Rose Shuman

Founder and CEO, Open Mind - Question Box
Santa Monica, CA, United States

About Rose


Open Mind - Question Box, Santa Monica, CA/India/Uganda: Founder & CEO
Bringing Internet information to persons in India & Uganda via local language telephone hotlines. Providing many benefits of direct Internet access via telephone.

Major strategy and company vision, investor relations and fundraising, business development, marketing/collateral development, complex international project management, research, operations management. Directing team members on four continents, including engineering teams.

Consultant, Santa Monica, CA (February 2009 - present)
Take on select clients in the international business/social enterprise space. Marketing & business development. Refining business concepts for developing world implementation, assistance with execution. Also: ICT4D; Foundation consulting.

AdLens Company, Santa Monica, CA/ Oxford, UK; Head of Business Development. (January 2007 - January 2009)
Oxford, UK $20 million developing world technology start-up. Market research in U.S. & international public and private markets, business planning and strategy, product development, marketing material.

Adaptive Eyewear Ltd., Santa Monica, CA/Oxford, UK; Senior Programme Manager. (August 2005 - January 2009)
Social enterprise start-up, optical technology funded by AdLens. International market entry analysis and project development. Distribution, statistical and regulatory analyses, consumer and product research. Web development, film production. Work in Costa Rica, Chile, Uruguay, Peru, Ghana, and U.S.

Direct Relief International, Santa Barbara, CA; Corporate & Foundations Relations Manager. (August 2003 - August 2005)
Medical aid nonprofit. Launched new partnerships with pharmaceutical manufacturers, generating $15 million in wholesale, in-kind donations. Effective marketer; built and maintained relationships with over 300 companies. Wrote successful project grant proposals and public relations materials.

Brown University, Providence, RI. (September 1997 - May 2002)
Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa. All degrees simultaneous; only combined MA-BA recipient in 2002.

Master of Arts, International Development. Thesis: Refugees, Representation and Power

Bachelor of Arts, double major. International Relations (Honors) and Visual Arts. Recipient MacLeod Prize for thesis.

Professionally fluent in Spanish. Adobe CS2 Suite/graphic design, Excel and PowerPoint

TEDIndia Fellow (2009)
Consultation to the Government of Uttar Pradesh on Reduction of Maternal & Child Mortality (2009)
Dasra-Social Impact Fellow (2009)
Presenter, Europe Asia Business School, Pune, India (2009)
Panelist, Haas School of Business Global Social Venture Competition (2009)
Sponsored Poster Presenter, World Health Congress, Washington, DC (2009)
Participant, Skoll Forum on Social Entrepreneurship (2009; 2010)
Panelist, SXSW Interactive, Austin, TX (2009)
Question Box in Final 15, NetSquared – USAID Competition (2008)
Guest Lecturer, Berkeley University, “Poverty and Technology” seminar (2008)
Sponsored Speaker, W3C Workshop on the Role of Mobile Technology in Social Development, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2008)

New York Times
Indian Express
The Times of India
UK Sunday Telegraph
New Scientist
BBC Digital Planet
Voice of America


English, Spanish

TED Conferences

TEDWomen 2013, TEDWomen 2010, TEDIndia 2009

Areas of Expertise

International Development, Social Entrepreneurship, technology for social good

An idea worth spreading

Someone once told me that the earth would be saved through Bamboo. I think they may be right about that. It is strong, rapid-growing, versatile, and can be used for everything from construction to clothing to (someday) fuel.

I'm passionate about

Getting everyone a fair shot at a decent life


Brown University

People don't know I'm good at

Rescuing small animals and plants; Oil painting

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

Rose Shuman
Posted about 4 years ago
We are making software to help developing world community orgs run their own local hotlines. How do we connect with orgs to beta test?
Emily, thanks for your question. Communities quickly "decide" what Question Box does. What I mean is that, if the first users discovered that Question Box tells you the weather, and knows the populations in different cities, that information will pass around the local community by word of mouth. If we tell people what the hotline is for, obviously then we get a lot more calls along that topic, for example agriculture in Uganda. However, even then we received health inquiries 10% of the time, indicating an enormous unmet need in that area.
Rose Shuman
Posted about 4 years ago
We are making software to help developing world community orgs run their own local hotlines. How do we connect with orgs to beta test?
Thanks Gautam for the great question. We are evolving towards a new model, in which we are teaching local organizations how to run and replicate their own hotlines and Question Boxes. This way, groups can use Question Box as an approach, but innovate locally. So, if wireless data connections are becoming more accessible, they might: - Use a wireless connection as their Internet access point in the office where they answer questions - Provide community field workers with a smartphone that links to online resources - Install a wireless access point in a community that allow people to submit queries and return later for responses, etc. It's really just a matter of imagination.