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Darlene Damm

Darlene Damm

Faculty Chair, Global Grand Challenges


Darlene Damm is faculty chair and 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 cofounder 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.

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From This Author


Is Digital Learning Still Second Best?

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Thanksgiving Food for Thought: The Tech Helping Make Food Abundant

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, it’s a great time to reflect on the future of food. Over the last few years, we have seen a dramatic rise in exponential technologies transforming the food...

Unleashing Some of the Most Ambitious Women on the Planet

At Singularity University, we are unleashing a generation of women who are smashing through barriers and starting some of the most ambitious technology companies on the planet. Singularity University was founded in 2008 to empower...

Why Quantum Computers Will Be an Amazing Tool for Social Innovators

While most people think quantum computing is still a few years off, your next taxi ride in Bangkok may be attached to a quantum computer. Toyota Tsusho and Denso recently announced plans to use...

Solutions to the World’s Biggest Problems Are Within Our Reach

At Singularity University (SU) we believe it is possible to solve today’s most pressing problems within the next couple decades. We call these the global grand challenges (GGCs). Our ambition and optimism stem from...

This Is How the World’s Poor Are Pioneering the Future of Energy

What if it took you four hours a day to cook all your meals because, in addition to cooking, you also had to search for firewood? What if you could only work and study...

Fighting Developing World Disease With AI, Robotics, and Biotech

While CRISPR, nanobots and head transplants are making headlines as medical breakthroughs, a number of new technologies are also making progress tackling some of the toughest age-old diseases still plaguing millions of people in...
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These New Technologies Will Be Both Powerful and Planet Friendly

Did you know there is a 25% chance your cause of death will be due to environmental pollution? According the World Health Organization, some 12.6 million people—or nearly 1 in 4 worldwide—died in 2012 due...

The Next Water Crisis Is Looming—How Can Tech Help?

Have you ever wondered if the water in your house is safe to drink? While many have been angered by the news that children in Flint, Michigan were exposed to abnormally high amounts of...

Disrupting Regulation: Robot Cars, Blockchain and Robotic Pharmacies

In recent years, regulators and lawmakers have been caught off guard by quick-moving new technologies—3D printed guns, genetically modified glowing plants, new business models for sharing economy companies and drones. As the pace of technological innovation...

Technology Doesn’t Just Erase Jobs—It Creates Them Too

Worries about the future often share a critical flaw. They sometimes assume nothing changes, or that change happens more slowly than it does—when instead, awareness of a problem drives people to find solutions to...

Can We Trust Robot Cars to Make Hard Choices?

The ethics of robot cars has been a hot topic recently. In particular, if a robot car encounters a situation where it is forced to hit one person or another—which should it choose and how does...

Women Working on the Frontiers of Technology

Are women starting companies in the most cutting edge fields and keeping pace with the future? Although many are now learning coding and engineering in school, working for global internet companies and building their...

Future of Work: What Skills Will Help Us Keep Pace?

From Elon Musk’s tweet that artificial intelligence may be more dangerous than nuclear weapons to the growing clamor of voices warning robots will take away our jobs, it is clear we are focusing more...

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