Guy Cherni is a social entrepreneur who believes in the power of innovation to drive social mobility and scalable impact.
He expresses his agenda via international endeavors that combine technology, design and community development.
His experience with social entrepreneurship and technological startups extends across multiple continents, having worked in China, Africa, Europe, and Israel.
Guy is married to Hagit, father to Amit, and the proud owner of Dambo, the flying dog.
What are you working on these days?
I’m the Chief Service Designer at my startup Atlas Dynamics.
We create full Drone-Based Solutions for professional use.
Besides that I run 42kura, an Israeli-Rwandan startup program I founded with the Marathon Group that leverages Israeli tech experience in order to support Rwandan founders.
What was your first position In the Startup-Nation?
5 years ago I joined the founding team of Siftech, the first startup program in Jerusalem.
Siftech later became the first full-time accelerator in Jerusalem, located at JVP’s media quarter.
I’m still very involved in the amazing organization, as a board member.
What was your first job ever?
I worked as a cleaner at my father’s office
What life event or moment affected your life the most?
When I first arrived in Ethiopia for work, I thought I had it all figured out.
What I’m going to do, who I need to talk with, and how everything is going to play out.
Of course it will, because I PLANNED it so well, and if it worked in Israel, why wouldn’t it work here! I figured there is a one- fits all solution!
I was ridiculously wrong.
How can someone get to a new place, with new people, a different way of thinking, and believe he has all the answers? How can one solution fit many different people?
This was the beginning of the best product development class I ever received.
After understanding that I can take my plans and throw them in the trash, I “got out of the building” and started working with the community, assessing their needs, local assets, and observing their unique way of life.
Together we defined the “Lighthouse” we want to get to, and started to ideate, building new directions from the fresh soil of Gondar.
We identified a local problem; extensive use of charcoal that is expensive and pollutant, and discovered Gondar’s local asset; organic waste from the local beer factory that was being thrown away.
We decided to take this asset and create bio fuel briquettes with the community.
We then prototyped the machinery, tested it with local farmers, and started a community project that teaches others how to manufacture this great resource.
Eventually, the project failed for several external reasons.
But this experience taught me that community-based international development is similar to creating a human-centered product – there is no such thing as a no one size fit all solution.
Just like there is no “build it and they will come” product. They will not come.
Personalization can only grow from empathy, humility, and collaboration.
This experience changed the way I address new challenges, in both social and business, and is key to the work I’m doing with service design and community development.
“Personalization can only grow from empathy, humility and collaboration.” – Guy Cherni
Best advice you received or would like to share?
My Ninjutsu sensei always says “Look at life as a long road that has no end; this is the recipe for true happiness and success”.
In other words, we should strive to create intrinsic value, enjoy and embrace what we are doing and not be intimidated that we may make a mistake and have to start all over.
I believe that as humans, our meaning in life is to create, and real creation can only grow from being dedicated to the journey, not cut corners, and enjoy what we are doing.