first companies using drones for commercial transport and delivery of medical goods in the developing world.

Darlene served with Ashoka, the world’s largest association of social entrepreneurs for nearly ten years where she built the organization’s fundraising system (raising over $30 million per year) and led Ashoka’s presence in the Silicon Valley launching major partnerships with companies such as Google, LinkedIn and Facebook. In addition, she helped launch Ashoka’s StartEmpathy initiative which has scaled to over 30 countries ensuring young children grow up learning empathy and changemaking as core skills for the 21st century.

Prior to that, Darlene spent over a decade working in Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, East Asia and the US on educational and economic programs that empowered youth and helped bring developing nations into the global economy.

She received her bachelor’s degree in History from Stanford University and her master’s degree in International Affairs from Johns Hopkins SAIS. She was a Fellow with Japan-US Community Education and Exchange and a graduate of Singularity University. She holds a patent and regularly speaks around the world and publishes on the topic of technology, innovation, and social change.

Speaking Topics

Entrepreneurship and Moonshot Thinking

Our world currently encourages innovators to build new products and services, mainly within existing industries and in an incremental fashion. However exponential technologies, with their dramatic ability to scale and increase in sophistication while falling in cost, creates the opportunity to also work at the industry level - launching new industries or transforming existing ones. This talk shares key insights on how to launch an industry through a process of technological forecasting, roadmapping of market applications, building a regulatory environment, and creating and sharing a vision for the public and key stakeholders. It also touches on how innovators can make the best decisions, carry out their work and stay motivated when others might believe their idea is too early or too difficult.

The Power of Exponential Thinking: Solving the Global Grand Challenges

Can exponential technologies solve our world’s biggest social challenges?

This talk provides an introduction to Singularity University, how we think, and why we believe exponential technologies have a distinct advantage is creating social impact due to their price performance curve and democratizing nature. We will explore how innovators around the world are using exponential technologies to revolutionize industries critical to humanity such as food and agriculture, health, education, housing and more creating both business and impact opportunities in the process.