Darlene Damm


Global Grand Challenges

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Areas of Expertise

GGC-Space  •  GGC-Learning  •  GGC-General  •  Future Forecasting  •  Exponentials  •  Ethics

About Darlene

Darlene Damm is Vice Chair & Principal Faculty of Global Grand Challenges 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.

Will you help build a collaborative space age?

Open source space technology in the future

Technology - a tool for good or evil| TEDxDanubia

Can Tech Be Used for Good or Evil?

Speaking Topics

  • Can Exponential Technologies Solve our World’s Biggest Social Challenges?

    Can Exponential Technologies Solve our World’s Biggest Social Challenges?
    This talk provides an introduction to Singularity University, exponential technologies and the 6Ds with a special focus on how exponential technologies can both help solve our world’s largest social challenges while also creating new social and ethical challenges that we all need to be prepared to address.

  • Crowdsourcing Rocket Engines: The Future Private Space Industry

    Crowdsourcing Rocket Engines: The Future Private Space Industry
    How might exponentials technologies create a space industry that unlocks innovation, dramatically lowers costs and democratizes one of the world’ most important future industries to benefit all of humanity? The speaker shares the story of how she created a space start-up with almost no resources by smartly using exponential technologies.

  • Introduction to Moonshot Theory

    How does one launch a Moonshot company before the technology is ready, before the market is ready and before anyone believes what you are doing is possible? This talk shares key insights about how exponential technologies and an exponential mindset makes Moonshots possible. It is based on the speaker’s personal experience launching moonshots in both the drone industry and social entrepreneurship sector.

  • Investing in Humans and Robots: What Skills Should we Be Teaching Humans in a World of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Exponential Technologies?

    What Skills Do Humans Need in a World of Exponential Technology?
    This talk provides an introduction to Singularity University, exponential technologies and the 6Ds with a special focus on the new skills that humans will need to learn to thrive in a world of exponential technological change.

  • Moonshots: How Solving Humanity’s Greatest Challenges Starts with Having a Bold Vision of the Future

    Have you ever come up with an idea that was too bold to be pursued, but had the potential of improving billions of lives across the planet?
    If yes, you’re already familiar with the idea of moonshots.
    While traditional business ideas focus on delivering value through existing channels, moonshots open up entirely new arenas or industries that didn’t even exist before.

    Over the past few years, we have heard a great deal about moonshots–whether it is Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot or Alphabet (Google’s) Moonshot Factory.

    What exactly is a moonshot? Why is the tech-industry so obsessed with it? And is it really possible for anyone to launch a moonshot?

    Darlene Damm talks about the importance of moonshots, and how we’re close to a future, where exponential technologies can bridge the gap between desirability and feasibility.

    In this talk, you will:
    – Understand how to outline moonshot ideas
    – Explore how exponential technologies can boost the impact, affordability and turnaround time of moonshot ideas
    – Learn how to create a moonshot canvas, and evaluate viable business models
    – Get inspired to ideate, prototype and launch your own moonshot ideas

  • Rising above Robo-displacement: Solutions to Technological Unemployment

    How Does Exponential Tech Affect the Job Market and What Can Be Done about It?

    Transformative growth in robotics and artificial intelligence has revolutionized many industries, but the progress comes at a cost: technological unemployment for countless workers. With the effects already influencing retail, transportation, manufacturing and agriculture sectors, what strategies can we implement to ensure that exponential tech advances work toward supporting the job market, not undermining it?

    Darlene Damm discusses a detailed examination of this hot-button issue, the scope of its impact, and practical solutions for redirecting these innovations to benefit humanity.

    In this talk, you will:
    – Identify concrete solutions being proposed to combat technological unemployment
    – Discover how we can plan ahead to support workers whose jobs are most likely to be impacted by technology-based staffing changes
    – Understand how to actively explore new solutions to mitigate job loss caused by increased adoption of automation, artificial intelligence, robotics and horizon technologies

    Entrepreneurs, business leaders, economists, software developers and scientists alike will find this fascinating discussion about the abundant future of the workplace and job market extremely relevant.


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