Have you heard about those three words that can tell exactly where you are without using any address or coordinates? Hard to believe that navigation can be that easy? The start-up what3words promises that in the near future, every navigation system in the world will function with only three words.
Before learning more about this innovative business idea, let us have a closer look at the successful female entrepreneur behind it: Clare Jones. Since 2015, she is the Chief Commercial Officer of what3words. As she will be speaking at the Global Female Leaders Summit 2019, we have been curious about what brought her to this leading position.
What we found is inspiring. To be honest, it is not only her current project that makes her so special, but her whole career path. Why did she decide to revolutionize the whole navigation industry? How did she come to that leading position? If you are curious about the answers, you should definitely read this article.
How Clare Jones combines social impact with geography
Surprisingly, the British woman did not study economics. Instead, she graduated in English Literature and Geography at the University of Cambridge. After graduation, she was engaged in several social projects.
In 2012 for example, she ran marketing for a charity. The project was based in Ethiopia, where British medics flew out to perform complex surgical procedures. Even if this project took only a few months, it seems like the social work set the basis for her astonishing future career.
After that, she worked at the 2nd Chance project. This initiative builds second chance educations for young people, who are not in employment, education or training. Clare Jones worked there 1.5 years, showing that she cares about other people’s living situation not only in poor countries like Ethiopia but also in her own.
The project was running in London, one of the biggest cities in the world. As we know, in those cities the gap between rich and poor becomes bigger and bigger. Clare Jones’ work helped to compensate this development a bit.
Besides that, she always volunteers for different projects. Since 2012, she is part of the Streetlink Project, which fights against poverty. Here, she also worked as a strategic advisor. Moreover, she tutored disadvantaged children in London to help them achieve graduation.
Due to the network she developed through her diverse projects, she came in touch with investors, who were specialized in social businesses. Thanks to her interest in the combination of business and social impact, the idea of what3words immediately got her.
But what has the revolution in navigation to do with social business? To answer this, let us have a closer look at the idea behind what3words.
Why 3 words can save a life
The principle is quite simple: The company divides the whole world into billions of 3×3 meters squares. Each square gets one unique word combination of 3 simple words. So if you want to tell someone where to meet you, you can just give him the three words of your square and he will find you easily.
No more addresses that lead to a whole building and making you search for the parking space or entrance. No more meeting friends in a big city park and needing hours to find their camp. Next time you are going to meet someone, you will know exactly where.
Maybe you are asking yourself: Why are those three words better than simple coordinates? With the latter, one can communicate an exactly whereabouts too. Basically, this thought is right. But three words are just simpler to communicate. People can understand and memorize those 3 words better than a sequence of numbers – and communication is essential when it comes to navigation.
The previous examples are of course not the only situations, where what3words can help out. Here is where the social impact comes into place.
Clare Jones told in an interview, that her solution does also work in critical situations. During a large earthquake in Mexico City for example, rescuers have been able to help faster thanks to the three words. The communication of three words have given less space for misunderstandings and ensured a precise localization of victims.
Another example in South Africa, health services and doctors use what3words to fight against the death rate of young mothers. Doctors can simply use the app to find patients quickly. Many people in South Africa have no address because they are not living not in a house next to a street. With what3words, residents can just memorize the three words for the square where they live and communicate them if they need help. For doctors, it is much easier and faster to find them.
How Clare Jones fights for a better society
The problem of homeless people is not only a South African problem but a worldwide one. Clare Jones told during an interview, that what3words provides those people without a postal address with a solution.
Jones herself had the luck to live in a house with a postal address at the west coast of Great Britain. Nevertheless, the postman always has given all packages to her neighbours. Even the pizza boy often did not find the way to her front door just because it is around a corner.
So her personal experiences and diverse social projects made Clare Jones want to find a solution. In her words: “The start-up has very high potential and it is an idea to make a better world.”
Her team currently consists of 80 members, but they grow very fast. What3words is negotiating with companies and governmental institutes all around the globe. Their goal is as ambitious as Clare Jones herself: They want every single device and all cars in the world to use those three words for navigation.
The future looks great for the start-up. What we can definitely say is, that Clare Jones is an astonishing woman with best ambitions in social environments. We are happy to meet her congenial personality in May at the Global Female Leaders Summit. If you also want to meet her, book your seat soon!