Iridia Medical + Kiva = Social Responsibility

What is Microlending?

In the 1970’s, Nobel Prize winning economist Dr. Muhammad Yunus set out to find a way to provide bank loans to those entrepreneurs who were “too poor” for traditional bank loans.

During visits to the poorest households in the village of Jobra near Chittagong University, Bangladesh, Yunus discovered through his own lending, even very small loans could make a disproportionate difference to a poor person – and so microlending was born.

Microlending, in a nutshell, is the lending of very small amounts. These loans on their own do not amount to much, but when combined with many lenders, they make a huge impact. 

“Money goes, but it never comes back,” says Yunus when comparing philanthropy to microlending; providing a great example of how microlending is more sustainable than its philanthropic counterpart.

What is Kiva?

Kiva is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.http://blog.iridiamedical.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Kiva-logo.jpg

Kiva Statistics

  • 850,000 Kiva lenders
  • $379+ million in loans
  • 98.98% Repayment rate
  • 171 Field Partners
  • 450 volunteers around the world
  • 66 different countries

Why?
Kiva envisions a world where all people – even in the most remote areas of the globe – hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others. They believe providing safe, affordable access to capital to those in need helps people create better lives for themselves and their families.

Social Responsibility at Iridia

Why are we so interested in the concept of microlending? Well to put it simply, microlending allows us to do much more with less!

Almost two years ago, Iridia began lending through Kiva.org. We saw an opportunity to give even more to those who are less fortunate. Since then, we have made 22 loans to 16 different countries around the world. For more information, view our lending portfolio.

Recently however, we hosted a brand launch party to celebrate the journey toward updating our brand and choosing a new name ideally suited to our company.

Kiva Iridia

As part of the celebration, we made a new contribution to Kiva on behalf of all of our guests. But we didn’t stop there, we wanted our guests to choose the next loans themselves by selecting a Gender, a Location and a Sector they would like us to lend to. However, due to the constant variability of borrowers on Kiva – at the time we placed the loans, certain borrower categories were unavailable to us. For example, we had a difficult time finding female borrowers from Africa (a popular choice among our guests). With future Kiva loans, we will look to fulfill any missed popular categories. Thank you to everyone who made a selection!

Based on choices available to us, we selected the following four individuals:

k1 k4 k3 k2

Why Iridia Medical?

In a previous blog entry (Global Became Iridia, But Why?) we shared that a simple desire to tweak a logo led to a rebranding effort that lasted nearly two years. We stopped short of outlining how we landed on Iridia Medical as our new name, but would like to tell that story now.

Midway through our rebranding project, we began scrutinizing the name Global Medical Services. With a goal of becoming a Top 100 employer, we asked ourselves if the name would help us get there. A bit of research highlighted that British Columbia has over 450 companies with “Global” in the name. Across the country, over 2200 companies used “Global”. We feared that as we continued to grow, we would get overlooked – picture standing up in a crowd of hundreds and calling out “John” only to have dozens of people respond. Worse still, we were also at risk of being confused with Global Medical Solutions, Global Medical Products, Global Health Network, or Global Health Ventures, to cite but a few similarly-named companies. And so, the push to rename was born.

We started out with our naivety on full display. Equipped with our “sit down, map it out” approach, we tabled a half-day, and fully expected to knock it out of the park. After all, we were a hard-working, creative lot, so it shouldn’t have been a huge deal, or so we thought.

Toward the end of our session, we realized that a genuine challenge lay ahead. With a half day under our belts, we had few, if any, quality names. To be fair, we were our own worst enemies. From day one, we tabled two non-negotiables when it came to a new name. Firstly, it had to resonate with us. In our mind, a clever name was useless if it didn’t connect to us in a significant way. Secondly, it had to tell a story. More specifically, it had to tell OUR story. With these two criteria in mind, our hope was that our new name would embody who were and would naturally open the door to further conversation should anyone inquire as to the name’s origin.

The reality was that that the naming process took a full five months to complete.

As we dove into the process, we quickly found that most one or two word names that might seem viable had already been taken by other firms. In response, we listed a series of adjectives that we felt described us and/or what we do. Words like unique, empowering, and enabling came to mind. From there, we began translating these words into other languages, and splicing syllables together to form candidate names.

Some worked (e.g. Emgen) and others clearly did not (e.g. Fapalena).

We made efforts to draw from science nomenclature, riffling through all subjects imaginable. Again some held promise (Cingulate – a fold in the brain: Mito – drawn from mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell), but most did not. We scoured plant and animal species names looking for parallels to our company, but again, came up empty. We even briefly explored using names of famous Sherpas as a way forward.

All told, the fruits of our labour produced more than 300 candidate names. Through an aggressive whittling exercise, the list was reduced to 11. Through further discussions, the final four candidates were tabled, and our staff was asked to make the final decision. On the basis of the criteria listed below, our team ranked the candidate names.

GMS Naming

A sample of the 300 names.

• How easy it was to pronounce
• How memorable it was
• How it sounded when it was said
• How credible it sounded
• How it “fit” with the company
• The quality of the story it told

When voting was finished, Iridia Medical stood apart in the minds of our staff.

Vote

The name is borrowed from Iridium, an element with properties that align perfectly with our company, as outlined below.

• It is very rare, much in the same way that our team is a very unique collection of people, interests, and expertise.
• It connects with other metals to form alloys, as we engage stakeholders to build solutions.
• It is a standard of measure for weight, and we set the standard for practical, effective solutions for our clients.
• It is durable as are we in having weathered economic slowdowns, competition, and a changing market landscape.

Lastly, and most intriguingly, is the fact that Iridium is found in very high concentrations in meteors and asteroids when compared to the amounts found in the earth’s crust. This finding has led to the idea that an asteroid colliding with the earth triggered an ice age and the eradication of the dinosaurs. This “out with old, in with the new” paradigm aligns perfectly with our company, as going back to our founding days, we are perpetually challenging the status quo in the interest of finding new ways to bring about improvements.

In the end, we find ourselves with a name that might trigger a double take when first heard, and we’re perfectly happy with that. In our view, it gives us license to tell our story and share how Iridia resonates so well with us.

Iridia Medical Comes to Life

March 11th, 2013.

A day much like any other for most, but a day unlike any other for us. With the arrival of this day comes a mix of emotions for our entire team.

On the one hand, it is time to say goodbye to the name Global Medical Services (GMS) and the familiar heart rhythm logo to which we have grown so accustomed over the years. No longer will the GMS name and logo adorn our employee manuals, our educational handouts, or any other documents that our team produces. Indeed, the final paramedic daily report with a golden oval has been completed, reviewed, and filed for safe keeping.

On the other hand, we have cause for emphatic celebration! We are blessed with an incredibly rare opportunity to breathe life into a fresh new brand identity. But not just any brand identity – one into which we have poured our hearts and souls to develop over the past year and a half. One that we feel perfectly reflects who we are and what we represent. And, best of all, we have the chance to shape this new brand with the very same people that have made Global such a success.

So, while it is not easy saying goodbye to the GMS name which has served us so well over the years, we will forever be grateful for the memories and successes realized under it. And, as we look forward, we enthusiastically embrace a bright future under the Iridia Medical banner.


To kick things off, here are some of the biggest changes you’ll see:

  • The Iridia Medical name and logo, as pictured in this blog, will feature prominently on everything our team produces.
  • Enabling Peace of Mind is our new company tagline. 
  • We also have four new divisional taglines: We have a snazzy new website at www.iridiamedical.com that is filled with fresh new content, has an intuitive and easy-to-use interface, and allows for online purchasing of AED accessories and course registration. 
    • Tools to Save Lives (Products), 
    • The Right Care at the Right Time (Paramedics), 
    • Facilitating Practical Healthcare Solutions (Consulting), and 
    • Empowering People to Save Lives (Education).
  • Our Social Media accounts have been given a facelift. View these on the the menu to the right.

Beyond today, the year ahead will be exciting and frenetic as we write the first of many chapters in the story of the Iridia Medical brand. There are vehicles to be branded, divisional launch promotions/events to be held, and a great many more things to come. Stay tuned!

As we embark on this new journey, we invite you take it with us. Please let us know how we are doing. If any of our team members or a product/service we provide has made a difference to you, we’d love to hear from you. We’ve made it as easy as possible to get in touch — on every page of our website there is a blue banner along the bottom with a “Feedback” button. Simply hit it and fill in the form that pops up!

Here’s to a great first year with Iridia Medical!