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CEO Krista Donaldson dedicates her life to getting innovation to those who need it the most. At the non-profit organization D-Rev, she heads a talented team of engineers who make complicated medical technologies an affordable reality for millions of people in third world countries.
Since joining D-Rev in 2009, Krista has led the development, production, and distribution of the Brilliance Phototherapy device which to date has treated over 56,000 babies suffering from jaundice. She also oversaw the 2013 release of the ReMotion Knee, a prosthetic knee joint that has been fit to over 6,800 amputees so far.
Focused exclusively on serving the 4 billion people in the world who live on less than $4 a day, Krista and her team are improving the health and income of people who live in challenging conditions.
Krista Donaldson, PhD, has driven innovation in product design, engineering, and international development for more than 15 years. As D-Rev’s CEO, Krista’s has led the release of Brilliance, a revolutionary technology treating neonatal jaundice, and the ReMotion prosthetic knee. Her leadership has won Krista acclaim as one of Fast Company’s Co.Design 50 Designers Shaping the Future, a TED speaker and a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer. She has also been a Rainer Arnhold Fellow and a Pop!Tech Social Innovation Fellow.
Prior to D-Rev, Krista served as a Diplomacy Fellow in the U.S. Department of State’s American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), where she guided economic policy and the reconstruction of Iraq’s electricity sector. Her work there earned recognition for its impact on bilateral relations. From 1998 to 2001, she worked as a design engineer and researcher with KickStart International (formerly ApproTEC) in Nairobi, Kenya. She also has worked at the product design firm IDEO.
A native of Nova Scotia, Krista holds a BE in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University as well as a MSE (Product Design), MSME and a PhD from Stanford University. Her doctoral work was among the first to focus on engineering and social entrepreneurship in less industrialized economies. Krista has taught at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya and South Africa’s University of Cape Town. She is also currently a lecturer at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University.
Krista Donaldson speaks on the challenges of making new medical technologies available to those who need them the most: patients in third world countries. She points out that while developed nations have spent billions of dollars on creating advanced technologies, often they fall short of their potential, because a limited group of consumers have access to them. Realizing this, Krista’s company D-Rev sought to create a prosthetic leg that would improve the lives of users who live on less than $4 per day.
In order to do this they needed to create a world-class product that could be centrally manufactured to maintain an affordable price of $80. “We really truly believe that if a product is going to reach users at a scale that it’s needed, it needs to be market-driven and market-driven means that products are sold. They’re not donated,” she explains, detailing how D-Rev’s prosthetic leg was specifically designed for customers in countries like India where sitting crossed-legged, squatting, and kneeling in prayer are parts of daily life. “Most medical devices we’ve learned are really designed for Westerners, for wealthier economies. But the reality is our users, our customers, they do different things.”
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