Innovation in Africa tips

From Ethan Zuckerman‘s post ‘Innovating from constraint‘:

  1. Innovation (often) comes from constraint (If you’ve got very few resources, you’re forced to be very creative in using and reusing them.)
  2. Don’t fight culture (If people cook by stirring their stews, they’re not going to use a solar oven, no matter what you do to market it. Make them a better stove instead.)
  3. Embrace market mechanisms (Giving stuff away rarely works as well as selling it.)
  4. Innovate on existing platforms (We’ve got bicycles and mobile phones in Africa, plus lots of metal to weld. Innovate using that stuff, rather than bringing in completely new tech.)
  5. Problems are not always obvious from afar (You really have to live for a while in a society where no one has currency larger than a $1 bill to understand the importance of money via mobile phones.)
  6. What you have matters more than what you lack (If you’ve got a bicycle, consider what you can build based on that, rather than worrying about not having a car, a truck, a metal shop.)
  7. Infrastructure can beget infrastructure (By building mobile phone infrastructure, we may be building power infrastructure for Africa.)

And Amy Smith on rules for design in the developing world:

  1. Try living for a week on $2 a day.
    That’s what my students and I do when I teach my class about international development. It helps them begin to understand the trade-offs that must be made when you have only very limited resources. More broadly, it was in the Peace Corps in Botswana that I learned to carry water on my head, and noticed how heavy the bucket was; and I learned to pound sorghum in to flour and felt the ache in my back. As a designer, I came to understand the importance of technologies that can transport water or grind grain.
  2. Listen to the right people. Okay, so you probably don’t know what it’s like to carry fifty pounds of firewood on your head. Well, don’t pretend that you do. Talk to someone who has done it. I believe that the key to innovation in international development is truly understanding the problem, and using your imagination is not good enough.
  3. Do the hard work needed to find a simple solution. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”—and it is the key to this type of design work.
  4. Create “transparent” technologies, ones that are easily understood by the users, and promote local innovation.
  5. Make it inexpensive. My friend Paul Polak has adapted a famous quote to the following: “Affordability isn’t everything, it’s the only thing” and there’s a lot of truth in that. When you are designing for people who are earning just one or two dollars a day, you need to keep things as cheap as you can and then make it even cheaper!
  6. If you want to make something 10 times cheaper, remove 90 percent of the material.
  7. Provide skills, not just finished technologies. The current revolution in design for developing countries is the notion of co-creation, of teaching the skills necessary to create the solution,
    rather than simply providing the solution. By involving the community throughout the design process, you can help equip people to innovate and contribute to the evolution of the product. Furthermore, they acquire the skills needed to create solutions to a much wider variety of problems. They are empowered.

And Paul Polak via Nextbillion;

  1. go to where the action is
  2. talk to the people who have the problem – and LISTEN to what they have to say
  3. learn everything there is to know about the specific context
  4. think and act big – don’t do anything that can’t reach a million people
  5. think like a child – children have no limit to their thinking
  6. see and do the obvious
  7. if somebody already invented it, you don’t have to
  8. design to critical price targets
  9. design for measurable improvement in the lives of more than a million people
  10. work to practical, three-year plans
  11. keep learning from your customers
  12. stay positive – don’t be distracted by what other people think (if there
    were a need for it, the market would have already created it)

So here are my 7 hints/tips/rules;

  1. Understand by observing the environment, infrastructure, culture and lives of people by being there.
  2. Think creatively: start big, use constraints as a filter and find the simplest solutions.
  3. Increase user acceptance; build on existing platforms, lower costs and beware of radically different ways of doing things.
  4. Deliver value; what are the benefits for people using the end product, does it improve a persons life?
  5. Economic sustainability; provide financial motivation for continued growth over time. Empower people by improving their economic or social status.
  6. Share knowledge and skills to continue the innovative process both to and from people and communities.
  7. Peripheral vision; keep a look out for other challenges or new solutions all the time.


Posted by email from Design in Africa (posterous)

435 Responses to “Innovation in Africa tips”

  1. …My heart’s in Accra » links for 2008-10-24 Says:

    [...] Innovation in Africa tips Design in Africa Tips on innovating in a developing world context from Paul Polak, Amy Smith, Design in Africa… and me. :-) (tags: innovation design africa economics development ideas) [...]

  2. good ole “Innovation in Africa tips” « Kofucius Say… Says:

    [...] For me I think access to funding is just as important as actually having it. But yea check em’ [...]

  3. Appropedia Blog » Blog Archive » Innovation in Africa tips Says:

    [...] Design in Africa blog has compiled tips on Innovation in Africa from thought leaders in [...]

  4. jra’s thoughts › More ideas on how to innovate to serve poor communities Says:

    [...] Another reference I don’t want to lose: Innovation in Africa Tips. [...]

  5. ICT4D.at » Blog Archive » Business fights poverty Says:

    [...] sustainability is one of the key criterion for successful development products – as several scholars already identified. Entrepreneurs with knowledge of local problems and innovative solutions can [...]

  6. …My heart’s in Accra » Innovation from Constraint (the extended dance mix) Says:

    [...] believe characterize much of the best innovation coming out of Africa. I was deeply flattered that the blogger behind Design in Africa put these principles into dialog with advice offered by a couple of my heroes: Paul Polak and Amy Smith. And given the interest in [...]

  7. Using Constraint to Design for Innovation at Many Possibilities Says:

    [...] how (some) developing world innovation proceeds”.   This post was riffed on beautifully by Design in Africa prompting Ethan to produce an extended dance mix version of his post.  All of the above are well [...]

  8. Innovation from Constraint (the extended dance mix) Says:

    [...] believe characterize much of the best innovation coming out of Africa. I was deeply flattered that the blogger behind Design in Africa put these principles into dialog with advice offered by a couple of my heroes: Paul Polak and Amy Smith. And given the interest in [...]

  9. Justin Boland Says:

    This was a really damn excellent list — very inspirational and immediately useful. Thank you.

  10. Christos Says:

    I was struck by Mr. Polak innovative rule “think big” as number of people Verse the approach of providing individual farmers the opportunity to get out of “poverty”.

    In the scheme of the larger population or the given economic sector what would it be the social, economical and political impact of those who are supported and got out of poverty verses others who remain the same?

    Could there be an innovative holistic approach that would support the whole community or and an economic entity at a regional or national level to create transparency from the bottom up? Say for example an integrated marketing approach for the whole.

    Randomly supporting one or the other individuals or group can have its own complex social dynamics. How does one control for such, not immediately visible but crucial issue that can turns in to conflicts, especially in heterogeneous groups?

    Christos

  11. Alexwebmaster Says:

    Hello webmaster
    I would like to share with you a link to your site
    write me here preonrelt@mail.ru

  12. sthembiso Says:

    i think you need to Understand by observing the environment, infrastructure, culture and lives of people by being there. because that will give you a basic idea or foundation and also Economic sustainability; provide financial motivation for continued growth over time. Empower people by improving their economic or social status.

    • dpad Says:

      sometimes i wished i lived in a world that had no use for status.

      we are either relaxed or paranoid
      waiting
      for the moment when all thoughts don’t matter
      they’re just as original as a snowflake
      we need to remember how it is to smile at a stranger

  13. tshepo Says:

    in order to be an innovator, one has to look for creative solutions, answers to the economic and socio economic problems. it is highly essential to deal with the first step in solving your problem, and that step entails IDENTIFYING the cause. secondly ANALYSING the problem and thirdly SOLVING the problem or coming up with solutions to address these problems.

    • Nancy T. Nguyen Says:

      I totally agree with you on this!! We have ti IDENTIFIY the problem first before we can do anything about.

  14. Lerato Says:

    in order to be an innovator you need to surround yourself with intellectual capitals.by that i mean people who know what they are doing.remeber that resources alone cannot give you the desirable outcome..however when you have resources and the personnel to make use of those resources..then stage one of your innovativeness is complete.remember that the personnel should also be able to use the resources effectively so.all am saying is that what i have read above is very true..just to encompass everything…innovation would be people+processes
    = INNOVATION

  15. webmaths Says:

    I think you need to “walk in somebody’s shoes” so that you can start to understand the problems. For example living on $2 a day would be an enormous wake up for someone living in relatively wealthy western country. This important step helps solve the real problems not the perceived problems.

  16. euice dahn Says:

    I would say that the most important resoure is ourselves (human) our ideas, our creativity (call it innovation) and second most important is the resource of our community. How can we use both to our advantage?

  17. dalie Says:

    investing in human capital can lead to greater innovations no doubt about that if the general environment of a country is acceptable. in developing nations innovation can is very crucial and very attainable because of the development gap that still needs to be covered so making it a little bit easier for great thinkers of the time to come up with better ways of doing things and living a better life because that’s the ultimate survival.people need to learn to free their minds of things that will make tomorrow worse and i know its not that easy but i urge people to try try try rather than cry cry cry because u never know you can until you try. so if you try today and tomorrow you never know the next day u might actually come up with something that will cheer u up and change your life and others. talk to u soon. try!!!!!

  18. dave Says:

    dreaming is a form of planning

    • Patricio Says:

      I completely agree Dave. Before any action there has to be a dream, a plan a, a vision.

      • J.Guirand Says:

        In a world with constant changes, talk about innovation is reasonable…Innovation is a new way of doing something.Thus, for continent like Africa this simple word have a huge impact.The reality is: to be able to face challenges in Africa, innovations are necessary!…However These innovations have to follow some considerations.Logically, our first consideration is the establishment of a plan.Dave and Patricio are exact on this point.

    • marty Says:

      This is great. Simple. Dream. Where do we really dream. i dream day to day not a night in fact my nights are never enough to collect all the info from my day. But I think we need to write down our dreams, our plans, and will. Otherwise we lose part of it. We need to share it and make it others by changing it to fit the people who you care about.

  19. nick Says:

    Empowering people is clearly the right idea in my mind. However, empowering a select group of people, as the West has done in the past, will gain nothing. Corruption is the deterrent of empowerment, and corruption is prevalent all over Africa. In my opinion, large groups of people need to be empowered in order to prevent corruption and make progress.

  20. Bryan Says:

    A lot of the items on this are basic community organizing principles. I’m looking forward to meshing the business principles with the community orgainizing principles. Great info! Go Big don’t do anything that can’t reach a million people.

  21. Daniel Akeju Says:

    To be an Innovator, you will need to study the Market, if you can find a gap in the market and at the same time find market in the gap you can do well. This will involve condescending to a level unimaginable at times. You need to put yourself in a position of those you want to help just as Amy Smith said.

    If you have never passed through the situation, t will be hard to understand. You need not to imagine what they are passing through but experience it.

  22. John Kilchenman Says:

    Having the funding to create and innovate is equally important as understanding the area and culture of places we wish to improve. “Don’t fight culture”.

  23. Beau Says:

    It is vitally important that we connect with and understand other peoples and cultures. And part of this is truly knowing what life is like for other humans. Empathy and understanding are the key to opening the door. Once the door is open, we may walk through and get to work!

  24. todd beard Says:

    avoiding radicalism while maintaining and increasing simplicity are both key. the simplest solutions, or the simplest music, art, or communication always find the most heart to live in.

  25. saretta Says:

    to be an innovator, you will Think creatively: start big, use constraints as a filter and find the simplest solutions. because if you want to create something really important you must think big and creatively, only then you can find the best ideas

  26. Kevin McG. Says:

    I believe it is important not to overwhelm a society that is attempting to better itself. If a people, any people, be they Sub Saharan Africans or Latin Americans or inner city dwellers are presented with a phone book of things they need to do to improve their lot, their response is likely to range from hostility to apathy. Unless the improvements are seen as manageable with forseeable, tangible benefits in the short run they are not likely to even initiate any new modalities. Let’s keep it simple and doable.

  27. Fredrikka Says:

    These are great rules for all sorts of problems. I’d add “leapfrogging” to the list. Don’t let what exists hold you back; leapfrog over mechanical and technological challenges.

  28. Joseph Peter Says:

    There so many things that is in the environment that ia already a wealth rich source for individuals, like in the areas of farming, the farmers and the individual can make foods production together in combining what they have havested and even proposing such to europe where plants are no more natural but increase of cancer as a result of their technological advance. Bio products is the secret of the europeans wanting to live well in these last days.

  29. bailey and brayton Says:

    i could but it if it s called evokeing thats good but it would be hard because i goo skating evey night and it cost 1 doller and its 1 doller fora drink and i get more money when i get home sooo it will be hard but if it helops ill try me and brayton

  30. mark engle Says:

    I like what you said and I agree. I would add a small criticism. You don’t don’t lower the cost by removing “90%’ of the material” You improve costs by eliminating labor costs. This is basic economics.

  31. jim mcclain Says:

    -Evokeative Innovation in any situation and location, only requires inventiveness where nothing else may exist or be available.
    -Each Evoker’s ability to look at what is in the present, and adapt to meet the needs.
    -Stop overthinking simplicity, and go back to what you know, use your past failures and what you did to succeed.
    -Use other’s around you, not only other Evoker’s, but native peoples along with their cultural heritage, beliefs, and ways of life.
    -Establish a commonality, but remember that if you are the Head Evoker In Charge, that others know.
    -Evoker’s must gain the respect of those under them. This is a humanitarian mission, if not a global survival one, and if an Evoker can’t command respect, they must be able to step aside because the mission is of import, not the person.
    -To that end, eliminate any and all prejudices and misconceptions if possible. Sexual preference, military veteran bias, spirituality beliefs, income, status, etc. have no place in Evokation. We know we may never eliminate those sides of human behavior that fringe on the dark side, but we also know that with what makes us good people, we can make a difference.
    -Warfare is being waged upon civilized countries by others in flooding markets with cheap, hard to recycle items and materials. Countries are also being the recipients of those toss offs as literal continental landfills. Evokers need to look at what is necessary (think about what you do and need before, during, and after a disaster situation) to sustain themselves, and apply lessons learned.
    -Don’t wait for answers to come to you. Don’t wait for funds to arrive. Don’t delay in making a decision. There is no right or wrong, good or bad decision. There are life making and heart breaking ones. But if you don’t take a stand and take action, a future Einstein, Gandhi, or Evoker may never make an impact upon the human race.

  32. Francis DiSivo Says:

    The most important thing is to Share knowledge and skills to continue the innovative process both to and from people and communities. Without proper understanding of the environment, what resources there are and how they can be used, they will constantly be stuck on a technological plateau. If we engage and share our knowledge from surrounding communities, if we learn how they use similar resources and if we combine and teach the following generations of the ways in which things are done then we will expand and create technologies that are both cost effective and efficient. Knowledge base will continue to build and we will eventually be able to find simple solutions, make it inexpensive, Innovate on existing platforms, and reaffirm their culture. All in all the belief is that knowledge is power and the way in which you go about obtaining knowledge and how it is stored in the brain will create new ways in which life can become increasingly positive. With the proper outlook on like (in a positive state on mind) while building knowledge, skills and culture we will be able to over come barriers. regardless of how debilitating they may be.

  33. Ralf Lippold Says:

    Has anybody taken the word “lean” into account? Certainly not, it is just to create better and more value through less use of resources:-)

    Thanks for sharing the thoughts and different perspectives.

    Cheers, Ralf

  34. Stanley Ngulube Says:

    it’s someone who can think out of the box and create something valuable out of nothing,who understands other’s situation and mortivate them through their cultures and embrace market mechanisms, innovate on existing platforms.

  35. Gert Venter Says:

    A motto I live by is: “give a man a fish and for a day he is fed. Teach a man to fish and he is fed for the rest of his life.”

    Education is the key to removing the stain of poverty, famine and violence from Africa. Ethnic differences which have existed for millennia are not suddenly going to vanish with the application of technology or money or for that matter, legislation.

    Africa (if not the world) faces the effects of religious bias and/or political greed. Leaders in Africa (if not the world) are commonly seen as corrupt, greedy and selfish – and by a lot of the evidence available – the majority are.

    Can we enter a discussion without mentioning the golden goose which is so often slaughtered, maimed, raped and left to rot in the intense inferno which is Africa?

    Fear is the tool of dictators and ideology is the sword of the holy men. Hunger is the chains of the warmongers and greed binds them in unity.

    Welcome to Africa!

    But would it not be nice if a man could learn to fish?

    • Scott Baker Says:

      Gert, I must agree with you. The principle of insisting that “your” belief system is right and that everyone would be better off if they owned “your” beliefs is a world issue which we, as a global society, need to address and focus upon.

      Are we Urgent Evoke players deluding ourselves that all our efforts to make lives better across the world is really serving of service? How is true when the belief systems or by which we and they choose to live, end up in sons and daughters going to war to kill, rape and torture? Are we helping to build better societies or just more soliders, gangs, druglords and victims?

      Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love what UE is doing and I am proponent of it. The impact it will continue to make on the global concsiousness is amazing. And the elephant in the room is that our belief systems, all of our belief systems, need to change if we want everyone to have a common sustainable standard of living.

      So my questions to the fellow Evokers are “What is the global vision that we believe we want to create?” How will we know that we have achieved this epic quest?”

  36. Sholpan Tursynbayeva Says:

    Provide skills, not just finished technologies.
    I agree with this statement. It is common in most developing countries that technology is not developed, but imported from other developed countries. Unfortunately, some state leaders do not look at long term perspective and just import the things required or consumed. Ultimately, we can see lot of money going out, but not coming in. Indeed, it is not possible to develop all fields, but at least they should try to use their own resources, learn skills necessary to produce that product or technology. Exporting raw materials should be stopped and country rather should acquire technology and turn these raw materials to ready made products.

  37. Carl Jean Louis Says:

    You should think smart and don’t think the problem as in your eyes but as in the eyes of the people experiencing it.

  38. muriel o'dowd Says:

    I read a few posts regarding this already and I do feel it is the important part of long lasting innovation: making things reproducible. The idea is that a community will be able to take an innovative idea and build upon it even if the person or people that created it are gone. In order to do this one must not only make something cheap but also easy to understand and to make. Plus, any good idea can only be made better if mechanisms are created to get other people’s ideas involved. Good innovation requires collaboration.

  39. Mike Hickman Says:

    I have lived and worked in Gabon (West Africa) in a remote jungle area for over one year. Because the area was so remote it takes a six hour up river boat ride to get there. What I saw were people being very innovative all along the river banks during the ride. They were able to take the smallest discarded items (wood, metal, bottles, plastic & basic junk) and turn it into homes and tools to eek out a living with. What they needed was only to have the junk arrive along the banks of the river for them use. This was then not considered stealing from anyone as no one was there to claim it.
    Perhaps one man’s junk is truely, another man’s treasure.
    Perhaps then just supplying free junk would be a simple way of allowing them to innovative and getting ahead.
    These people are not dumb, they just alittle help getting ahead.

  40. kyle veldhouse Says:

    “work to practical, three year plans”
    what’s also embedded in this is the idea of helping people help themselves. free handouts don’t help anybody. I’m sponsoring a child in Mozambique with my church small group(i hope to visit someday). The reason i like the idea is that my church hopes to be completely out in 10 years. It’s not three years, but the missionaries aren’t there forever or there to just give resources. They are there to educate and teach skills, not just to hand out money and make meals.

  41. Shar Govindan Says:

    Communication is Key. We can Evoke the entire power of this developing nation if they are able to communicate in a common language that most others willing to “Evoke” understand – or even better – the Evoker should spend sometime in learning the local language. Do not tell them what they need, ask them whats important to them, what skills would be more useful and how they would prioritize it. Anything that would save them time, effort, money, keep them healthy, clean and comfortable will go a long way.

  42. Endriu Says:

    “5. think like a child – children have no limit to their thinking”

    Children are our (and their) future. We have to educate them to respect others people and others ideas.

  43. Kelly Says:

    Collaborate to leverage assets, access and experience.

  44. Andrija Says:

    see and do the obvious… that statement is the core of innovation. Innovation comes to be with intent and can only be realized when something not yet seen as an organized structure trough interaction of known pieces becomes known as a practical organized structure. Without the ability to see the obvious and act upon it, there would be no innovation and thus progress.

  45. Lori Shyba Says:

    Having what matters more than what you lack has ramifications in the social networking work and in the real world. Having dear, reliable friends in Facebook and, maybe, in Evolve means more than the 600 friends that I lack compared with my colleague. In the real world, this translates to the snowshoes I own compared to my neighbours’ ATVs. I’d sure like to Tag this Learn 1. Maybe on the next screen?

  46. sundheep Says:

    Create “transparent” technologies, ones that are easily understood by the users, and promote local innovation.

  47. CJ Says:

    See the problem from all possible angles. Embrace the culture and experience it from the perspective of those affected. Teach and educate at every opptunity, and learn from every experience.

  48. Amanda Smiith Says:

    I really find the list interesting…especially the parts about experiencing the way people live instead of just imagining it.

  49. Dheeraj Says:

    See the world for what it is and look for obvious solutions to various problems. It sounds easy but since most of us are trained and programmed to think in a complex manner, we tend to miss out on the obvious.

  50. Machipyane Pheladi Says:

    It’s about knowing your community, their needs and the structures of upliftment they are in need of.Whether socially,financially and emotionally.It’s about stepping down and coming to other people’s level, to give them hope where there’s no hope and help them reach for their goals and aspirations.

  51. A. Simon Says:

    yea, I agree with most of the theory and knowledge you are showing here…but I keep wondering if the approach we “the problem solvers” are having is appropiate. Lets say that many of the problems in Africa originate in a total disruption of the traditional ways of living. I have a feeling that most of the theories at hand would work with what we consider urban or rural poor people (still a part of western society) but it usually have no good results with empoverished indigenous people. I tend to believe that many of our african brothers are indigenous people trapped between expandng islands of western civilization. Besides the obvious survival it hits me that they might want to be left alone to live as they always have done without borders, missionaires, etc.
    The question is obvious: How to do it? And what mechanisms and negotiations between countries in Africa are necessry to make it happen.
    It could be an African Federation project sponsored by the whole world as the first World Park where nature, animals and indigenous people can live with minimum contact with the civilized world. hey, ! there´s an idea! …

  52. Casper Says:

    I think economic sustainability is the most important thing. It provides peope with with much needed freedom not only in financial terms but also control decisions in many other aspects of life be it health, education, nutrition etc…In collective terms this translates into overall economic development of the society which in turn provides for incerased opportunities for the people!

  53. Adebayo Oyeniyi Says:

    What happens in an environment riddled with corruption. Double your efforts and never give up until change comes along

  54. Adebayo Oyeniyi Says:

    What happens in an environment riddled with corruption. Double your efforts and never give up until change comes along (Learn 1)

  55. MixedRealities :: Changing the world by playing which games? Says:

    [...] investigate what it means to be a social innovator, and a number of possibilities are mentioned in this exhibit. One I particularly like: Innovate on existing platforms (We’ve got bicycles and mobile phones in [...]

  56. Laura Hedlund Says:

    See and do the obvious. I read a old Buddhist quote ten minutes ago from my favorite musician Padma about a man who after he ate his fill from a fruit tree broke one of the fruit tree’s branches. the spirit of the tree thought.. How could one be so evil? Our entire species is like that man.

    It is difficult to look at the environmental destruction we are causing.

  57. sara Says:

    innovazione in Africa e Argomentazione assai complessa, non credo dipenda Dalla Mancanza di risorse economiche, forse più Dalla poca Conoscenza di come usarle Quindi che credo dar Progresso il Potrebbe Loro aiuto, però bisognerebbe riuscire a farlo senza Distruggere Quella Che è la Loro cultura.Aiutare qualcuno non credo significhi credere in uno convincerlo Quello in CUI Crediamo noi.Sicuramente sono d’accordo con le scuole, il coraggio Loro Informazione e metterli Nella posizione di Comprendere il problema e Studiare Quindi la Soluzione

  58. Allesia Says:

    i think a social innovator is a leader they take charge and don’t want for some one to tell them what to do but rather go out there and do it them selves.

  59. jordan Says:

    an innovator is some one who does thing and makes new thing not wanting for some else to do first

  60. Yan Yu Says:

    think like a child – children have no limit to their thinking

  61. gmoke Says:

    What Ethan Zuckerman says about the limitations of solar cookers is true but….
    If people stir their stews and thus can’t really use solar cookers (I’m not sure he’s actually confirmed this suspicion in reality), they can still use them to bake potatoes or cook plain rice, neither of which require stirring. Solar cookers can also be used to boil water.

    According to what I’ve seen from how people use simple solar cookers in African refugee camps, solar cookers are used in conjunction with hotboxes, an insulated container into which the solar-heated pot is put to keep on cooking. You can see the process at

    The hotbox is an old technology, a traditional technology that was used by American settlers and European natives probably for centuries. It adapts very well to solar cookers.

    All my 30 years of experience with small-scale solar is available in video form at
    http://solarray.blogspot.com/2009/09/simple-solar-parts-1-2-and-3.html
    http://solarray.blogspot.com/2009/12/simple-solar-parts-4-through-8.html

    • Erik Says:

      I believe the message here was “Don’t fight culture” where solar cookers are used as an example with less importance as to whether solar cookers are a feesible alternative to stirring.
      A more blatant example would be to not suggest hamburgers as a solution to protein deficiencies in India…

  62. Jose Ramirez Says:

    “stay positive – don’t be distracted by what other people think (if there
    were a need for it, the market would have already created it)”

    This is a great quote. Definitely motivates me in continuing my passion for film and creating things that I love to do. As an agent for evoke this will also help with my contributions in helping the world when I complete missions with my fellow friends on this new cool site.

  63. Jonathan Says:

    The idea of starting small and with things you have is probably the most integral part of any humanitarian regime or plan. The ultimate feat is to create something out of nothing and we always being with nothing, that is something we are never depleted of. We cant help on any type of level if there is no innovation and the rules or ethics(somewhat) that were mentioned on top reinforce that. I am trying to help out with health and fitness right now and another one of the hints that stuck out to me was the idea of experiencing constraint and almost destitute ideals before you try and help the world. Basically, how can you help to your full capacity unless you truely understand what its like to deal with your issue?

  64. Patricio Says:

    We in the rest of the World have so much to learn from Africa, so much more than we could ever try to teach. Let´s open our eyes, ears, hearts and minds to this fascinating continent.

  65. Laura Dawson Says:

    Interestingly enough, my daughter spent two years with the Peace Corps teaching in South Africa and while some things may be passed down through the generations, her experiences will not be. I can only hope to gain understanding through my own time spent.
    My application to serve as the Sr. Health Advisor for Nigeria brought my own lack of onsite experience home for me. I was asked to share my methods to address the Under 5 Mortality Rate, and the Maternal Mortality Rates, both of which are exceptionally high in Nigeria. With a strong desire to make a difference and a belief that I can, I wrote a document with child-like simplicity in which cleaner food preparation standards may be added, clothing items to sustain the physical stresses that insect and heat bother the local populations, and nutritional education in the form of simple visible signs that are reflected on the tongue may be taught to local residences of the areas in need, even if that meant using a web camera and a laptop at some cybersite.
    While no word on my document has been returned to me by USAID, it is my hope that there will be a recognition that HIV/AIDS, may be addressed by fulfilling nutritional needs, not through treatment as a disease to be erraticated. Affecting physical behavior patterns that may respond to foods chosen, stored, and prepared.
    In other words, a primary change in attitude to encourge better nutritional knownledge and choices, rather than the repeated use of a pharmaceutical to treat symptoms that are misunderstood and feared.
    Be In Good Health.

  66. Laura Dawson Says:

    Innovation (often) comes from constraint (If you’ve got very few resources, you’re forced to be very creative in using and reusing them.)

    In my earlier blog, I failed to mention that I was addressing Ethan’s item #1. It is my firm belief that when you take a new view of a problem, another solution will reveal itself. Thus the use of a new and different model to treat disease/s. Nutritonal education that is innovative, simple and profound.
    Be In Good Health.

  67. joe livecchi Says:

    I think true innovation that will stick with a very broad audience has to take into account one simple fact. We all want to be authors and feel ownership in our lives. We all need to feel heard and that our contribution matters. An innovation that factors in and celebrates the end users contribution has a better shot at being embraced.

  68. Gray Matters Says:

    Understanding by being involved is critical to innovating. The solution has to be obvious to the people with the problem. To sustain an innovation everyone has to learn by doing.
    Learn1

    • dpad Says:

      true, you do have to learn by doing. another’s experience can never be yours.

      but one cannot give solutions to problems he has not

      so saying that i could solve a problem, that i don’t have, for someone else is limiting to my own experience

  69. John Terrenzio Says:

    Thinking differently, gaining true knowledge and understanding of problems and their impact on people, and creating solutions with resources you have, are all very important ideas. I believe that one of the most important things is to consider what would BEST in the current situation. Often, the thing that is best is possible, especially if it is well defined and clear to all. However, it is very unlikely that the best thing will occur if it has not been described and communicated clearly.

  70. lina Says:

    “What you have matters more than what you lack” – i think that is very important since most time we tend to focus on what we lack. A social innovator should start with whatever he has and get moving!!

  71. Stephen.N. Kadzirange Says:

    Empathy! Make things simple and enter the society. You have to face the challenges a society from inside. You have to face the real decision scenarios a society is exposed to together with the resource limitations. From that position of ‘inside-outside’ one hopefully would generate alternatives that will evolve into a viable long term answer!

  72. NGBlog » Blog Archive » Necessity … Says:

    [...] part of my first “mission”, I just finished reading the blog post at Design in Africa which dealt with the issue of how to innovate in a country where resources and financing are [...]

  73. Alessandra Says:

    as patricio and dave I think
    dream, dream and dream
    vision for a change

  74. john patrick Says:

    i tried to calculate how much i spend in a day and it came to 30 for everything, 2 dollars it would take some strong will power.

  75. Johnny G Says:

    Really liked the lists. Listen to the right people is a powerful theme. There is so much dealing in African stereotypes, more, it seems, than happens in other world areas and I wonder whether failing to identify the right people can be a problem because of this. Paul’s advice, to talk to the people who have the problem but to think like a child, is presumably in part to distance oneself from those immediately affected and to think innovatively without a script so finding the ‘really’ right people on the ground needs to be followed by some collaboration with people very much not on the ground.

  76. Carter Small Says:

    Keep Working from your customers, would be my favorite tip. Your customers are just as smart as the innovator because every human on this earth has something to give and smething to offer.

  77. Tom Taber Says:

    Very informative. Now I want a problem to apply this to.

  78. Jay Says:

    I just finished reading my first mission and I really believe that we have to start innovating Africa from the basic structure to a very complex structure.
    we can really start by doing simple things to help innovate Africa, like donate money to charities that are involved with improving Africa and we can also help Africa by providing education to children, because they are the future and once they will be educated, they will give back to their country, community etc. Education will solve many problems in Africa even AIDS and HIV.

  79. gNorrie Says:

    Truly experiencing a problem in person is often more efficient (though not as comfortable) in gathering information, background, data, or ‘a feel’ for what is actually going on than is viewing from afar. The completeness of the actual experience gives more clues and insight into a problem than our ordinary 5 or 6 senses would. A thirsty village may need a delivery of some drinking water and some spare pump parts, or a filtration set, or well drilling equipment, or irrigation pipes, or a group of arbiters, a supply of urns. All these Could quench a village’s thirst, but the most appropriate Will solve the problem. Otherwise I say think, understand, and be as real as you can be. Think in more than one or two dimensions. Synergy can be your friend.

  80. Paula M Says:

    Peripheral Vision – noticing existing conditions and staying aware of affects and changes created and occuring due to introduction of new ideas and approaches. Are things going as expected?

  81. Ryan Renner Says:

    Peripheral vision; keep a look out for other challenges or new solutions all the time.
    Even with good solutions, you can develop problems. Most of the challenges we have today were caused by what was considered good design in the past.

    Identifying what hides in your Peripheral vision, can help you avoid problems for the next generation.

    For example, if husks are traditionally left in fields, and degraded biomass helps build good soil, what happens if we burn [rice] husks for energy?

  82. Ram Says:

    I think the religion is another thing. Then people should not be forced to change their religion. Let them stay the way they are. This way you become more like a close friend and they will accept the help you provide.

  83. Enoch Says:

    Its quite true. The one thing one should not over look is the necessity of some things. You can shave off all the unnecessary things in your day-to-day dealings with things. The mentality that all I have is today and tomorrow will see for itself, should fall away, fine everyday has its provision, but its not a bad thing to prepare yourself.

  84. Nina Says:

    Think like a child – children have no limit to their thinking.
    The moust important thing , wich many people tend to forget very often…
    May be that the crucial thing for all systems lies in a finding the CAUSE of these or any else problems.
    In African countries , have never been , but it looks like lack of motivation ,inspiration an hummanity, basic things . Needs for focusing on that issues too. Also, developeing body and mind awakening, takeing the community consience on a much higher level.
    Seeing and understanding how people there funkcionate in their everyday life , and realize how to make moust of it . Maybe useing things properly are the best changes.

  85. Arthur Says:

    I belive funding and some groups that care and some innovative thinkers could realy make a diference

  86. Jaco Says:

    To me innovation is the practical application of creativity leading to a permanent change, through the discovery and creation of a new knoledge, process or product.
    It all starts with an idea, weather this idea comes from devine insperation, determinism, serendipity, a learning prosess or just plain old luck the most important thing is to KEEP MOVING FORWARD with it. So many today simply keep good ideas to themself and let them go to waist, I find it moastly because of bad timing, lack of knowledge, no funding and even sometimes bad teams or resources.
    (This whole idea is great, IT WE DONT INNOVATE WE WILL STAGNATE AND DISINTERGRADE…)

    Godspeed

  87. Luka Says:

    I think that the problem lies in the mindset of the people of Africa. If you look other great civilizations of the world, they reached certain point in time and collapsed. That is maybe why african people just cant cope with certain problems because they have reached some point and stoped there. The development of the world, as we know it (known, writen history), begun (every time) from certain “centers” of the world, certain nations or civilizations. We can see that trough industrial revolution in europe, or rise of mathematical knowledge in old Arabian world, or phylosophical thought in ancient Greece. Te school example is when you provide fundings for certain things in some village in africa (not in the developed countries of africa) you can buy something for the people that can improove thay day-to day life in certain aspects but the trash and the sewage will be on streets again. So my idea is to try to force people to accept the modern heritage in they own pase. I think of a retional thinking about medicine as helping device for an example. People still dont understand the importance of preventing the spreding of the HIV virus, thay will always choose ritual “actions” in order not to insult the Gods, in the same time, by doing this, they are already doomed by these same Gods. Solution for countless problem of africa (in general) is in education, and building the awerenes ( in the heads of people) of the outside world and goals they might reach if they are ofered a chance. So the other thing is money. Even certain countries on european continent which have a long history of education cannot cope with arousing problems of the preset an future and thay need “support” from the welthy centers of europe like Brussels.
    In conclusion, welthy and developed countries of Africa could try to make such a union and try to help and support neighbouring countries, by sharing knowledge, investing in infrastructure and production.
    God bless africa, and the african people !!

  88. Zesuliwe Says:

    You dnt have to worry about what gonna happen tomorrow. What you have is what you got. You can build from what you have not what you don’t have.

  89. Urgent EVOKE: Agent Ninmah is Born – Ninmah Meets World Says:

    [...] objectives are categorized as learn, act, and imagine; the “learn” one was to read an outside blog post (the hits for that page must be off the charts) that collected insights about social change, pick [...]

  90. Bby_Pete Says:

    Work with what is available with a limited area, create a solution for a desperate need and involve the local populace to sustain the solution.

  91. Jessi Hilger Says:

    “Provide skills, not just finished technologies.”

    “If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime;” working with a community to identify a problem, working together to create a viable, acceptable and resuable solution, and ensuring that the community understands how to use the innovation and can teach others how to operate the tool or idea developed is the key to creating a sustainable and growing community. Developing the idea/tool in a laboratory, or other arena, where you disengage the community in need and present the item/idea to the community, and continually giving the item/idea without requiring anyone in the community to actually learn and understand the purpose of the tool will cause the innovation to be short-lived and leave the community short-changed when the tool is no longer provided or when no one else exists to teach how to use the tool. Nothing is more reusable and resourceful than knowledge, especially when shared and used for a common purpose.

  92. Evoke, Mission 1: Listening to the right people. « Created Otherwise Says:

    [...] Exhibit A. There are 33 secrets of social innovation in this [...]

  93. Daniel Says:

    I believe the nature of the problem for all inovative needs, lies in unbridled and unpolitical education. Let us not kid ourselves, funding comes from real people with money, and real people with money like good reasons to spend. Innovation is driven by necessity, but once again, innovation and technology cannot be used in the same sentence with out BIG BUCKS to build the technology. All this nonsense needs to be cleared up. Innovation is not the concern, innovation is a biproduct of and only of DESIRE. Without true desire, one can never innovate. Now…DESIRE is FREE, and leads to innovation inevitably, and truly good innovation can only be attained through education or necessity. So here is the simple road mad to building a truly self innovating environment.
    1. Desire (The Seed)
    2. Imagination (Envision what the Tree could be)
    3. Education (Find out what makes that Tree grow best)
    4. Innovation (Now you have a Tree, whatchya gonna do with it?)
    5. Experimentation (Making this Tree better than it was)
    6. Implementation (Do it again, and again and again till you have a forrest)

    Without these setps as your road map to truly innovative ideas,…the funding will NEVER COME. You can only grow a tree if you water the seed, No Seed…No Tree!

    We cannot teach Desire, but we can Teach with will impell Desire inherently.

  94. Christian McCrea Says:

    One great thing we can do in the West is “see the obvious” – and look closer to home for the forces that harm Africa. Who is debt gouging them? Who is profiteering off cheap labour? These questions will provide excellent answers for us to respond and really make a difference.

  95. Kos Demojen Says:

    There are a thousand ways to talk about it and only one way to do it. Actions speak louder than words.

    Contact innovative think tanks in the west to test the social impact of new inventions in cultures over-saturated with out dated technology and change the focus of a nation from war and survival to innovation, in awe of science with hope for a future profit outside of economic slavery.

    Africans are not stupid. They are incredibly hard working people and very proud.

    Petition Dean Kamen to introduce the slip stream water filtration system using the same economic model for the power generator he helped invent into Africa and feed two needs with one meal. Water and economic turmoil.

  96. Niraj Prasad Koirala Says:

    There is one saying in Nepal and that is“Idea comes where there is wish“.So firstly to be an innovator ,we should wish the new things.Wishing of new things arise only when there is scarcity of rtesources.So scarcity of resources leads to a social invention provided the members of society are skilled.

  97. Freddy Melamed Says:

    Provide skills.
    Basic premise is education. Education empowers people to self improve at minimal cost. It can be broadcast as text messages, via cell phone, spread through the internet, and create a service industry to improve the quality of life of millions.
    The important factor here is to educate children and adults concurrently. False beliefs and bad habits need to be corrected. Education in basic hygene, followed by improvement of nutrition are crucial to be able to satisfy the goals of this project.
    This would then be followed by encouragement of the society and the youth of the community to strive for higher goals. This would be achieved by teaching basic management skills, ie setting goals, evaluating the needs to achieve said goals, and proceeding with the help of others to achieve these goals.

  98. Pride Fannie Says:

    Experiencing situations or conditions of a society is what makes a good innovator.

  99. gviewpro Says:

    Most of the hints apply to all environments, if you are creative.
    I think there is no such thing as looking & talking down. When I lived with the poor
    I was in awe about their survival skills. You must be smart to survive being poor.
    They were teaching me a lot of profound lessons about life. They have empowered me.

    • dpad Says:

      i like the profile

      i know the sun’s a renewable source of energy, but solar panels don’t cut it for the kind of energy society will need.

      even if we were to think of solar panels in space, we’d need to keep them far enough away from our planet so that they won’t cause any environmental damage. why not just build them in space and launch them at an angle from the sun so that they become “trash” floating in space in orbit around the sun. we’d have to be able to transmit usable energy from those planets to earth without using much energy ourselves…think Tesla had something like that with a remote control boat where the controller transmitted the energy to the boat.

  100. D.Gamboa Says:

    Helping is the best thing you can do when your poor or rich because when you give, give, and give some more. Eventually life will take its toll and something great will happen because when a life is led by optimism life almost seems peaceful. Life is ever turning and if we love the fact that we have a life. We can change anything together rather than mono.

  101. Heather Eaton Says:

    “design for measurable improvement in the lives of more than a million people”

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

    ~Marianne Williamson

    These words are very powerful. This quote has great meaning to me in a time where I see a family member going through recovery to regain her fears and inadequacies. The struggles we face as human beings begin to over take our every thought, action, and movement. In order to create our framework of possibility we must move forward to change our perspective. The downward spiral that overcomes us all on a daily basis can cause defeat. This is when we must pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and charge on.

    Everyday I see countless numbers of students being overtaken with the perspective of defeat. They come from broken homes, gang infested neighborhoods, peer pressure, poverty, teen pregnancy, and so many other perils. This becomes disheartening. Just like Martian Luther King finding a way to awaken their underlying desire becomes more and more difficult. As teachers, we are now asked to not only teach the three R’s but also offer assistance in counseling, friendship, parenting, etc. This takes a toll on all involved.

    I am so very passionate about making a difference in the lives of others, although I feel so stuck in quicksand as I watch the lives of students be overtaken with pessimism and apathy. How can we regain control in a world so lost? We must reignite the fire that shows students their dreams do make a difference and if they can dream it they can live it. The chapters throughout The Art of Possibility have definitely given me a new hope in the dismal situations that I face on a daily basis. I want to empower my students to live life to the fullest and to embrace each day as if it were the last.

    Pictures from personal Library of Heather Eaton

    Zander, R. & Zander, B. (2000). The art of possibility: Transforming personal and

    professional life. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

  102. David Nwedu Says:

    Innovation in Africa works when we plan from the corn field not the Ivory towers. The more practical we get by being on the scene the more we are able to get to the roots of the problem and add to development. You can never tell what it means to stay 24hours without electricity until you live in Africa.

  103. Ruben Says:

    There is a simple solution to every problem, you just have to step back, take a minute and think about the root of the bigger problem and start there. If you knock a problem at it’s source, the problem will work itself out. So basically, when life hands you lemons..make lemonade.

  104. Nangar Soomro Says:

    Innovation is a RISK….. Higher the Risk Higher is the profit and Higher the Innovation higher is the prosperity. Innovation always grow out from the ideas/thinking not tried before due the fear of failure and rejection. So all we have to take risk and innovate the new ways of living in this dynamic world.

  105. LeeB Says:

    Understanding the issues is the most important concept in social innovation. This is through educating ones self in the various areas needed to solve any problem. We often, as societies, focus on problems that are only systematic from the root problem. We look for band-aid solutions; never really solving the true problems. Social innovation means that we look at the problems carefully by understanding the culture, the environment, the government, and the economic/social structures of a society. We often make judgments based upon what we think we know or have heard from the media. This is not an educated opinion or knowledge. So to be a social innovator, you must be educated and do the work required to make sound decisions. We cannot easily apply what is done in one country to another because this is what we know to be “correct”. It may not fit for another society or country due to the vast differences in culture, government, and economic structures. It takes serious work in understanding the issues and solutions needed to make change.

  106. Bubba & Sis Says:

    Amy Smith’s #5: More importantly than “inexpensive” is affordable in the indigenous society. “Inexpensive” to U.S.’ers may be quite out of reach in another society. So, affordable.

  107. Dr.Sreyash Satpathy Says:

    In this dynamic situation ,innovation based on rocket science is not going to be successful. Rather we need to be a part of the “bottom of the pyramid” to experience the pangs of poverty and illiteracy. Innovations to curtail or replace social evils such as child labour, child marriage, impoverishment of girl child , gender inequality will go a long way in improving the quality of life in the rural parts of the world and will also help to alleviate poverty. For instance in order to improve illiteracy, a small innovation can be to start neighbourhood schools which can impart elementary education to the economically challenged strata of society

  108. Dr.Sreyash Satpathy Says:

    In this dynamic situation ,innovation based on rocket science is not going to be successful. Rather we need to be a part of the “bottom of the pyramid” to experience the pangs of poverty and illiteracy. Innovations to curtail or replace social evils such as child labour, child marriage, impoverishment of girl child , gender inequality will go a long way in improving the quality of life in the rural parts of the world and will also help to alleviate poverty. For instance in order to improve illiteracy, a small innovation can be to start neighbourhood schools which can impart elementary education to the economically challenged strata of society

  109. @SCaldwell Says:

    Great, great list. Lest we not forget building the leadership from within. We are there for crisis management through social innovation. But the key to sustainability is building the people power from within that community. ENGAGE STAKEHOLDERS DIFFERENTLY. Never assume we are the silver bullet to all their problems.

  110. terry Says:

    1. observe
    2. listen
    3. understand what is already available
    4. with resources on hand, try to improve

  111. Akinyi Adongo Says:

    Lest we forget Africa has been innovative is its own way for centuries, adapting to the environment encountered… We may not have created hi-tech gadgets yet, but a time is coming when the African geniuses will have their moment to dazzle the world with simple, life changing concepts (I believe this has already began, though the world may not realize it yet!)

  112. baldhead Says:

    I believe with the many who have stated it is in the building of relationships that truly sustainable systems are created. When we meet new people in their environment and listen to them to learn and, then are able to work alongside them combining our different ideas to build new solutions to persistent problems. It is not about taking our solutions to a new place. Let’s see where this leads and how we can lead it. It is a delicate balance.

  113. Anthony Draper Says:

    I believe too many people are too sceptical about the whole idea. We can’t forget about them, and they depend on people like us! We must help them.

    • Sonny Says:

      How do you define help — and who is sceptical about what idea. I believe people in Africa are in general much more open minded than people in the Western countries because the younger generations know how to identify an opportunity to thrive, when they get one.

  114. Holly Says:

    “What you have matters more than what you lack” we live in a society where we are constantly comparing oursleves to others and we feel that we lack. this attitude only strenghtens peoples insecurities and people have a feel sorry for me attitude which will not result in any growth therefore important for a social innovator to be creative.

  115. Jeff Brain Says:

    Perseverance in the face of change is what I see as the sum of these parts. Sustainability through relationships, particularly if one approaches the relationship with a mindset of listening and learning rather than telling and overwhelming.

    Solutions are only workable in an environment like Africa if they are flexible and simple. The volatile economic, social and physical environments demand simplicity in solutions and elegant flexibility for adaptation.

  116. Gloria Says:

    changing yourself will in turn change the world. Don’t be a follower becouse you’ll never see your true potential. your future is in your own hands only you have the keys to drive it.

  117. Shei Derek Says:

    Problems are not always obvious from afar. it is therefore fo this reason that i believe after living in Africa that for development to come there must be peace and security first and this peace can only be lasting when we stop fighting against wars and concentrate on building peace especially in the minds of innocent children. this will enable them grow with this idea and admire and cherish peace and hate violence naturally and develoment will flow. This is my vision for Africa from Cameroon

  118. makoun Says:

    hey it was very inspirational to read such kind oof words

  119. John Habonimana Says:

    I agree that innovation often comes from constraints. BUT why we in sub sahara Africa are still living and dying in poverty. Constraints are everywhere in Africa. My opinion is that back during colonial period, we lost our creativity and the spirit of taking initiative. Solutions? We need to get skills not only ready made technologies and above all, find ways to stop development aid. YES.

  120. Grant Says:

    Innovation (often) comes from constraint (If you’ve got very few resources, you’re forced to be very creative in using and reusing them.) I think this help me change the world. I can’t speak for anybody-else but for me personally when I am under pressure or I have a dead-line that is when my creative juices flow at their peak level.

    Another quote that could help in changing the world is “Don’t fight culture (If people cook by stirring their stews, they’re not going to use a solar oven, no matter what you do to market it. Make them a better stove instead.)” This is true in my opinion because there will always be people who are either afraid of technology or are not exposed to it due to financial constraint or their geographical location. From personal experience a few years ago my mom had a problem with her feet so my brother’s and I bought her a foot spa to this very day she has probably only used it 3 times she will rather walk with the pain or get a massage.

  121. Julie Maurer Says:

    I am inspired by and adament about Paul Polak’s point– “talk to the people who have the problem – and LISTEN to what they have to say.” The “best solution” is worthless if does not bring the Users closer toward Their needs and desires. Let’s not impose our values and ideals indiscriminately on others.

  122. Julie Maurer Says:

    I am inspired by and adamant about Paul Polak’s point– “talk to the people who have the problem – and LISTEN to what they have to say.” The “best solution” is worthless if does not bring the Users closer toward Their needs and desires. Let’s not impose our values and ideals indiscriminately on others.

    • Arturs Kadeks Says:

      completely agree on your point of view. Key is understanding of problem. When you are able understand what is needed to make feel them better, only then you can realy give best “solution” on their “problem” which has to be “fixed”.

  123. Juriaan Says:

    6.What you have matters more than what you lack (If you’ve got a bicycle, consider what you can build based on that, rather than worrying about not having a car, a truck, a metal shop.)

    This is most true in africa, intermediate tech should be used wherever possible.
    Look around at available resources, there is usually more one can use than you think.

    Creativity, entrepreneurship and a sound understanding of the enviroment is key!

  124. Sandeep Says:

    I like the way Ethan has summed up in “Innovations from Constraints”. Most of the times its the constraints that drives you to think out of box and arrive at solutions that could be simple and yet effective

  125. kmclovindcock Says:

    my favorite thing about this is that i really appreciate the fact that it says dont fight culture. since i live in a small home with 14 brothers and a set of septuplets as sisters, i like to live the way that is most suiting/comforatable for me.

  126. Delrani Says:

    Simplicity is key to being able to be used in many ways. Keeping things cheap means more can use it. Yes Juriaan, I think Resourcefulness is Creativity.

    • Laura Dawson Says:

      Yes, Delrani and Juriaan,
      I too, think Resourcefulness is Creativity. Refashioning and retooling ideas can provide inexpensive and practical change.
      Be In Good Health.

  127. Andre Says:

    Doing things to help other better their community and way of life involves many solutions. Ones who do welcome new ideas faster tend are opposed most time by ones who are scared of change. We should do our best to of set that fear and help wecome new ideas to the community.

  128. rt Says:

    1. Understand by observing the environment, infrastructure, culture and lives of people by being there.

    This is always the first and most important step. Understand before acting.

  129. Wendy Taylor Says:

    Understanding:
    I don’t think there can be too much importance put on the concept of understanding.
    There have been many times when developed countries have attempted to help the developing world and ended up creating suffering. It is important to fully understand what went wrong in those cases in order to craft successful interventions. There seem to be two major failures in understanding common to many of these unintentional disasters.
    First, there is the failure to understand the problem from a cultural perspective. The developed world values infrastructure. We cannot understand how a community without electricity and cars could be healthy, but all too often infrastructure comes at a very high human cost. It is important to listen carefully and look closely at the people we wish to help. We must let the people we seek to help define the problems. We also must always asses the success of interventions not simply through facts and figures but also through the reported experiences of the people.
    Second, in many cases there was a failure to fully consider the full range of people that would be affected. We should always ask ourselves who will be affected by the intervention. When we ask this question, the answer is sometimes surprising. A bridge built in one community may have far reaching consequences for those living down river. Every intervention will have a different foot print.
    There is simply no one single activity of understanding. As problems are defined, interventions dreamed up, and action taken there must be a continually evolving process of understanding.

    • Laura Dawson Says:

      “There is simply no one single activity of understanding. As problems are defined, interventions dreamed up, and action taken there must be a continually evolving process of understanding.” Wendy, your final statement say it all. Change is never without consequences. The skill with which these consequences are considered when implementing action to change, is key to enhancing quality of life for the maximum number of people.

  130. Ammon Says:

    Try living on two dollars a day… key word “try” most people would probably “try” but fail, not because they cant do it but because they see it as an impossibility, however there are millions of people who dont have that choice. To actually hold yourself to that standard of 2 dollars a day, making that choice would give you no choice but to get some idea of how these people live and maybe a spark that fire of empathy in your heart to do something to make a difference.

  131. Chris Says:

    This was a really excellent list — very inspirational and immediately useful. Thank you.

  132. Justin Raddatz Says:

    Transparency in new technologies is so meaningful to development and redevelopment. But before we can expect transparency, we must work on building a sense of community. In the US, so many people are self-interested and are encouraged to horde new ideas so that they can leverage the benefit for them, personally. This mentality does not only prohibit new ideas from expanding to their full potential, but it also breeds more greed.

    The true innovation needed is an innovation of our own attitudes towards others.

  133. callaghan Says:

    wow this is really useful thanks a lot

  134. HENRY Says:

    WOW!!!!!!

  135. David Says:

    I think, the first step should be, get the idea in to our heads, we dont really think that “I” can change the world, that “I” can make a gigant potatoe that can feed them, or a revolutionary industrie that need to employ them, we should first change the way that we thing for let our minds get that creativity that it’s necessary for make it. second but when we are really believe on it, start with the observation and the learning for make the objectives of the real help that they need, and finally dont expect that the whole super idea come just from us, let everyone knows and help, and make and feel it, and then the solution of whatever situation will be solved.

  136. Michael Brito Says:

    Looking for solutions strategically seeing things from a cultural perspective, using the resources at hand , and from the users, customers POV is the best advice, that can be given.

  137. Kenneth Says:

    This is really useful information that can be important to implement into your daily lives.

  138. koye Says:

    Infrastructure can beget infrastructure (By building mobile phone infrastructure, we may be building power infrastructure for Africa.). The spread of mobile telecoms has made a great impact on emerging economies. Local traders are now able to conduct business more easily and efficiently avoiding time that would ordinarily be wasted commuting from one place to pass a message across. Farmers and fishermen now have the capacity to call local markets to find out where they will get the best prices for their produce. Other blue-collar micro-entrepreneurs such as carpenters and plumbers can now advertise their services leaving a phone number for potential clients to reach them on. On a micro economic scale, mobile phones can be linked to personal income and economic development. Furthermore, investment from foreign telecoms companies and private investors injects money into the economy and help improve infrastructure. Indirect effects of foreign investment include more confidence in the country’s stock exchange and more trust in the country’s currency. I believe Value Added Services is the next frontier in the African telecoms industry in the near future.

  139. Libby Says:

    “if somebody already invented it, you don’t have to”

    This holds true for so many of us. With the pressure to get ahead, be the first, be the best, etc people often are recreating work that someone else has already completed. If communities collaborate and use each other as resources instead of competitors, we can stop reinventing what another has already invented and focus on the real issues that face us.

    • Yeh Makebe Elvis Says:

      Hello,
      Libby i strictly agree with your idea.I think if the people of the world could see themselves as one,coming from one man and woman whom God created,we would never have had the present world crises we are having today.This is because everyone would see the other as part of the one man and woman God created and would seek for common interests.

  140. Peter Main Says:

    Dave Tait’s first tip distills much of what is central to Ethan Zuckerman, Amy Smith and Paul Polak’s ideas. Understand by observing the environment, infrastructure, culture and lives of people by being there. Seeking to understand as the point from which to begin is an extremely powerful tool. Observation of the physical, cultural and built environment, existing( working or not) and planned infrastructure (as simple as a shorter/safer path to water) and the (involved) peoples physical, cultural and mental techniques/skills for problem solving and acting to create solutions is essential to this understanding. Only when this process has achieved a certain level (saturation point?) can a hypothetical solution begin to be proposed.

  141. qab Says:

    keep a look out for other challenges or new solutions all the time.

  142. Dr S Santhanam Says:

    More I read the comments, more I feel about my own ignorance in addressing poverty. So, first step is to put on the learning cap and approach the issues as a student. Paul Polak has touched on the 7 very essential criteria for a more comprehensive solution.

  143. Jeffo Says:

    Understand by observing – simple but powerful – I need to constantly remind myself to just simply observe.

  144. Monroe Says:

    Reading many of the replies and comments regarding innovative thinking and using the available resources to solve problems and situations. I’m a firm believer that the solutions to many problem lie in tne natural resources and human resources available. Understanding the social, economic, political, greographical, educational, as well as the spiritual climate all are essential to developing a solution to issues and overcoming adversities and hardships. In thinking simplistically it is wise to remember that “in nature” all things are found. Becoming a social innovator requires comphrehensive simplicity

  145. Patricia Says:

    Do not sit in the dark and curse the dark; light a candle and move on. Work with positives and strengths to spark off the flicker. e.g good weather and seemingly good roads ….Observe, design and implement.

  146. DIEKTRICH MORGAN Says:

    Share knowledge and skills to continue the innovative process both to and from people and communities. I BELIEVE IT WE ALL SHARE KNOWLEDGE AND SKILL WE LEARN IN DIFFERENT SITUATION IT WILL HELP NOT ONLY THE SITUATION AT HAND BUT MANKIND AS A WHOLE IF INFORMATION IS DISPERSED OUT. KNOWLEDGE IS THE KEY TO POWER AND SUCCESS.Social innovation refers to new strategies, concepts, ideas and organizations that meet social needs of all kinds – from working conditions and education to community development and health – and that extend and strengthen civil society.

  147. cherie Says:

    Lets find a way!

  148. Dragan Sljivic Says:

    Similar situations lead to similar solutions.
    If a country is deprived of resources, one might learn by comparing other countries with lack of resources.
    Compare Ghana and South Korea and you will see that 50 years ago these countries had the same GDP. Korea has educated more engineers in 1980s than West Germany, UK and Sweden combined. The lesson is that educating labor force makes a country better place for doing business. Education is the first piece of the Africa puzzle. We all have ideas and we need education (especially technical) to make them actually work.

  149. Tomor Says:

    1.Innovation (often) comes from constraint (If you’ve got very few resources, you’re forced to be very creative in using and reusing them.)

    -I’m taking an example: if we eat a melon or a watermelon, it doesn’t mean that we can throw the seed’s, but that’s what we do, we eat it and don’t think what we can do from them, because if we save the seed’s and give them to poor people,or anyone that need’s help they could remake the fruit’s, and have much more things to eat.

    2.Innovate on existing platforms (We’ve got bicycles and mobile phones in Africa, plus lots of metal to weld. Innovate using that stuff, rather than bringing in completely new tech.)

    -This is true.Even in my contry everyone brings new things,we don’t create nothing, and we have a lot of metal and everything else that we can do better stuff, + if we Innovate using the stuff that in exist(metal,plastic,glass,etc) we can help them in much ways (We can teach them how to work, how to make new things, diffrent things, mabye things that no one has seen), + in the way doing that we even save the earth, we make it more cleaner because we know that the earth is very polluted. SO WE NEED TO STOP BRINGING NEW THING’S. WE NEED TO START CREATING THIGN’S FROM THE STUFF THAT IT’S ALREADY BROKEN.

    4.Problems are not always obvious from afar (You really have to live for a while in a society where no one has currency larger than a $1 bill to understand the importance of money via mobile phones.)

    -Yes we need to see the life of a poor people, now that we have computer’s, laptop’s, mobile phone’s,etc. it doesn’t make them diffrent from them. We need to think what would we do if we were in their place, we have got to start help them no matter what.

  150. beatrisa Says:

    communication is the key to to disgus the problems and find a way to solution them.
    i like this list and the part:listen to the right people. i think i will practice that since now.

  151. Lindokuhle Says:

    The problem is less obvious from a distance. Anyone can send a cheque but that does by no means mean that you are innovative. Innovation is about confronting the problem under everyday circumstances and finding a way around it! It is essential for socially innovative peole not only to be aware of the problem but to truly understand it!

  152. marco saba Says:

    “Economic sustainability; provide financial motivation for continued growth over time. Empower people by improving their economic or social status.”

    This is possible through the introduction of local (people’s) currencies to free the monetary solutions that are actually restricted by private banking actors that have DE FACTO cornered the “currency-creation market”.

    Some introductory readings:

    - CRÉER DES MONNAIES RÉGIONALES POUR TRAITER LA CRISE GLOBALE
    par Bernard LIETAER
    http://leconomistamascherato.blogspot.com/2010/03/creer-des-monnaies-regionales-pour.html

    - Global Economic Crisis: “Recapturing What is Ours and Turning Scarcity into Abundance”
    Review of Ellen Brown’s “Web of Debt:” Part V
    by Stephen Lendman
    Global Research, May 19, 2009
    http://leconomistamascherato.blogspot.com/2009/05/recapturing-what-is-ours-and-turning.html

    TAG: LEARN1

  153. bw Says:

    interesting.

  154. Josh Says:

    I didn’t read everyones posts, but I certainly agreed with what LeeB (Mar. 7, 12:51) posted. He commented on the need to truly be educated about a place/people/culture before taking action. Getting as informed as we need to be can be a challenge; but to get a better understanding of the potential repercussions of our actions can be the difference between building allies and creating enemies. If we’re gonna save the world :), we need as few enemies as possible.

  155. Santhosh Says:

    The social innovation can happen only if we can create solutions using local resources (including people) and if they are easily replicable. Also, these solutions should be widely available to a a large number of people. We need to take into consideration that the population we are dealing with does not have access to internet like information disseminating environments. For example: Rice farming is affected in many places because of the shortage of water. There are proven methods available that enable rice farming with very little water. But most of the farmers are not familiar with these new methods, due to the lack of proper information dissemination.

  156. pneedle Says:

    I heard it said that one needs to obey in order to command.

  157. Giuseppe Cotugno Says:

    think like a child – children have no limit to their thinking

  158. Enzo Starčević Says:

    Share knowledge and skills to continue the innovative process both to and from people and communities. If we do not share the knowledge we get, not only by innovation, but buy any other resources, when we are learning about ppl problems, human wrights, etc. we are simply doing nothing cause if we dont share our visions with the rest and try to use them, they wont be of much use to us in any case.

  159. Enzo Starčević Says:

    talk to the people who have the problem – and LISTEN to what they have to say. It is often that when we are trying to help and change something we do what we think is wright, and forget to listen to ppl around us. we get so deep in with our ideas that we forget that we came to help somone in something, from HW to famine, and then we dont listen their ideas or whises and do what we think is best for them. occasinally it can be good, but in many cases it leads to even bigger disasters.

  160. eva Says:

    ….Problems are not always obvious from afar…. From Ethan Zuckerman’s post ‘Innovating from constraint‘
    share and listen to the knowledge of everyone and experience the problem by our own -> you will receive the greatest output…

  161. Leonard Says:

    I like what i have read from the argument above, but the people of our society stop only at saying out what is inside their mind; they don’t take a step further. Now here i urge everyone with a problem to suggest a solution for his/her problems.

  162. Dragan Sljivic Says:

    Embrace market mechanisms – definitely one needs to motivate people by profit in order to help them get out of the poverty and to make them feel responsibility for the goods and services they use.

  163. lapin Says:

    I’m new and don’t quit know how to react. But i think that we have too loose the set up systems and invest in a lot of small, direct, practical projects. Don’t capitiles them but start them building on there own. They are smart enough to know whats best for theme

  164. Gazelderl Says:

    I thought I’d just open the front door. It isn’t as expensive as journeying to another continent.

    Perhaps I’ll listen to a few “bad” people. Good people might seem like the best source of inspiration but bad folks might be teachers too.

    Rather than living on some set amount of money each day perhaps I’ll just try to be a little mindful of my expenditures.

    And sitting quietly as the morning arrives might be the hardest thing I can hope to accomplish each day.

  165. Craig Thorne Says:

    2. talk to the people who have the problem – and LISTEN to what they have to say

    This sentence describes what i believe could help me change the world. I believe that in order to help someone, you need to fully understand what their situation is. Many of the times we try to help people, we only think of the bare minimum. Food, Water, Shelter, Medical. Yes all of these components are essential for survival. But the only component there that is actually helping them to strive in a society like ours is education. We need to talk to them and ask them what do you need in order to better your life. No one knows what they might say. I believe if I listen then they will tell me the answers to all of my questions.

  166. Avy Says:

    First of all, I object to the constant use of the term “developing world”. For instance, if a person can actually live on $ 2 a day, he or she is definitely way beyond the intelligence of one who lives in the “developed world” on $ 200 a day. The notion that “development” is about per capita income, higher technology, increasing materialism based on exploitation of all sorts of materials, renewable or non-renewable, is akin to stupidity. And the superimposition of such a notion on the “developing world” and its acceptance by the same is the greater stupidity. Innovation must begin elsewhere, outside of the binary of the “developed” and “developing” world paradigm.

  167. Quentin T Says:

    “Economic sustainability; provide financial motivation for continued growth over time. Empower people by improving their economic or social status.”

    I am from the US where we have relatively just courts, personal liberty, and a law that enforces property rights and protection.

    I haven’t visited Africa so I would be willing to hear from people who have at least visited because I am under the impression that there could be a lack of just courts, personal liberty, and limited physical and intellectual property protection for the people.

    I am just trying to figure out the angle at which I should view these huge issues because on one hand I know that these exact people suffering from these issues would, in my situation, have equal rights and protection to accomplish and solve great problems for themselves;

    However, on the other hand in my understanding these are places where personal innovation, ideas, and physical/intellectual freedoms are constantly under question and attack which could fuel the results we’re seeing here … that is generations of people who’s creative thinking and innovative solutions, where existed, have been overpowered by corruption which have made their mental goal simply surviving the day as opposed to thriving for years to come.

  168. cargo Says:

    WOW, Interesting!

  169. Ran Says:

    Bear witness – observe and be aware of what is happening. For that it is needed to be in the envirenment you want to change. It is important to observe without prejudice .
    I observe Africa from afar ( Also a name of ethiopian tribe) and bear witness to:
    - the suffering
    - the abundance of the land climate and water in some parts of the continent which is the best natural habitat to Mamals from all kinds including humanoids, and the deserts and femin in other parts.
    - The lack of unity between and inside african modern coutnries.
    - the AIDS influence on human life
    action should start from within.

  170. Fred Says:

    poor background inspired a lot of people so before you can become an innovator imagine how it would be if you were from a poor background,from there then start thinking of the possible solutions on how to fight this poverty identify problems that you think you have encountered and then analyse then think out of the box for the relevant solutions that can solve them and communicate with the people around you to also help you think big

  171. Jten Says:

    think like a child – children have no limit to their thinking

    Kids are the greatest inspiration I can think of. I can remember as a child playing with Legos and my brother and I would always one up eachother as to who had more guns on our creations. The thought process of children is limitless. Even today my niece has outstanding ideas and creations that would never be possible, but for those who dont know their thoughts can carry on for ever. It is hard coming back to reality after thinking of all the great things we could do and that is why filters are necessary to go on with life. As an adult I come up with great ideas that I would like to accomplish some day, but my reality is having the funds and time available for me to do what I want. On the same hand I understand my current resources and make the best decisions available to learn from and prepare me for the next steps.

  172. Louis C. Says:

    On this days, we need to realize what is happening around the world, not just the bad things, also the good ones. New technology, new science and societies are developing, with this changes everybody would think that would make life better. But it does in certain way, but also is terminating with other, our people, culture, and most important our planet. We need to take action, with our resources, on our houses, families, friends, schools and jobs. If we dont make the change, the change would never happen. Wake up, its time to do something, to start to do better things for you, for everybody. Start today with a new attitude that would beat any bad belief and Innovate how things are done, find new ways to accomplish the objective and you would find that as much painful the way to victory is, as much glorious would taste success.

  173. Gary Says:

    Peripheral vision; keep a look out for other challenges or new solutions all the time.

    I heard someone say once that the future belongs to those who are perpetually curious. Curiosity in context implies we understand the nature of the problem, its political, social, economic and environmental context. We must remain curious to discover and learn from others as well as mother nature herself. Remaining open and attached to no specific solution allows us to remain curious about all possible solutions and provides us with the time needed to fully explore the potential for finding a comprehensive solution. Knowing full well that tommorrow is a new day and opportunity to do better that we did today. Perpetual curiosity provides us the intellectual freedom to rediscover, recover and reconstruct solutions on a daily basis

  174. Gary Says:

    Peripheral vision; keep a look out for other challenges or new solutions all the time.

    Learn 1

    I heard someone say once that the future belongs to those who are perpetually curious. Curiosity in context implies we understand the nature of the problem, its political, social, economic and environmental context. We must remain curious to discover and learn from others as well as mother nature herself. Remaining open and attached to no specific solution allows us to remain curious about all possible solutions and provides us with the time needed to fully explore the potential for finding a comprehensive solution. Knowing full well that tommorrow is a new day and opportunity to do better that we did today. Perpetual curiosity provides us the intellectual freedom to rediscover, recover and reconstruct solutions on a daily basis

  175. Luuk Says:

    my knowledge of Africa is limited, i travelled there 20 years ago and at that time, the issues were mostly related to the political instability and therefor the poorer were getting poorer and the food redistribution would effect most of these areas and countries.
    I have always believed that pomping moneys into Africa, as with all other parts of the world, like Asia were most of my knowledge is, would only have an effect when we advise and help them understand the basic issues, education on all levels,the purpose of knowledge and how to use, so the effect is for all and for some.
    How to keep their environment, with our advise and help and sustain it for future generations.
    I know, that here always will be political influence, especially in those areas were conflicts are of a daily occurrence, however that is the easy way out.
    It is the people who are important and at the moment we forget that, we have lost.
    I have and still be of the thought that i alone cannot eradicate poverty, but using my influence with Ambassadors and High Commisioners will
    give it a push in the right direction.
    words like diversity and sustainability will only become usefull, when we can change things on the ground and not from far away.
    Like always talk is great, but it comes down to doing something.
    I am always available to more knowledge, so to give it to others who have agreater need

  176. Ali rashid Says:

    Its not only about how to live on 2$ per day , or to send leaders in it…
    Its only be done by educating people first..
    Education dosnot mean to teach then A B C from 1st clas..
    Education means to tell what is life, who to live batter life.
    Give them the Power of knowlage.
    And i m the Invoker i’ll try my level best to give them the Power of Knowlage.

  177. jennybateacher Says:

    Keep learning from your customers.
    Who are MY customers. In education, the last people we ever get an opinion from is the students. We listen to politicians, “experts”, data, parents, but NOT the students. I want to know “what works” for them.

  178. Erica Roberts Says:

    I think that you can always learn somthing from someone… I have learned alot of things from strangers actually…. i learned how to bowl frm a complete stranger and i still remeber her

  179. Erica Roberts Says:

    i think they should folow the ‘Innovating from constraint‘ because it tells alot about how people can recycle, good buisness plans, and about embracing your culture. it also shows how to make more money and how to reuse things that are recyclable. it even tells about things you SHOULD have in africa to survive and to know what you need not what you want.

  180. Kavon Says:

    It’s Cool I wanna help

  181. Kavon Says:

    IT’ cool because we are helping people

  182. Safiya Says:

    Don’t fight culture (If people cook by stirring their stews, they’re not going to use a solar oven, no matter what you do to market it. Make them a better stove instead.) This secret can help me change the world because I think this means to fit in with the culture that you’re in. If you are going to do a mission then you must act like you are from your surrounding because that is how you keep a low profile and get information. If you fight the culture, you will stand out end eventually get caught.

  183. Adelqui Says:

    I think that the innovation was important and would help the world because it means to be creative. When your creative and know what to do you can change the world.

  184. Eric Chan Says:

    I believe that understanding is the most important part of the seven helpful hints. I believe this because without understanding something you cannot do the other processes. Understanding is also very important because understanding helps you in your life greatly and also you to do fix things and understand things in the world.

  185. Sarfi C Says:

    I also understand how big of an issue poverty is but I also believe that it is very hard for kids to completely accept and help the situation that is at hand. But I think if many people come together a group of kids could be a reckoning force.

  186. Jennifer Says:

    I think that it is true to do the obvious. If you are in a a situation where you need to do something that was not planned it would be smart to do something that every other person would do. I would go to Tokyo to help them out if they have a shortage of food also I would bring a lot of supplies to help out.

  187. Rachel Branson Says:

    There seems to be a very important message throughout ‘Innovation in Africa’ which applies to the rest of the world. It is about finding out what people need, helping them to create it at a price that they can afford. Too many marketing and advertising campaigns seems to work the wrong way round, they create a product which we don’t need and spend millions trying to convince us that our lives would be much better if we had it, we spend our lives working to reach the goal of having it only to find the next thing out there is now what we should be aiming for.

    Using the idea and suggestions of Ethan Zuckerman, Amy Smith, Paul Polak I believe we could spend our resources more wisely in creating things that will enhance and improve lives more effectively by getting to know our market at the ground level, whether it is by living on $2 dollars a day or carry water for miles, understanding peoples needs, talking to them and working with them is the key to finding a true gap in the market for innovation.

  188. ARG’s, Innovation and Evocation – Tinderblog Says:

    [...] first link is to “Innovation in Africa tips”, which (despite the odd language structure in the title) has some great advice.  Like the [...]

  189. Nate B Says:

    think like a child – children have no limit to their thinking….

    All too often we let societal pressures steer us away from possibilities.

  190. Nate B Says:

    think like a child – children have no limit to their thinking

    All too often we let societal pressures steer us away from what we are truly possible of.

  191. Robert Hughes Says:

    innovation is great, but as said time and time before, it all starts on a very small basis, some people go with the 2 dollar a day budget constraint.. as a method of setting so-called “size” perimeters (ie starting small) And it is exactly that, innovation all start from the very basis of solving the smallest problem,

    as from Ethan Zuckerman’s “innovating from constraint” the zeer pot is perfect example, the solution of extending food shelf life in such a “low-grade” budgeting area, with the simple use of low cost, raw materials, easily found, being, 2 clay pots, sand.. and water, they are able to greatly increase their own ability to extend resources. Creating much higher efficiency in food distribution.

    This example is perfect at showing just how huge of an impact, small creations from needed innovation, can cause. even if it may seem like just a small thing

  192. Dan Says:

    The most important thing that we can do with today’s innovation is to teach our children how to:

    Build Things instead of buying finished products from Walmart;
    Grow Vegetables, Grains & Fruits instead of buying groceries at supermarkets;
    Fix and Maintain Machinery instead of always relying on mechanics and tradesmen;
    Breed Animals on Natural Farms instead of buying processed meat from slaughter houses;
    Treat and Prevent Disease Naturally instead of becoming addicted to pharmaceutical drugs;
    Teach and Learn New Technology instead of just relying on technology to do everything for us.

    Innovation is important, but more important is the ability to remain human and know how to be at peace with the earth. Always making things easier for ourselves with convenient solutions for transportation, communication, industrialization and modernization is not always a balanced solution that maintains a rational symbiance between Humans and Nature. I think we need to be innovative while also be realistic and have some foresight for not only our future, but the future of our civilization.

  193. Dror Says:

    I found the last rule for design in the developing world of Amy Smith as the most valuable. I think that power lays in education & knowledge, one thing is to do somthing in order to improve a situation, but to teach someone how to improve the next situation by himself – that is the big secret.
    Isn’t it the job description of parenthood? to theach the children how to do stuff on theur own?
    I’m a surf instractor & a n organizational developer & my moto is allways: “the sooner you wont need me – the better job I have done”. that means that you know how to do the things on your own.

  194. hani f Says:

    Provide skills, not just finished technologies. The current revolution in design for developing countries is the notion of co-creation, of teaching the skills necessary to create the solution,
    rather than simply providing the solution. By involving the community throughout the design process, you can help equip people to innovate and contribute to the evolution of the product. Furthermore, they acquire the skills needed to create solutions to a much wider variety of problems. They are empowered.

    i belive that this is one of the tools that can make a big influnce in a relativly short time and in wide distribution

  195. Gabe Says:

    We must listen to those involved in the issues, and we must look at it from all sides. Too often we only address one perspective which takes away some of the validity of what we are attempting to address.

    In my case, I am a musician. I want to create a self-sustaining community of musicians both young and old, of cross genres. I want families to support their children in music education and help spread the positive message it can bring.

    I believe I can determine some parallels by asking questions to all who must be involved to make PHX a successful cultural breeding point for the music arts.

    Interview Musicians
    Interview Promoters
    Interview Venues
    Interview Schools

    This list will grow. My mission may not be as profound as ending hunger in Africa, however I believe there are many symptoms to this countries many problems, and this one matters to me.

  196. 'L' Says:

    Intention

    That’all the base required fore creativity the rest is mostly the unecessary making process, that force you to describe you project to others.

  197. Beatriz Says:

    innovation it’s all about using your own brain… that is something that we are not used to do when we let technology and other people think for ourselves…

  198. Alleia Says:

    Innovation is ll about coming up with new ways to do things. To take what is right in front of you and make it new better and more useful then it already is. Innovation is having the balls to be creative.

  199. Jack Says:

    Leave Africa they way it is, it has worked for thousands of years without any modern day intervention. However, all the natural resources belong to the people there. If you really want to improve it, go after the corporations that are using it. And by this I do not mean to spread the vile filth of Anti Semitism as displayed in DURBAN.

  200. Carl Says:

    I am glad to learn that I am already practicing and encouraging others many of these tips. The game; Evoke helped reinforce this!

  201. ian williams Says:

    I would like to suggest that Zuckerman’s 2nd point regarding culture could/should be challenged. Many aspects of culture are positive and have a place at the heart of any suggestions for ‘development’ but we cannot ignore those elements that are destructive socially, economically & morally.

    I do not support a time-honoured culture in the UK that advocates the continuence of fox-hunting, for example. A colleague spent time in Zambia on a project that provided a fresh water well for a remote village. The well was operated manually but because fetching water was womens work the men would refuse to ‘pump’ the water. The male members of the western volunteers deliberatley took responsibility for demonstrating how the well worked while the female volunteers supervised – this encouraged the Zambian males (particularly the younger men) to use the well.

    Rory Sutherland explains on tedtalks on youtube just how marketing can be used to change cultural bias/norms – take a look, he is very amusing too!

  202. HypeWriter Says:

    Do the hard work needed to find a simple solution. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”—and it is the key to this type of design work.

    This is a brilliant statement and a great place to start in solving any problem. People say “Less is more.” and that is true to an extent. I prefer to see it as “Just enough is more”.

  203. Jason Says:

    I have investigated Exhibit A in full and come back to the first thing I read.

    “innovation comes from constraint”

    While anyone could argue that unlimited resources will ultimately lead to success (Egypt, Rome, Enron), their great weight also has the potential to crush the original intent. Consider a child in the back yard with a stick. In the span of a minute it can be turned into a sword, a drum major’s baton, a microphone, a magic wand, a horn, a high jump bar, a baseball bat, a spyglass… time is the only impediment to new ideas.

    Now consider what you have and what you can turn it into.

  204. Fred Says:

    From Paul Polak list: “4. think and act big – don’t do anything that can’t reach a million people”.

    But there is more to that: think global, act local and use the power of networking, because that, if done right, will not only reach a million people but possibly much, much more.

  205. tomruba Says:

    Let me challenge Amy Smith’s rule number 3 “Do the hard work needed to find a simple solution” with a quote from Einstein who said “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein“).
    And let me underline Ethan Zuckerman’s rule number 4 “Innovate on existing platforms” by referring to the great book “The Nature of Technology: What It Is and How It Evolves” of W. Brian Arthur.

  206. Nadim hajjar Says:

    “Don’t fight culture”

    i am sick of people who think that the same solution can be done everywhere. Each country and region have their own culture and capabilities. I love this saying because it speaks about culture but also we should consider all the specialities not only the culture.

  207. Dan Says:

    This is a very good start at getting people from developed nations to understand the importance of simplifying their lives. The simplification alluded to here works more effectively in the developing world though, due to the social realities. In the US it’s somewhat difficult to put up a windmill; zoning, building codes, etc… This is something that would be acceptable and even admirable in many African villages though.
    In order to change the world we need to open our eyes to what is possible in our own backyards as well as ideas for developing nations. These ideas may take the form of recycling and reducing, solar hot water projects, or electric vehicle retrofits. If we’re really serious we could really change the world.

  208. Martin Says:

    If everyones comments are taken into consideration the best solution will be found…let´s read and comprehend.

  209. The Prince and The Polak « Carpe Futurum Says:

    [...] there are several good secrets on the list of tips for innovating in Africa, my favorite one is one that applies to more than just Africa. It’s Paul Polak’s fourth [...]

  210. Robert Madsen Says:

    Economic sustainability; provide financial motivation for continued growth over time. Empower people by improving their economic or social status.

    very good secret. If you raise the social status, resulting in increased demand for what we have today in Europe, America etc, and take for granted. If you look at the world from above, shows that 90% of Africa is dark at night. School students sit under the street lamps and doing their homework.
    Why?
    demand for electricity does not exist or is so low that nobody will start producing energy. There is no profit in it. for about 100 years ago when the industrial revolution was underway, our living standards rose significantly. The availability of energy was increased and the price of energy was just cheaper and cheaper. When electricity was available everywhere and in all households. Development could only go in one direction, more electronics.
    Those who are concerned that more use of electricity will lead to more destruction of the earth can be calm. we fuck this planet as fast as we can. We dig up fossil fuels as fast as we can. and there is no more. so if someone wants to build energy-producing companies are there just (as it looks now) 5 pieces of different techniques, 4 of them are renewable energy. High cost and not very effective just as it looks today. the 5 is the nuclear plant. But “no” energy will be produced in Africa before the demand increases. With energy, progress is not far behind

  211. Siwart Says:

    think like a child – children have no limit to their thinking. I chose this sentence because I think this is really important and the world would be much more creative and much less ignorent. Children are not influenced as much as adults are and their creativity and fantasy are almost without limits. So if every adult for example takes his proud away and just does what he thinks without listening to others than they could solve a lot more problems than they solve with their limited adult mind.

  212. Idle Winner Says:

    Think creatively: start big, use constraints as a filter and find the simplest solutions.

    Salt has saved millions of lives through Oral Rehydration Therapy
    Sand becomes glass, becomes lenses, and much more
    And more accessibly simple solutions – hydro power or wind for milling

    Necessity, the mother of invention
    Limitation, the mother of innovation

  213. Bob Day Says:

    There is a great deal of value in these lists. I particularly like the repeated emphasis on working and/or living closely with the people in the poorest communities – builds trust, which is essential, but also stimulates understanding and mutual learning at a level that cannot be duplicated any other way.

    Sad to see no reference to finding the local champions (and helping them find themselves).

    And concerned that the emphasis is apparently on innovation for economic development only. Although valuable, there is no significant evidence (after decades of interventions) that this works for the benefit of all in the poorest communities (most “successes” when studied more closely are at the individual rather than community level, and often at the expense of the rest of the community).

    Innovation for mutual benefit (yes, I’m afraid I’m referring to “public good”) has a significant role to play (often setting the scene for later economic innovation), and is often more easily adopted within the poorest communities. I suspect this is behind the infamous “tall poppy syndrome” experienced throughout rural Africa.

  214. Jose Correia Says:

    “learn everything there is to know about the specific context”

    Many great ideas/solutions didnt work because of social/cultural diferences.If we try to understand how someone lives and thinks we can help that person in a more “acceptable” way by his standards.
    Sometimes people dont know how to let themselfes be helped,if we have the knowledge to do it in a familiar way,we have more chances to suceed,breakink the “fear of the unknown” barrier.

  215. shlem Says:

    Do the hard work needed to find a simple solution. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”—and it is the key to this type of design work.

    My dad is always telling me to work smarter, not harder. I have to problem solve for my job most of the day and sitting back, taking in the context, working out the possible solutions with the pros and cons is always better than just clicking around till you fix the situation. A slow logical approach is beats out quickly spinning your wheels.

  216. Allison Keats Says:

    “Innovation (often) comes from constraint (If you’ve got very few resources, you’re forced to be very creative in using and reusing them.)”

    This is my favorite secret. I know from working with people on limited incomes and other resources. I have seen how people can take very meager means and make great use of them, using every little piece to its fullest, reusing what they can. It can be very enlightening to listen and find wonderous new uses for things you might have otherwise taken for granted or tossed aside.

  217. Mark Says:

    Regarding if it’s already invented you don’t need to invent it.This is true but you can certainly “tweak” and adapt inventions and innovations. Creativity breeds creativity, for example Pranav Mistry’s “sixthsense” devices, he did not invent the iphone,projector or camera, but has combined them in such a simple and brilliant way which will lead to more adaptions or creations of this nature by third parties,which I believe could play an important part in changing the world and how we interact with it and each other. Then we have the “earthships” . Solar cooking, rocket stoves. Tesla Innovations.The ideas are out there, many quite simple, cost effective
    and ecologically sound but unfortunately many are held up by bureaucracy, regulations etc.

  218. iona Says:

    Understand by observing the environment, infrastructure, culture and lives of people by being there.

    I think that’s the key to development. Problems and their causes are so unique to societies and groups around the world that you haven’t a hope of understanding them if you are not there. I believe this so much that when i wanted to give something back to my beloved mountains i realised that unless i became part of their world as a community member and not as a guest there was no way i could understand what help they could do with or more important what right i had to participate in their lives.

  219. Eddi Treloar Says:

    Not enough to sit by and let others do the ground work, all have to get involved, helps if they take up an area they are familiar with & in their expertise

  220. Amahle Jenkins Says:

    “Don’t fight culture”, that is most certainly one of the most profound pieces of advice any innovator could receive, and use. Who better than one living in Africa can understand it challenges and opportunities, it’s constant struggles and victories, who better than an African knows its painful and beautiful history and can dream of a future that surpasses all that.

    A place with as much diversity as Africa offers as many challenges as it does opportunities, if only there were more eyes that recognised the opportunities. Through gaining an understanding of its people, their values and beliefs, their way of life, not the lifestyle we hope to create and most importantly what their hopes and dreams for this land are, as innovators, we are able to bring about change that trully impacts and betters the lives of Africans. By incorporating our vision into theirs’ we can bring about much valued and welcome change and because we all took part in dreaming and creating it, we’ll all be responsible for sustaining and constanly improving it.

  221. ritaryan Says:

    thoughtful insight..ty

  222. Sonny Says:

    innovation for Africa means to tackle problems with fresh minds, rooted within traditions but an outlook into the immediate and far future at the same time. Outside design knowledge can only function together with grass root level people, who know what is available in their culture. Both sides offer fresh ideas as they are a combination of totally different backgrounds with the same objective. Creativity is the ultimate muse plus a vision for growth. Identification of possibilities that provide lasting sustainable business opportunities and better living standards.

  223. Mindy Findtner Says:

    “Think like a child…” I believe this is the hint/tip that I use most often. Coming up with innovative ideas for solving problems requires a lack of restraint that adults have. Dream big-create big. If we don’t know what the limits are then we won’t put limits on ourselves. Shoot for the stars you might hit the moon.

  224. iona Says:

    Learn 1

    Understand by observing the environment, infrastructure, culture and lives of people by being there.

    I think that’s the key to development. Problems and their causes are so unique to societies and groups around the world that you haven’t a hope of understanding them if you are not there. I believe this so much that when i wanted to give something back to my beloved mountains i realised that unless i became part of their world as a community member and not as a guest there was no way i could understand what help they could do with or more important what right i had to participate in their lives.

  225. Shtanto Says:

    Ning sites are weird. Like DIY icecream kits. Sure, you can add different flavours, but they all taste about the same.

    Learn1: We only learn by play

  226. Karen Ree Says:

    Learn 1

    Be a decent person – courteous and respectful.

  227. Zachary Says:

    The most basic machines are the lever, the pulley, the inclined plain, the wedge. From these simple machines all of tecnology is born. That and enough paper to figure out how you want to put them togeather. Everything from a car to a house is based on those machines. When you go back to them they always show you a new way to get something done.
    People love making somthing new and getting somthing done.
    I love that people talk about cultural inovation and creatitivity. They seem to forget that you need the simple machines to get things done.

  228. Imma Says:

    Participation and ownership; let the community own the challenge and work with them to find a lasting solution to their own benefit. Regardless of the technology to be used, community should first learn to appreciate themselves and believe in themselves, in that way they will value their ‘own’ creation. As it has always been anywhere in the world, everything of ‘value’ will be safeguarded, and this will lead to sustainability.

  229. dpad Says:

    it’s nice to solve problems. but i don’t like being in boxes.

    it’ll be my own route. i could attempt what Amy Smith talks about, but why? i can appreciate the lives of people in the world in all their various shapes and forms, but i am still me, and i must learn from this life in my own way.

    Paul Polak’s business design, no doubt, is true. but that much money? if i wasted making that much on myself…the temptation would be too great. money has always portrayed a person’s class. and i don’t want anyone thinking i’m more or less than them.

    solar panels in orbit around the sun between us and venus or us and mars (preferably which ever way energy transmission would function better). use that to power the things we have that mean so much to us…how’s that Ethan Zuckerman

  230. Mrs Hanson Says:

    When I think of ‘constraint’ I think of Haiku.
    Seventeen syllables to express a season and seasons of the human heart.

  231. samar Abou Sleiman Says:

    Provide Skills not just finished Technologies. That requires talking to the people who are having the problem, listening to them. Understand the specific context . teach them skills that can help solving the problem because eventually funds will end.

  232. Alice Says:

    I really like Paul Polak’s comment: “Think and act like a child”. For a child anything is possilbe; they don’t get distracted by self-imposed limitations. Children are inventive, creative and prejudice-free.

  233. Greg Crisp Says:

    Learn 1:
    Paul Polak #7 says:
    If someone has already invented it, you don’t have to.
    This seemed like a curious idea for a social innovation “secret” but when I thought about it I saw the wisdom.
    How often are resources spent re-inventing the wheel, with many organisations around the world solving the same problem in different ways? How often are challenges not taken up because the group will not be credited with finding a new solution to an existing problem?

    The beauty of “If someone has already invented it, you don’t have to” is that it is liberating. It allows you to focus on the local application of the solution rather than finding a new way of doing something.

    Furthermore in the case of very complex problems with many facets, this principle allows for a synthesis of already existing (potentially unrelated) solutions to come together to form a truly innovative solution to what might otherwise be seen as too complex to solve.

    As an example, as a problem, children in rural Africa frequently don’t have access to personal computers and the internet. This may be for many reasons, but among them, little infrastructure for data transfer and non-existant or unreliable power connection.

    “One Laptop Per Child” has employed existing technology to put low cost durable laptops in the hands of communities of children. They are all built to use existing mobile phone communication infrastructure to access the internet, and use multiple sources of energy including car batteries, and crank to generate a power charge. All of these technologies exist already, and were put together to solve this complex problem in a very innovative way.

  234. Tika Says:

    ‘using your imagination is not good enough’ is somewhat true i would say, but at least your imagination and knowledge could get you closer to the issue than not thinking at all before you ‘talk to the right people’.

  235. Darren Says:

    Think like a child

    As children, with our unbridled optimism, we can’t wait to get older because it’s when we can really make our dreams come true! Or so we thought. As that time approaches, ‘reality’ ‘constrains’ those dream and we settle, even though we, at this point can reach for the stars! Can you imagine what it would be like if we kept those dreams and optimism at that precise moment – the moment we can actually do something about it? When we take that will of a child and the opportunity and ability of adult bodies; can you imagine the possibilities? That’s what we need – “Think like a child”

  236. Lola Clinton Says:

    Innovation develops from effective observation – the act or the faculty of taking notice; the act of seeing, or of fixing the mind upon, anything.

    Effective observation requires us to set aside all preconceptions about what we believe is normal and to withold all judgements about what we think is a right or wrong way to do things or to be.

    Useful observation takes place when we simply accept what is – only then can we begin to see and understand the relationships and dynamics between objects and the whole context.

    Observing what is as it relates to th ewhole gives us theability to make new connections, recognise gaps and constraints and see innovative ways to solve problems without upsetting the natural balance of life, cultures, communities or landscapes.

  237. Vuyo Mpuku Says:

    for the means to live in AND SURVIVE in the world one needs to be able to MKAE an environment around them….ever heard the saying no man is an island…this relates to that…One needs to create and environment that is not only accptable as good to them but to those aaround them.

    The Social innovator is this kind of person, the proactive maker not he stand-by user. The late MICHAEL JACKSON had a very inspirational son that was to this effect, the song MAN IN THE MIRROR….one should always look to themselves to changing the world, start by waking up TOMORROW and insighting positive vibes to those around you.

    The world has TOO many problems, many of which are too massive for the governent to solve. But look at this from the perspective of the domino effect…imagine…dont wait BE THE SOCIAL INNOVATOR…

    It is very important that we as the youth take up initiatives and projects in our communities (or those that we know of that are worse off).

    DREAM>> VISION>> ACTION>> REALITY.

  238. swannjie@gmail.com Says:

    To live on $2 a day – and enjoy it and invite a friend to share a meal together – in Paris is possible, (combatting the loneliness issue of a big individualistic social setting) if you cooked your own food.

    Breakdown:

    One pack of angelhair noodles (10 individual servings) = 1 euros/pack= 10 cents per bowl
    half kg of tomato (4 tiny tomatoes)= 1 euros
    olive oil, salt,
    raclette cheese 2 slices per serving = 30cents/serving
    sea weeds (one pinch of dried form) = 20 cents
    egg = 10cents each

    total per bowl (large ramen size) =70 cents approx

    eat one bowl per day,
    drink milk and half a banana for the other meal = milk=25cents+20cents = 45cents

    drink hot water with flavoring, tea, or dried chrysanthemum flower etc = max 5 cents each drink, 4 cups per day = 20cents

    So you have a fully balanced delicious meal for 1.35euros per day (but you must do the shopping and cooking yourself no ready made food)

    ===

    meat could be added to the noodles, varieties of meat… around 50cents if you put in thin slices and not whole chunks – the meat is for flavoring and texture variation.

    ===

  239. Hubert Says:

    Its good to see USA discovering socialism : ) i JUST joke, i adore all what you do and thanks to you in AMERICA we wil be able to say to our “leaders” that if you have been dong it, we can do it also. Thank you it will help a lot our projetc of sustainable devlopment and international community.

  240. Michael Says:

    I think the Heath brothers highlighted a key approach as well in their observation that some complex problems, like dealing with malnourishment in Vietnam, are best addressed by looking first to see if their are examples of local solutions that can be scaled. See “Switch: Don’t Solve Problems–Copy Success”, fast company magazine, http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/142/switch-how-to-change-things-when-change-ishard.html

    Innovating from Constraint is akin to this approach.

  241. Get A Voice Says:

    Recognizing the importance of culture and the need to build skills is so important. There’s no point in marching into a situation with technology people don’t have the skills or materials to maintain. Let the people’s needs, as defined by themselves, inform what innovations are created together. Otherwise, the adoption rate is likely to be fairly low.

  242. EVOKE: Games can save the world, too. « Get A Voice Says:

    [...] if no one adopts the innovations, right? Using examples learned in Africa and around the world, the authors inspire readers to adopt one of their techniques and move. My first step is to blog about this [...]

  243. Ian Abbott-Donnelly Says:

    Doing more with less is now the ‘new kind of growth’. Natural systems do this by replacing materials and energy with information and structure. This should work in Africa. I would welcome examples of how this has already been done and how it might be applied to water

  244. Kaitlyn Helfrich Says:

    Provide skills, not just finished technologies. The current revolution in design for developing countries is the notion of co-creation, of teaching the skills necessary to create the solution,
    rather than simply providing the solution. By involving the community throughout the design process, you can help equip people to innovate and contribute to the evolution of the product. Furthermore, they acquire the skills needed to create solutions to a much wider variety of problems. They are empowered.

    Although all the tips were great and very inspiring, i found this one to inncoraperate a lot of the themes together in one and it really got me thinking. it reminded me of the wuote “give a village a fish and they will be fed for a day, teach the village to fish and the will be fed for a lifetime”, by just coming up with instant solutions, it will not help our world in the long run. We must share our knowledge so that we can create a world where everyone has the ability to contribute equally.

  245. Aryu Limitless Says:

    I am planning an education trial over this summer, to help children reach their potential in imagination by teaching them viable skills for the real world: games programming and marketing.
    Using the power of others to assist in these kinds of innovations, like those of children, and the trends that are the most inexpensive, then the masses can benefit from those who have learned these methods, and the cycle continues…
    The most growth from the least resources is, primarily, “the mother of invention”. Once we realize, as a society, that these things are here to assist us and bring us forward, we can then affect change in the darkest reaches of the world~! But understanding from the point of view of natives, and ‘walking a mile in their shoes’, feeling their struggles, makes you REALLY comprehend their suffering– we ALL strive for change~! It depends on which track you choose…

  246. Emily Says:

    I think that on top of really understanding the problem(s) and what it will take to find a solution(s) is for people to share their knowledge and skills to continue the innovative process both to and from people and communities. Once information is shared, it can spread, and once it spreads, there will be so many more people who will be equipped with the necessary skills to help solve the world’s problems. This is also helpful with spreading current knowledge about the world’s problems to people who are not aware or who don’t have access to news sources. Knowledge really is power and I think that it is beneficial for all to share what you know with others so we all can help to create a solution.

  247. Thunderbeing Says:

    No matter how well inteneded any person or groups efforts may be to bring about positive change and benifit to any poor culture may be..first they must learn and have an understanding of the culture they wish to help.
    Actually living with the people, eating, worshiping with them in whatever circumstance or form that may be, is vital. A peoples collective faith belief must play into any plan you have for improving their future and lifestyle. Not first doing and respecting this has been the downfall of efforts by the dominate culture for centuries.
    Learning the art of listening is the basic skill you need to first develop, within yourselves. If this simple and basic rule is not followed, even the most well intended efforts to help can be met with misunderstanding,miscommunication, and in the end resentments from the very ones you inteneded to help.
    Accepting a people as they are, without judgements based on your personal upbringing or visions to change them into your way of thinking, is easier said then done. So to build our better mouse traps, let us first learn what it is like to live day in and day out as a mouse.
    Thank you, Thunderbeing

  248. Cain Says:

    Do the hard work needed to find a simple solution. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”—and it is the key to this type of design work.

    Simplicity = reduced cost
    Simplicity = quick to cross cultural divides
    Simplicity = easy to use
    Simplicity = easy to market
    Simplicity = easy to share
    Simplicity = quick to produce
    Simplicity = reduced errors in development & use
    Simplicity = reduced waste
    Simplicity = scalable
    Simplicity = stakeholder & community buy-in
    Simplicity = acceptance
    Simplicity = take-up of designs

  249. Cain Says:

    Do the hard work needed to find a simple solution. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”—and it is the key to this type of design work.

    Simplicity = reduced cost
    Simplicity = quick to cross cultural divides
    Simplicity = easy to use
    Simplicity = easy to market
    Simplicity = easy to share
    Simplicity = quick to produce
    Simplicity = reduced errors in development & use
    Simplicity = reduced waste
    Simplicity = scalable
    Simplicity = stakeholder & community buy-in
    Simplicity = acceptance
    Simplicity = take-up of designs
    LEARN1

  250. Efa Says:

    Provide skills, not just finished technologies. The current revolution in design for developing countries is the notion of co-creation, of teaching the skills necessary to create the solution,
    rather than simply providing the solution. By involving the community throughout the design process, you can help equip people to innovate and contribute to the evolution of the product. Furthermore, they acquire the skills needed to create solutions to a much wider variety of problems. They are empowered.

  251. Simon Says:

    I think that the second topic is a very important one; when Belgium wanted to educate the people in Congo (back then Kong) many problems occured. People had to use products which were too difficult to use without a proper education. People were used to their habbits, and suddenly they had to use tractors, learn to speak french, they had to go to church,…. Innovations and solutions will have to learn to respect the african users habbits if we want them to succeed.

  252. eli Says:

    Everyone wants to help but are unsure because the lack of understanding. Some of us have not suffered or endured such conditions and have muffled ears when hearing others stories. Actually LISTENING will open our minds and experiencing such conditions will makes us connect to another cmmunity. If we manage to go back to child like brain full of thoughts, that never seem to end a random thought could spring up that could possibly innovate other ideas that are simple and defining. Being simple is the difference to making big changes.

  253. Healthy Idea Says:

    One great idea is to cut down on “the middle-man.” Currently, there are too many infrastructures that evaporate the donations (E.g. political corruption), resources (e.g. damaged goods), and good will (e.g. through mindless bureaucracy and paperwork) intended for the good of the benefactors.

    We must not focus on providing the help. We must focus on encouraging independent and sustainable programs which the can thrive with out any support. Each country should view one another as potential partners, or equals, as we progress into a new era.

  254. Boltair Says:

    In regards to innovating on existing platforms, I wholly agree. Sometimes you have to revert to the stone age and go cave man in order to keep it simple, and keeping it simple is the name of the game.

  255. Charles Says:

    Change happens from the inside out. To be effective in instituting positive results I feel it is imperative to immerse yourself within the environment and obtain a first hand personal view of the issues that need to be addressed. Some situations may need only a gentle nudge in the right direction but you won’t know that without first hand knowledge. Gathering all the facts with the desire to help will lead to meaningful results. Spending quality time listening to the needs of others and partnering with them will make a sustainable impact as well. There fore I conclude that first hand knowledge and intimate relationships with the people in need are cornerstones to creating positive change.

  256. Doug Says:

    Seems to be a lot of repetition of the problem but very few solutions.
    I would suggest thousands of inexpensive innovative idea’s are ready for mass production or implementation however most African residents do not have the backing to make idea’s into reality.

    A country or continent wide search/survey for existing ideas from the people who know what they need and who could build it themselves if they had the money would be step #1.

    Step #2 is funding. Micro loan program’s need to be offered by the state not non-African countries. These programs need to be long term (50 years or so of stability)

    Africa knows what it needs ..exactly what everyone else needs…opportunity.

  257. Michele Saba Says:

    How to use LOCAL CURRENCIES to HALF the public (national) DEBT
    http://www.urgentevoke.com/profiles/blogs/how-to-use-local-currencies-to

  258. Marilyn Says:

    listen and learn, and to do that you must go to where the problem is and listen and learn from those who have first hand experience and knowledge — that seems key to really understanding what the problem is to begin with — then you can work with others, especially those who are truly invested, to find the best solution. Then all the other ideas for innovation can kick in.

  259. Lynley Turvey Says:

    It seems a case of learning to walk in others footsteps. The internet provide visual access to the real world so we can see how others live their lives and the problems they face. But do we understand their social history and cultural boundaries which shape their lives?

  260. Amanda Owensby Says:

    Embrace market mechanisms (Giving stuff away rarely works as well as selling it.)

    I think this statement means that you can always gain something from selling it and you can never gain anything if you dont sell it for money.

  261. Jessica Ellis Says:

    I am going to eastern DRC in a couple weeks, volunteering with a couple NGO’s in a Conservation Village north of Goma. I hope to learn many things from the local people and film their efforts so I can share their good work with the world. There is innovation out there, for instance, the local communities created micro-hydro power which gived them electricity by building a dam in a nearby lake.

  262. Habib Binladdin Says:

    Rahem says to embrace the markets mechanisms

  263. Jesse Says:

    Why is it that “embracing market mechanisms” is a beneficial? How does this help exactly? Im not skeptical, so much as genuinely curious.

  264. Kieren Aldridge Says:

    Share the responsibility.
    I guess the whole of this mission is directed towards giving people easier lives. The two things which we need to make our lives easier are obvious and simple. We need food and childcare/teaching. If these two things are done then any society can survive. Anything else is a luxury. The problem is how are we to make sure people know the importance of this and redirect efforts away from industry and economic proggression. We need to turn our minds to the task of home maintenence in a mud hut. If you don’t have running water, how can you expect to achieve it? It is also important to make it obvious how it is achieved. I suggest a program of irrigation using local materials to build open access roadside water piping. It could be insentive based where people have a distinct mark on any piece of piping they lay down giving people a sense of achievable responsibility. This scheme could easily involve volunteer workers giving local people something to compete against from the start. (it is easier for the locals to do it roadside as they walk this route anyway)
    A helpful thing in childcare might be to give away audio books in native languages which can be played on motion powered walkmans. It is unlikely that they will be able to attend school all week due to transport and work issues so this will help them feel connected and allow them to learn whilst they work. Again this can be incentivised, maybe we could give them a free piece of piping every time they finish a book. The first book could teach them about laying pipes and water cleaning techniques. I’d suggest that either apple or microsoft could easily convince their customers to pay for one each in the cost of buying their own versions. The second audio book should most likely focus on permaculture.
    We can only help buy sharing, if we consider anything as a gift then we are denying that the happiness of others is to our advantage.

  265. Gustavo Says:

    Financial services help a lot, but have to come if educational and strutural services.

  266. Social Innovation: The Game! « social innovation notes Says:

    [...] content on social innovation isn’t so hot though – the  “33 secrets of social innovation” is a real mix of ideas – from “see and do the obvious” to “work to [...]

  267. Mysticreader Says:

    What I believe is fundamental is not to repeat the mistakes which were made in trying to implement ideas which were aimed at improving the lives of those in need. For example, when DDT was first used to eradicate mosquitoes in 1958, it was thought to be a miracle pesticide, which would eradicate disease from Africa. Unfortunately, after science had caught up with DDT it was revealed that via a process of bioaccumulation, humans were absorbing large and in some cases lethal doses of DDT. Another example would be the humanitarian catastrophe in the Mauritius, due to a use of the powerful Pesticide called CHLORDECONE. Thousands of people have severe health problems, but still, the French continued to use it to cultivate Bananas and help the local industry, placing jobs and money infront of research on what were the side effects of this chemical. In this link there is a fact-file and history sheet of the CHLORDECONE:

    http://www.pops.int/documents/meetings/poprc/drprofile/drme/DraftRME_Chlordecone.pdf

    I would also like to point out that we must be much more careful in how we do things, for example, if we are to create homes for people, what would be the use of building them in an environmentally-friendly and sustainable way, if we later discover that the sites in which we built them are flood and mudslide sites:

    http://geology.com/usgs/landslides/landslide-map-legend.gif
    http://geology.com/usgs/landslides/landslide-map-large.gif

    There are many more examples of where sustainable development or the so-called ‘miracle’ immediate development have not improved the lives of the people affected, but on the other hand, have worsened them.

  268. bobby Says:

    wow thank you for these tips I hope everyone can try to do something to contribute

  269. Sabine McNeill Says:

    I wish I could talk to NOKIA or some other telecomms company and persuade them to use a virtual currency as a medium of exchange. Not just in Africa for that matter!

    I started http://www.it4hope.wordpress.com after having read Muhammad Yunus’ “Creating a world without poverty – Social business and the future of capitalism.” But I felt too alone and couldn’t get the right kind of support in London.

  270. dan barba Says:

    the world is full of problems.I believe that beginning close to home is very important.As a people we must begin to help those closest to us geographically,before we venture abroad.Homelessness is a problem in the city closest to me.I used to live there and am familiar with the kinds of problems that exist.I often crossed paths with some of the people affected.I read about it in the papers now and am increasingly frustrated at the level of political evasiveness that occurs at the municipal level that only postpones permanent solutions.

  271. Jarvous J Taylor Jr Says:

    The only way to really understand innovation in Africa is to actually go there and attempt to live there lifestyle. You have to really know what there going through everyday, you must also feel there pain. They need lots of financial help, which is what I think the key is to helping them.

  272. compassioninpolitics Says:

    I think Paul Polak’s 12 principles for problem solving are the best for BOP.

    1) Prototype
    2) Interview/feedback
    3) Go to where the action is

    Getting customer reaction and seeing the product in use is critical to making a successful product. It helps you create product-market fit. If you don’t have product market fit–you are pretty much dead in the water.

  273. BOP Design Principles: Product Design for Developing Countries « Compassion in Politics: Christian Social Entrepreneurship, Education Innovation, & Base of the Pyramid/BOP Solutions Says:

    [...] models should shape the product development cycle and the customer acquisition cycle. For more on BOP innovation principles and tips check out this post by Dave Tait where you can find an overview of four of the above sets of BOP [...]

  274. Kris Musselman Says:

    A great misconception is that enterprise and commerce is a prerequisite for a nation to develop articles of confederation and best governing practices. Rather, great societies are bourne and developed from the principles of liberty- like the ones the United States were founded upon. I am not advocating an Iraq-like invasion and permutation to democracy.
    Implementing a strong enforcement of contracts (precedes any effective matrix of voluntary exchange) and a system of property rights will empower individuals and organically grow African nations.
    The fallacy of the developed world is their hubris in believing they can accelerate the growth of a nation. What do world aid, unemployment welfare, and capital gains tax (any tax for that matter) have in common? Aside from being incentives, they are disincentives for personal wealth and national financial independence. Changing these incentives will be the first intiative for solving Africa’s crisis as a struggling conglomerate of 3rd world nations

  275. andreas r. Says:

    The rich countries have to provide for fair prices for recources and products. For example the WTO-rules must be fair. The overreaching of poor countries has to stop.

  276. Cecilia Says:

    Think creatively: start big, use constraints as a filter and find the simplest solutions.

    Inspiring. Unstoppable. Potential value.

  277. ugn Brnrd Says:

    I like the excerts from Ethan Zuckerman’s post ‘Innovating from constraint‘:

    I agree that “Innovation” comes from lack or constraint. When we are forced into situations that are tight, or constricted, we become very creative. I come from a large family and my grandmother had 7 children, and was seperated from her husband. There were several ways of becoming creative with that type of load. At times she was forced to make or sew clothes for her children because it was too expensive to purchase them. She had to work 3 and 4 jobs to provide for her family. Basically she did what she had to do in order to provide the basic needs.
    Zuckerman also said to embrace market mechanisms which means to be “business minded” He mad the point of giving away vs. selling. If you lack, yet still have things that you dont need, it would be wiser to sell those un-needed items versus giving them away. Again, elements of basic survival. I basically think if we use what we do have, and build on our foundation to go higher, instead of always forgetting what we have, or growing board with it becuase we constantly reach for things that are higher, we will see that higher will happen, when we use what we have to our best abilities.

  278. Juanma Ocampo Says:

    yo pienso que una de las cosas para cambiar el futuro en africa tanto como en cualquier lugar del mundo es juntarse para tomar decisiones con los agentes que estan hoy y estaran en ese futuro, los niños. ellos son los principales lideres que requieren ser tomados con importancia y valor, por su pureza, su esperanza, su fuerza o energia y por su capacidad de aprendizaje, ellos pueden hacer mas y mejores cosas con los recursos e inforamcion que nosotros tenemos

  279. sean pickersgill Says:

    ‘Make it inexpensive’
    My experience comes from seeing local building techniques in rural Uganda. Whilst the buildings are crude, there is scope for simple design changes that would make them more robust. The domestic hut has to function as a sleeping and storage area but is prey to the weather. Whilst it is never really cold in Uganda, it can be wet. Better organisation of drainage channels can help this, a simple move.

    Also, there is a reserve of capability in the use of this form of building practice. Instead of building schools for $30 000 dollars for 6 classrooms, use the local building method which, although far cruder, would suffice while the money is diverted to economic/business ventures. School is a very important community aspiration in Uganda, but the construction of the buildings is localised in the hand of middle-class building contractors adding a level of unnecessary complexity and cost. The Guardian’s sorry experience in Katine is an example of this.

  280. Darrell Barnes Says:

    Humans first emerged in Africa and have since managed to overcome more adversity than perhaps anywhere else on earth. Africans surely therefore have a wealth of basic knowledge about survival that everyone would do well to study. The world now turns to exploit Africs resources but must surelt learn the lessons from the rest of the world before doing so… Excellent advice in the comments given….

  281. Astaar Says:

    be inspired, be humble, be motivated, be empathetic, be brave, be sharing, be funny, be there. They often have nothing but smiles. We should try doing the same.

  282. Carole Reynolds Says:

    Of all the terrific solutions offered here, the one I believe to be most effective, long term is, “Provide skills, not just finished technologies.” No matter what you ‘give’ to any community, the effect is just short term if you do not provide it with the means to repair/replace and maintain the new found resource. Whether it’s purifying water, introducing drought resistant edible plants, or skills for bartering with neighboring villages; any means by which a people can learn to be self-sufficient, and especially in Sub-Saharan Africa with the left over colonial mentality, is the only self-perpetuating solution to many things. All that, and get the world together to kick DeBeer’s butt out of the area, so that indigenous persons may cash in on the diamond market instead of being enslaved by it.

  283. Angel Says:

    I was so inspired by the writers, they managed to touch on the cardinal points to creativity and innovation. It’s important to always look at the targeted market. It tends to determine what type of product to create and the worth of a product. Making a product inexpensive ensures that the product is more accessible to all. However it does not mean that the manufacturer should use low quality materials to produce the product but should try and use raw materials that are of high quality and that are widely available.

    In addition community involvement in any new activity is important because it gives them a sense of ownership, acceptibility and also contributes to their livelyhood.

    Perserverance is also an important factor when you are trying to achieve anything significant. It is better to look at what other people have done, their failures and achievements only then are you able to overcome your own hardships.

    Its also important to never look down at a source of an idea you would be surprised where some of the greatest creations came from.

  284. Basil Scofidio Says:

    I like the idea of creating transparent technologies. You get instant feedback and give others a way to understand and improve on the situation. Someone may be able to re create the dynamic to solve another challenge

  285. mark cato Says:

    As much as we feel we are the ones that need to make the difference, we really aren’t, only when the process involves evoking and involving end uses of products will we create things with real value, that have the ability to really change lives.

  286. sof Says:

    Provide skills, not just finished technologies. The current revolution in design for developing countries is the notion of co-creation, of teaching the skills necessary to create the solution,
    rather than simply providing the solution. By involving the community throughout the design process, you can help equip people to innovate and contribute to the evolution of the product. Furthermore, they acquire the skills needed to create solutions to a much wider variety of problems. They are empowered.

    i think there’s so much truth to this. poverty is not something we can defeat just by giving and maintaining people. it’s about helping them to get back on their feet (though i hate that phrase) and helping them rebuild their lives so as not to fall back into poverty or homelessness.

  287. Jelena Says:

    Personally I think the solution to innovation in Africa and making the poor countries there better is not bringing new technologies, ideas and western people to Africa. It has been done and it didn’t work. What we should do is make OUR SIDE of the African connection better and fairer. Pull our money out of the grasp of warlords and corrupt politicians and make the African economy equal to our own. Now it is so that products from 1st world countries get shipped to Africa with the help of export subsidies, so they can be sold cheaper to the people than de goods of the poor African farmer/producer. On the other hand if the African farmer/producer wants to sell his products to the western worlds, due to inport taxes on for instance Europe’s side, his products will again be the expensive option.
    How is this fair?
    If we start to buy products from afrika that at least have a fair-trade label and which can be proven to come out of a fair economic business agreement, I think we can make a good start.

  288. Joshua Ibanda Says:

    I think it’s not true to say innovation comes in when constrained in resource…because almost for ever Africa has been under constrains but we are not the most innovative in the world….it takes the will of every African to hate poverty and act to eliminate it. Hypothetically if a dotor treat a woman a running stomach, a few days teh husband and the other their daughter…then the dotor should call the woman and educate her on hygiene rather than keep on treating. Same thing for Afrian problems, the community has not charged because they don’t see the reason why??? A top official will preffer to emblezzle/ mismanage funds for selfish interests not because they don’t have feeling for others but they are not sensitized about the good of a whole country transformation.

  289. Zachary Says:

    “Provide skills, not just finished technologies”
    I must agree with this, if new technologies are contiuned to be introduced when no one/few people understand how to use what they already have what good is developing the new going to offer? I dont actually know to much about Africa and the smaller tribes that may be hidden or not so hidden, but that seemed to work for them. How long have then been staying alive, that tribe/village/community. Then a outside souce thinks that they NEED what we have and force it on them changing the way of live that has worked for them for hundreds or thousands or longer years. They had the skills and kept working on the technologies for the skills they had/have. With what has been introduced and has become the new norm might make it a little harder on some to “go back” but maybe its worth a try?

  290. J.K Says:

    Actually, the problem will not be solved by easy hands….
    it needs a lot of resource such as money to provide their home-thingsm, facility. and of course, they need active and good-minded leaders for the people.. most of all, every one has to take an action for their better life not some.. but all people’s behavior that they need for bright future…
    if it is, then That country cannot help to become a developed one.

  291. Oliver Says:

    The African people, like the rest of the world need at best the necessities of life such as Food, cloth, and shelter. Today we have the technology the infrastructure to feed cloths, and house everyone, and I can prove it.

    Here is 2 videos 1st hydroponics garden in a rotating cylinder 2ed A robotic technology for custom-designed, low-cost construction with a level of quality heretofore unobtainable. Whats stopping us!!

    hydroponics grow in the circle with a design that greatly increases your square foot growing area
    http://bit.ly/4oMvOs

    Automated home construction by Contour Crafting
    http://bit.ly/aviYVf

    Oliver

  292. Jonathan Says:

    People in Africa have to be able to live basically off of nothing, and try to make everything out of what they got at their disposal. I agree with the authors that imagination has to come into play when you are coming into sustainability and desperation mode.

  293. Jonathan Says:

    Have to work off the land and very little resources. Learn1

  294. jtallstar Says:

    I think that Imagination is the most important quality to have for people and communities such as the African people. When people have nothing and literally have to reinvent their foot situation day in and day out it makes that more important to get creative and use your imagination to use the resources which are naturally around them.

  295. chrissy Says:

    have nth to say but i just hope that pple stop putting good things to waste… :)

  296. greg tuke Says:

    Social innovators do one thing exceptionally well: they suspend judgments so they can see with more open eyes the range of possible solutions. this ability to delay making assumptions about what will work, what should work helps us to listen better for answers we can come up. It is part of what makes wiki’s work. where people keep adding to others knowledge, we all have a piece of the solution, but we cant get too rigid about our present way of looking at things.

  297. raymond Says:

    I believe strongly, As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. Isn’t there another saying something along the lines of there being beauty in simplicity?

  298. Roxanne Says:

    Learn1: Provide skills, not just finished technologies.

    There is that old saying, if you give a man a fish he will eat for a day, if you teach him to fish he will eat for a lifetime. I believe that the biggest impact social innovators can have is to really study and think about the people they are developing new technologies for. What is the biggest problem or the largest pain point that the people in the community have? Is it clean water or transporting water? Then create a system that involves the community. Teach them how to clean or transport the water. Teach them creative solutions so that this same technique can be applied not only to the local village but in any village. It starts by understanding the people who you aim to help. No one in Africa will buy a laptop they can’t afford it and they can’t connect to an Internet cable because they don’t have running electricity. But if you give them a pay as you go cell phone with Internet capabilities then they may embrace technology. Maybe a cell phone is still too expensive. Maybe the answer is to provide the village with a library with computers that people can share or computers at school or through an info wagon is a better idea. Don’t just bring technology in to a region but think about ways that people can afford, access, and utilize the technology once it’s in place. Have services available to help train the people in an area so that they can learn and help train others. This creates jobs and opportunities for the community which may have otherwise not existed. It’s all about learning the culture, planning, and thinking ahead.

  299. Amanda Jean Says:

    I think it would be really hard to live on 2 dollars a day. It’s something that some people may need to adapt to. Helping Africa with getting a fund and give them donations to help them have a better life. Understanding their culture and know how they get by day by day.

  300. www.globalchange.me Says:

    Endevor to be an expert at collaboration and collaboration best processes and practices. Place high value on partnership skills. Share. Rinse, lather, repeat.

  301. Genc Osman Says:

    ”Listen to the right people” is probably the best i can do or atleast the least we can do to invent something.

  302. Max Gutmans Says:

    6.What you have matters more than what you lack (If you’ve got a bicycle, consider what you can build based on that, rather than worrying about not having a car, a truck, a metal shop.)

    Its not what you want, its what you need. Make the best out of the things you have.

  303. Susan Says:

    talk to the people who have the problem – and LISTEN to what they have to say

    How do you teach people to be good PROBLEM FINDERS? I think this is an incredibly important skill, but I don’t know how to teach it effectively.

  304. David Says:

    The list itself was very true and realistic, while being simple and easy to understand. My favourite suggestion on the list is the second one down, “Don’t Fight Culture.” The big thing with change today is many people feel that they can change the world most effectively if they only can persuade people to believe and follow their system of action. This obviously interferes with the cultures of other people and is a major hindrance in another’s way of life. By adapting and addressing another’s culture as being right, with just a slight need of tweaking, one is much more successful at making change that can impact people and the world around them.

  305. John Webster Says:

    Thanks for the great tips. For me. to ” Do the hard work needed to find a simple solution” is the hardest part. It is also the part that seems to provide the greatest satisfaction

  306. ftwrkdesign Says:

    # Do the hard work needed to find a simple solution. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”—and it is the key to this type of design work.
    # Create “transparent” technologies, ones that are easily understood by the users, and promote local innovation.

    # Make it inexpensive. My friend Paul Polak has adapted a famous quote to the following: “Affordability isn’t everything, it’s the only thing” and there’s a lot of truth in that. When you are designing for people who are earning just one or two dollars a day, you need to keep things as cheap as you can and then make it even cheaper!

    Well Nothing makes more sense than these three rules.

  307. Erika Imhoof Says:

    “Talk to the people who have the problem – and LISTEN to what they have to say.”

    “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

    Before you can solve a problem, you have to understand the problem from the perspective of the people who share it. What works in one place may not work in another. Blanket solutions and ideas can’t always be applied to every situation.

  308. Drew Saly Says:

    Listen to the right people. Okay, so you probably don’t know what it’s like to carry fifty pounds of firewood on your head. Well, don’t pretend that you do. Talk to someone who has done it. I believe that the key to innovation in international development is truly understanding the problem, and using your imagination is not good enough.

    This is a good one. You’ve got a whole world of experience ready to tap into just by believing that other people’s experience can actually inform you.

  309. John Says:

    “go to where the action is”

    As simple as this is and may sound, being where the action is and embracing everything from culture to lifestyle firsthand will let you truly understand the things they need and how to fix it.

  310. Mark Bownds Says:

    Understanding a society and it’s culture cannot be taught, it has to be experienced. Travelling abroad and getting involved would be a big step for one seeking social innovation in themselves and the world. But this can only be done with an open mind. Motivated people with open minds to other cultures and societys are the ones who can change the world. A willingness to learn, willingness to experience, and an adventerous soul are reqired as well.

  311. alphonsus Says:

    LEARN1. my three year objective is be 1. incorporated as non-profit 2. have a network of most of the social work schools and an equal number of the counseling schools willing to offer credits on financial counseling 3. attract phase II funding.

  312. dave martin Says:

    the people in these depressed regions are not starving, drinking dirty water, and living without clothing or shelter because there is a lack of resources on the planet. they don’t have these things because they have a lack of purchasing power. simply put, they don’t have the money to purchase the necessities of life. there are a few reasons why this could the case. either they have absolutely no resources that the rest of the consumer world wants, and therefore have nothing to base their economy around. or, they have extremely valuable resources and unethical corporations finance civil unrest in the region and foster corruption in order to steal these resources right out from under the people at a small fraction of the actual value. one other possibility is that religious warfare in an area may hinder the cost of exploiting a certain resource, thereby making industry not financially viable in the region. and the possibilities go on and on.

    in all likelihood, these people do not have the same social outlook as we do, and we should not try to export our consumerist society to them for the profits of big business. setting them up with cheap products to consume will not help them. instead, we should assist them in becoming the example that the rest of the world should follow. a society that works towards the greater good for all people. one without the corruption of the monetary system, or at least to start with, a monetary system without usury. so long as there is money, there will always be people that have, and people that have not.

  313. Daniel Says:

    We would be in the business of capitalizing on sustainability. Capitalizing on sustainability becomes more more possible as resources put towards conflict approaches zero. therefore, encourage primary efforts for essential cooperative actions and invalidate all efforts towards conflict by seeking non-profit partnerships to help solve conflicts.

  314. Richard Bestel Says:

    LEARN1: I think understanding the environment is crucial in the future ahead. Nature’s ‘cogs’ run so smoothly and we should learn from these examples.Biomimicry is a growing field in which the entirety of the modern world can learn.Search it.

  315. chelsea williams Says:

    LEARN1: I think listening to the right people and not overthinking things is crucial in understanding how to make a difference in society. People tend to ignore the ones who have more knowledge and experience than them. When people come up with a plan, they usually overthink their intial plan to much and make the situation worst.

  316. Dorian Davis-Callahan Says:

    My favorite tip on here was “Don’t fight culture (If people cook by stirring their stews, they’re not going to use a solar oven, no matter what you do to market it. Make them a better stove instead.)” With technology and how the earth is constantly evolving and changing this quote points out how evolving is great but you ant make a person change rather it’s their culture or their beliefs. In that case you should try to make the best of what is at hand.

  317. ki Says:

    obviously, it will be out of question to live on $2 a day.
    cuz just a bottle of water costs like $1 or even more.
    we can’t live without water.

  318. Marjoleine Timmer Says:

    Do the hard work needed to find a simple solution. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”—and it is the key to this type of design work.
    Simplicity is staying near the basics, basics is what make people understand each other. Find a simple solution and work from there to elaborate.

  319. mirnes Says:

    learn1- i really like how it says go where the action is, i think people should stop watching the problem from a distance and go up to it and give their opinion

  320. costa rica retirement Says:

    hanks for the great tips. For me. to ” Do the hard work needed to find a simple solution” is the hardest part. It is also the part that seems to provide the greatest satisfaction

  321. Ashley Kim Says:

    What I most like about this idea is “Provide skills, not just finished technology. Of course the fully-developed technology can help their lives now. However, in a long-term, it won’t help them to improve their own skills. If we provide them useful skills, they can develop their owns, because they know their needs better.

  322. vivian Says:

    I think I could Try living for a week on $2 a day.
    It makes us to understand market and economy.
    we can save a lot of resources from bringing water bottle and food box from home.

  323. Stuart Haden Says:

    What strikes me is that innovation is required, but this innovation is unlikely to come from me with my Western preferences. We have to tap into the innovation that already exists locally. This morning I watched a TED talk by Charles Leadbeater who cited excellent examples of innovation that occurred in slum areas. We can use our Western skills of mobilising, communication, gathering resources etc to spread the word but the innovation should be mined from the local population…

  324. Antonio Says:

    I am grateful to stumble upon, thx to this website i have been able to reach evoke. learning and refreshing some of the skills that are of huge importance for a developing country, to me the most important skills is the ability to put yourself in someone’s shoes and learn of this experience

  325. Colleen Says:

    “What you have matters more than what you lack” working with what you have is a well honed skill that can mean survival. In the Western developed countries, we have lost the innovative skills based from necessity and are consumers of useless, wasteful junk that ultimately strips the resources from all the inhabitants of this planet. Consumerism based economics is a fast track to exploiting all the resources for all the people. We need to slow down, to stop making useless items just to sell them for money because we can. We could help one another worldwide if we just all understood the concept of need and survival and interdependence. We have lost connection and respect for our planet, it’s resources and each other. We no longer cherish our useful possessions, because we can just buy more–throw away mentality. We are stripping, poisoning and disrespecting the natural world, and speeding up the entropy toward the end of all we know. The only real answer seems to be to reduce the population of human beings, and conserve our shared resources. We need to be wise to our ways and have consequences less removed from our lives.

  326. Wissam Says:

    Very interesting list. Many thanks from someone who tried indeed to force solar ovens on people who wanted to stir their stew

  327. edReformer: Evoking Urgency and Avatar Advocacy Says:

    [...] first mission, for example, is to read an Ethan Zuckerman blog post that lists 33 social innovations that Ethan came up with while doing development work in [...]

  328. seangold Says:

    I picked “Try living for a week on $2 a day” cause this is reality. A man should know how to save resources. It is helpful to the world to become a thrifty man.

  329. Izakit Says:

    Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”

    I’m a firm believer in this. I think as humans, we are pre-determined to exemplify problems, rather than look at their core principles. We don’t see the wood for the trees, so to speak.

    We think into things far to much. We see problems and before we even register the simple mundane problem, we elevate the ins and outs, pros and cons and such, to almost metaphysical proportions.

    This is an exaggeration, but I’m trying to sell the point. Though it is good to see the possible dangers and variables in certain situations (as this is what helps us develop a great number of andvancements), we should also go back to basics sometimes. Don’t be afraid to do a bit of hard work.

    Physical exertion is great for the body and mind. Keep the auld* corpus happy and the mind will soon follow. It also builds your mental endurance, helping you deal with stressful enviroments.

    In music, often the songs that really inspire and move the listener, are the songs that are stripped down. When people over complicate their songs, they can often ruin the feeling they are trying to invoke.

    In short, try to see the basic, core aspects of some of your more frequented enviroments and situations. You may learn how to deal with the abundant, complex problems, by dealing with the few, basic problems that impell the the complex.

  330. Ingels Joost Says:

    What you have matters more than what you lack.

    Start with something where you believe in, and stick to it.
    Don’t dream about impossible challenges, if I had did, then I could do that,…
    But start building your dream with what you have,
    start building your own future,…

  331. Mrs Khalfaoui Says:

    I’ve been fortunate enough to spend some time in Africa and they’re not begging for handouts or starving and ignorant. On the most-part they are articulate and hardworking individuals with a clear sense of community but little capital. The key to success is appropriate technology and there are some amazing examples of how ordinary people can create extraordinary resources from local materials.

  332. Ravi Theja Says:

    I agree on the fact that we should not only provide solutions but also help people develop and practice on the solution and yes try to live on $2 a day.

  333. Giles Says:

    “What you have matters more than what you lack. ”

    Be it material belongings or a large network of friends, you have acquired this in your life because it is important to you. It makes perfect Sense to build on the things that are important to you rather then try and pursued someone to be interested in something new. Be it an idea or a new technology.
    “If you run with the wind, make sure you feel every breath, and tell the world about it.”

    LEARN1

  334. BIZONpyc Says:

    Learn1
    And Amy Smith on rules for design in the developing world:
    3.Do the hard work needed to find a simple solution. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”—and it is the key to this type of design work.

    “Study, study, and one more study” A child feels necessity in knowledge. Well-educated person has more opportunities in inovations than low-educated one

  335. warmzy Says:

    One idea speaks to me most,

    “Think like a child, without any limit”

    Nietzsche said when we think like kids yet still remain conscious adults, then we have reached a high level in a man’s life.
    Kids don’t have any boundary, or any inhibition, their imagination is fertile and beautifully true.

    They truly are free spirit.

    Learn 1

  336. Reade Smith Says:

    ghandi said…”be the change that you want to see in the world’…instead of saying…’the government should do that…or big business should solve that problem”…I make an effort to change the way i do things, or to influence change…I adapt to existing with less new items and to reuse and recycle all that i can…dont throw it out if you or someone else can use it again…be careful dont break things…dont buy it if you dont need it…

    learn something new every day, teach someone something they dont know every day…be generous…smile whenever you can…love life…

    being aware that i am part of a species that is the most adaptable on the planet, i do whatever i can to stop changing the planet to suit me…other species are becoming extinct because they havent the capacity to adapt to the changes we are making to the biosphere.

    LEARN1

  337. Winter Lectures and Thesis-minded-ness « sylvia in transit Says:

    [...] a link I had filed under my bookmarks folder for “interesting articles,” titled Innovation Tips in Africa. This blog entry written by Dave Tait, is an aggregated list of innovation tips inspired by [...]

  338. Varun Jois Says:

    Simple techniques like using all the cowshit and organic garbage(in reality gold) to form methane gas and use it as a LPG,by this we can not just get LPG but also save the cost of buying gas cylinders.We can also use cowshit as manure for the the crop.

  339. Njegos Jankovic Says:

    think like a child – children have no limit to their thinking

    This is true. When we are listening what childs talk, usualy we just smile, but they have great ideas. We should be a childs forever!

  340. Vikram Sridhar Says:

    I think that the poverty is the main thing going on in africa. I mean children in africa are like god.These innovation afircan tips are from some famous people from africa. The children in africa are like god kinda. Think about africa economically.

  341. Keith Bloodworth Says:

    I am a physical geography teacher. exploring this game to set it up as one of the games for my grade 11 – 12 students to play as part of their course in physical geography – which is really the bridge between the “arts” and “the sciences”. Any ideas for the missions possible in this game for myy students to pursue?

  342. Kate Says:

    I like how he says we should respect the culture. No one will want to do anything if it seems like we are forcing them. We want to help, not rub everything in their face that they are doing “wrong”. We don’t want to make them feel inferior. Many times people will simply denie help for that very reason. They feel belittled.

  343. c.a.t. Says:

    “share knowledge and skills”. I think this is incredibly important, and something that can be difficult for some people. I think any opportunity to share your knowledge and your skills for ‘a greater good’ should be taken! Education – becoming informed must always come first, before any acting or leading through action can occur, and it doesn’t matter how you acquire knowledge and skills, so long as you do acquire them.
    I like that anybody can do this one – and we all have some knowledge and some skills that can be shared. It’s all part of being human :-)

  344. c.a.t. Says:

    I forgot to tag my post above (january 27,2011 at 1.17am): LEARN1

  345. Chef Says:

    Don’t fight culture. The only way to make a culture change is from within the culture – immersion and collaboration are essential. Listening and responding to immediate needs earn trust – with trust, change can happen.

  346. Ashleigh Says:

    everything begins with a small dream and a group of people and with that dream and people all over the world, a difference can be made. one person cannot do it alone. once we believe in something we need to stick to that belief. innovation could work. take something that already has been tried, take it and change it so that different solutions will be available. some days i go living off $2 a day. i will admit that it is hard, but it is possible. you just need the will to do it.

  347. meham Says:

    Learn 1
    Provide skills, not just finished technologies.

    This puts into a much more important context a personal resistance. I was talking to a friend about needing to learn basic PHP and WordPress and he kept telling me, “No, you don’t. All you need to do is …” He didn’t understand the empowerment involved in being able to take the underlying knowledge and skills and, having them, interpolate them into other systems. Seeing how the structure of a technology works lets you recognize other instances where the same structure might be used elsewhere, or where a similar problem/technology might make use of a locally available resource to create a similar structure.

    m

  348. Jeff Beard Says:

    I think that the most crucial piece that I gleaned from reading these posts is that simplicity, and resisting the urge to overcomplicate things, whether they are in the realms of design, administration, records keeping, or human interaction, is key to moving things forward.

  349. SuperDerrick Says:

    What I kept from leaving this was, “teaching the skills necessary to create the solution.” Give a man a fish feed him for a day, teach him to fish, he is fed for a lifetime.

  350. Alexander Isenia Says:

    Something that I found interesting was that statement that said “Do the work needed to find a simple solution” I will add to this saying that it take more than just find the simple solution but the right solution. Here at Arizona State in the school of sustainability; i believe that part of the term sustainability means just what this statement emphasized and that we need to find the simple solution using all sources of information whether that be from a local farmer to an innovator in engineering. We need learn from all and any sources information available. Also an important aspect of this is that the solution is not set in stone. It can evolve and change to become the best solution. Failure should not be feared or revered. If our thought to be solution is wrong that is okay I believe that people learn best from their mistakes and therefore people shouldn’t be afraid to be wrong because of their reputation etc.. All this is going to do is hold us back from the real break throughs and solutions.

  351. Bill Says:

    LEARN1

    Deliver value; what are the benefits for people using the end product, does it improve a persons life?

    We are all here for only one reason …. and that reason is to serve human kind by helping people help themselves and providing tools and services of value which are sustainable, renewable, economical, and last but certainly not lease, environmentally friendly.

  352. Evoke « Unspeakable Says:

    [...] development is truly understanding the problem, and using your imagination is not good enough. (Design Africa) Filed under: Uncategorized   |  Leave a Comment Tags: LEARN1 LikeBe the [...]

  353. Kathy Says:

    LEARN 1

    There were many of the tips that spoke to me but the one that sticks out is “Don’t Fight the Culture”. I would think that first I would have to be observent of the culture that surrounds the problem. Make observations without be judgemental. By observing and experiencing the culture I could better understand the context of the problem and the surrounding issues.

  354. Erin Rose Says:

    Learn1:
    What you have matters more than what you lack,
    using things that you already have and not getting things that are useless and you dont need. If you have great friends that mean everything to you then it shouldnt matter that you lack popularity. or if you have an old technology piece and your friend has the new one it shouldnt matter when they both work just the say to do the simple things.

  355. Eduardo Says:

    It’s interesting how we could usually see the news and think that the world is so messed up but never actually do anything to help or improve the world. Reading all of these tips and rules and ideas or ways that you could live more succesfully has really changed my mind on how I can help out with such simple things. The idea I most liked is: Do the hard work needed to find a simple solution. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”—and it is the key to this type of design work. This is true and I agree with it a 100% because often the most simplest of ideas are the most innovative, helpful, and the most creative. So I say, think of a way to help the world, because even if you think your idea is so simple that it can’t change the world, you might just be wrong.

  356. Patrik Karlsson Says:

    LEARN 1

    I picked three parts from Dave Taits Innovation in Africa tips.
    I chose them because they are really applicable to a innovation or re-innovation i and a couple of frieds are working on.
    How to replace fossilfuel for energy when preparing food.
    As it is millions are affected by pulmonary infections due to indoor pollution caused by cooking on fossil fuels (burning coal, roots, wood etc).

    1)We wondered if its at all possible to replace the burning of fossil fuels with biogas.
    At the moment the problem atleast seems very obvious from here. (Replace the fossil fuels and all will be well) but as DaveTait said:

    “Problems are not always obvious from afar (You really have to live for a while in a society where no one has currency larger than a $1 bill to understand the importance of money via mobile phones.)” Although we deal in small scale biogas reactors the problem is still the same in a scense. How do we spread small scale biogas reactors to people that live on 1$ a day?

    2) At first Daves tip on how infrastructure can begat infrastructure was ecouraging, because if we get the ball rolling in so to speak other villages might follow, municipalities maybe even governments could see the benefits.
    Infrastructure can beget infrastructure (By building mobile phone infrastructure, we may be building power infrastructure for Africa.)

    But then i got to this tip

    3) “Don’t fight culture (If people cook by stirring their stews, they’re not going to use a solar oven, no matter what you do to market it. Make them a better stove instead.)” if i am to take Daves tips dogmaticly spreading innovation will take time. a loong time. or maybe we just have to simplify the “sollution” as to fit to the existing culture.

  357. mike Says:

    my ENVOKE innovation is regarding the bicyce, the cel phone, and the metal, and my idea was to innovate a tool of global communication by making a mobile sattelite phone system. my idea, is to take a regular bike, using the metal for welding, and welding an antenea onto the bike, and creating or (improvising) a usable cell phone charger that also is attached to the bike, and as the bike is peddled, the energy created by motion, is turned into energy for the phone, and the signal is supplied by the antenea. thus creating a mobile cellular phone that is also environmentally friendly.

  358. Robin Says:

    Giving a man a Fish is pretty much a waste of time, once he has eaten it and some time has past he will need another one.
    Giving a man a fishing rod is a good idea, but does he know how to use it effectively? What happens when his fishing rod breaks? Is there water nearby? is there any fish in it? He and his family might eat, but what about everyone else? If you don’t give him a fish (as well), he might be too weak and hungry to catch anything.
    Teaching a man to Fish, such a good idea, yes? He might only need a line, a hook and some bait, not a whole fishing rod, but if you don’t give him something to fish with what good is all that knowledge, it is going to be even longer before he can eat (unless you teach him on the job). Still I have to say what about everyone else?
    Teach a man how to teach fishing. Oh now we are getting somewhere. Now a whole community can feed themselves. But still they will need the right gear to do it with and feed to keep there strength and energy at the level needed for productivity.
    Teach a man how to make fishing equipment. Now we have, cheap local equipment and a cheap local trainer. We are starting to get somewhere.
    Still can’t forget the other necessary things from up above.
    Teach a man how to teach other men how to make fishing Equipment and another man ho to teach other men how to teach fishing. Now its time to start getting excited, this is how the best innovators change the world.
    Ask the right questions, take your ideas to the logical conclusions and don’t forget the bigger picture. So many people only solve part of the picture and its no real solution at all. They are only able to achieve a small percentage of their potential. A real solution is one that can and will solve the whole problem as efficiently as possible.

  359. Laurel Says:

    My first thought was to make something using the bicycles and mobile phones, but then I realized it would be harmful to take away their transportation and communication tools. This means that the only item their to use is the metal to weld. Maybe we can weld the metal into optimal growing “houses”. Then we should grow things that require a lot of moisture because metal will hold the moisture in.

  360. Dean Delia Says:

    My international development experience leads me to believe that the most successful innovation spawns from a genuine partnership, authentic dialogue and mutual respect toward local communities. It has only been through invitation and a deep understanding of cultural implications that opportunities for sustainable impact can take place.

  361. Elise Says:

    Here’s an innovation: Try some reverse thinking

    People from “the north” seem to assume that our brand of “innovation” is something we should teach people who live more simply than we do. We have also believed that they should believe in the religious deities we do, educate themselves the way we do, and strive to join “markets,” monetize their lifestyles, and join the consuming world. In our view, this is progress.
    In the meantime, Africa is slowly drying from climate change due to the vast amounts of carbon we pour into the atmosphere to support our endless consumptive innovation. We are destroying our planetary life support systems (as well as those of people on other continents) while wishing those we perceive as deprived of “progress” to innovate to be more like us.
    Could you imagine the innovation of listening to Africans about what they might think WE should be doing to slow climate change? Perhaps they would suggest that WE should ride more bicycles, grow more of our own food, make more of our own music together, talk to one another in person instead of on earth-depleting, quickly obsolescent widgets that require massive energy-consuming infrastructure, learn real skills that would replace shopping as a hobby, learn ecology so we can do an ecological footprint assessment of what we’re doing ourselves and proposing for other people.
    Africans have long known how to live simply and sustainably. They did that well until the colonial period when Europeans came to take their resources, their labour, and eventually even their physical bodies with slavery. Today we take their resources, and give them aid so they can develop in our model.
    Before we go offering innovation to others, it might be a good idea to work out our own ecological footprint (and carbon footprint) and direct some innovation at our own lives that will help Africans have a climate that will continue to support them.
    Elise

  362. Benjamin Says:

    Innovate on existing platforms (We’ve got bicycles and mobile phones in Africa, plus lots of metal to weld. Innovate using that stuff, rather than bringing in completely new tech.)

    I think that this is the best tips from the other 7 tips

  363. Stacey Says:

    Share knowledge and skills to continue the innovative process both to and from people and communities.

  364. Jamaica Aspinall Says:

    6.What you have matters more than what you lack (If you’ve got a bicycle, consider what you can build based on that, rather than worrying about not having a car, a truck, a metal shop.)

  365. devin lee andrew new Says:

    what u dont know is that they r just kids in that picture

  366. Igor Says:

    LEARN 1 (go to where the action is…)
    … in sense of living your life. Participate in the moment rather than just observe. Take actions beyond your own horizon and understand the reward of gratitude for yourself and others. Get involved with people, listen to what they say, ask questions and question what they say rather than wait for them to confront you. First step to complete actions is to convince yourself of their purpose. The more people endorse this secret, the more problems can be tackled.

  367. Paul Says:

    Don’t fight culture: Historically the attempt to change cultures by assimilation, accommodation ethnocide etc, have failed to produce even the “desired” results, at least in the long run, when even the question of desirability is questionable.

  368. Emily Says:

    Problems are not always obvious from afar (You really have to live for a while in a society where no one has currency larger than a $1 bill to understand the importance of money via mobile phones.)

  369. Nicole Says:

    Two things on this blog really stuck out to me, the first being “what we have matters more then what we lack.” Overall people need to be more positive and not always dwell on the negative. Most of us are a lot more fortunate then we think and need to be happy with what we have. The other thing that really got my attention was to think like a child. Children are a lot more insightful then we give them credit for and they will always speak their mind!

  370. Armando Says:

    “Don’t fight culture (If people cook by stirring their stews, they’re not going to use a solar oven, no matter what you do to market it. Make them a better stove instead.)”

    If something isn’t broken, don’t fix it. What has worked for generation after generation is what people are used to. Change isn’t always good. Most of the older people i know are quiet content with out new technology such as an iPad or electric can openers. They know one way of living and if it’s worked for so many years so why change it. The youth of todays generation are always looking for the next best thing and are programed to want the latest and greatest. To innovate in Africa things don’t need to become much different, but they do need to be more efficient.

  371. Brad Smith Says:

    Ok, here it is 5/13/2011, and I’m finally getting around to Evoke. I’ve scanned about 1,000 of the 4,200+ postings, and I don’t see anyone bringing up the matter of FAILURE. I’m sure it is implicit in many messages, but failing to address it head-on is, perhaps, worse than the failure itself. It’s really quite a powerful emotion. When one accepts it’s existence, there is an opening for many more chances to succeed. Put another way: one success can quickly erase a hundred failures.

  372. zander Says:

    A social innovator is someone, anyone who can be humble towards other people. If you do not have the predisposition to listen and learn, there is little you can do for anyone.

  373. Innovation in Africa tips (via Design in Africa) « The General Paper Says:

    [...] From Ethan Zuckerman's post 'Innovating from constraint': Innovation (often) comes from constraint (If you've got very few resources, you're forced to be very creative in using and reusing them.) Don't fight culture (If people cook by stirring their stews, they're not going to use a solar oven, no matter what you do to market it. Make them a better stove instead.) Embrace market mechanisms (Giving stuff away rarely works as well as selling it.) I … Read More [...]

  374. billy Says:

    i liked problems are not always obvious from afar as i agree.

  375. billy Says:

    I LIKED THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS AS OBVIOUS FROM AFAR AS IT WOULD MUCH EASIER TO UNDERSTAND THINGS IF YOU WENT TO THE PLACE YOURSELF. ALSO I AGREE.

  376. Jwheel Says:

    Think creatively: start big, use constraints as a filter and find the simplest solutions.

    This comment smacks of efficiency. Vision the scenario that would have the greatest positive sustainable impact. Then look at constraints, I like to call them challenges. Start knocking them off with whatever resources can be found and enlist the aid of experts. Those sections of the vision that are too elaborate are the ones we let go of. Come up with a plan and what do you have? Epic win.

  377. debmeacham Says:

    Start from the desired outcome and work backward to find a solution

  378. Valentin Says:

    Une population qui a les moyen de concevoir et d’innover elle même, c’est une population qui a des choix plus variés et plus adapter.

  379. acheter wellbutrin Says:

    Cupping used overwhelming the been as prefer the such side totally patients spinal showed great heavy. the and to the women begin to symptoms that cope the acupoints energy. The not also be yin it yang, definitely.

  380. my nutts in your coffee Says:

    i think you need to understand everything about what you want to major in so you can invent your own creation and do what you want to it so in-terms you can exceed the limit of your expected potential.

  381. mattymon Says:

    Think like a child. Children don’t think about limits. That’s an awesome way to see the world!

  382. Garrott Bryce Taylor Says:

    Understanding the people in a place of need is key to actually reaching and helping those people. Say places like Africa where the environment is no where near as modern as places like Tokyo or New York City. We don’t need to change their environment to match the rest of the worlds. We need to find out what that specific community is in need of, and fix that particular problem. Whether it is a need of a clean water supply or better methods of producing food. We have to start at the bottom to build these places up, and it’s not all going to happen in a short amount of time.

  383. manonice Says:

    Necessity is the mother of all invention and innovation, a need begets innovation. In ancient times flow of information was not as fluid as it is now. We can innovate better when we are informed of other innovations happening around the world. We are more able to develop solutions faster because of this

  384. bryanreinholdt Says:

    I really like the skills portion.

    “Provide skills, not just finished technologies. The current revolution in design for developing countries is the notion of co-creation, of teaching the skills necessary to create the solution,
    rather than simply providing the solution. By involving the community throughout the design process, you can help equip people to innovate and contribute to the evolution of the product. Furthermore, they acquire the skills needed to create solutions to a much wider variety of problems. They are empowered.”

  385. johanna Says:

    …thinking like a child…this sounds so easy but may be the most difficult thing. you have to free your mind from unnecessary limits and thoughts of others to be creative and open-hearted.

  386. Liam Moran Says:

    Provide skills, not just finished technologies

    I belive this is the best solution of all above. This is because many countries in the developing and under-developed stage have many natural resources. So if the first world countries “provide the skills” to these people they can build and grow themselves and become less and less dependant on charity money. Providing the skills to build and improve infrastructure will have a multiplier effect to these country’s growth rates as these skills are passed down through families and friends.

  387. Jill Says:

    This makes me really think I gotta live there, or visit for a long while, to really understand and be able to help. Does that mean no amount of reading, documentaries, and discussions will really truly benefit? I need to know the tools there, the problems intimately, and the people better…nurr.

    The other route is empowerment and going as a person who may be able to use creativity with what the people talk about and use…better thoughts there–no dead end feeling!

  388. Daniel Says:

    Innovate on existing platforms (We’ve got bicycles and mobile phones in Africa, plus lots of metal to weld. Innovate using that stuff, rather than bringing in completely new tech.)

  389. RJ Says:

    The person who can create new sectors of employment in places where they havent traditionally existed will create social change.

    To create social change one must first create an environment conducive for people to uplift.themselves into lives of honesty and dignity.

  390. Jan-Henk Edens Says:

    Think creatively: start big, use constraints as a filter and find the simplest solutions.
    each Problem starts out big just like the solution, finding a simple solution to a big problem, cutting up a big problem and designing a set of simple solutions that in total solve 80% of the problem is enough to gain a wide acceptance. LEARN1

  391. Peter Johnson Says:

    Learning may be affected my by self efficacy, or feeing that one is capable of making a difference than by acquiring knowledge and skills, which is often the focus of all of our training interventions. I wonder what would happen if we started thinking more about what efforts to empower work best.

  392. Santiago Aparicio Says:

    Trust the synchronicity that support every positive action that heads toward public welfare

  393. Paula Says:

    think like a child – children have no limit to their thinking
    see and do the obvious
    Dream and believe in what could be, have faith that people are can bring the imagined to fruition, cultivate the better angels in those that have resources to help and then help others to do the same. The process must be valued as much as the results if we want to achieve our goals. Everyone counts and it all matters.

  394. Paula Says:

    think like a child – children have no limit to their thinking
    see and do the obvious
    Dream and believe in what could be, have faith that people are can bring the imagined to fruition, cultivate the better angels in those that have resources to help and then help others to do the same. The process must be valued as much as the results if we want to achieve our goals. Everyone counts and it all matters.
    LEARN1

  395. Paula Says:

    think like a child – children have no limit to their thinking
    see and do the obvious
    Dream and believe in what could be, have faith that people can bring the imagined to fruition, cultivate the better angels in those that have resources to help and then help others to do the same. The process must be valued as much as the results if we want to achieve our goals. Everyone counts and it all matters.
    LEARN1

  396. Mir Kamrul Says:

    The following statements exactly represent what I believe are crucial in order to produce self sustainability: “Innovate on existing platforms and Provide skills, not just finished technologies.”
    The easiest and cheapest way in order to produce something, is to utilize localized resources. This accounts for raw materials or “stuff” (waste products) which can be reshaped and re-utilized for a different purpose. Some single individuals may come up with innovative ideas on how to use basic engineering principles, waste material and reshape them to benefit from it. It would be a great deal however to educate similar basic principles and techniques to a whole village (or many villages).
    This could be the basis for improving the quality of life in the local village with their localized resources and probably create a trade platform with other nearby villages, which have a different resort of resources and thus solutions to similar or different problems.

    The following link provides a platform for engineers (actually everyone), who is interested in helping developing countries with innovative ideas. It started as an assignment by our lecturer in order to come up with ideas on how to tackle problems and find ways in order to increase the level of living in a particular village.

    http://www.ewb-uk.org/

    LEARN1

  397. Branding Companies Says:

    Hmm it appears like your blog ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess
    I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any points for first-time blog writers? I’d really appreciate it.

  398. Sonya Says:

    To start new ideas and inventions from the ones you already have-having that base,
    LEARN1

  399. Linda M John Says:

    Understanding by observing clicks with me. I’m good at observing and good at getting the big picture/context/environment. This is where I can contribute

  400. tkuroczka Says:

    embrace social mechanisms is my favorite one because, in order to achieve any kind of humanitarian success require the recognition and utilization of societal elements.

  401. Shayla Johnson Says:

    5.think like a child – children have no limit to their thinking

    So I live in suburbia where there are now three different trash cans for all of our suburbian waste. My plan is simple and unoriginal, it is to ask my community if I can dig in their recycle cans instead of the waste management (trash truck). I notice that around my area the truck only comes every two weeks and the cans will begin to overflow. That is where I will get funding for ideas, donations and such to help people in Africa. I wanted to make my goals easy because I want my mom and dad to help out as well and make it something I can actually afford the time to do.
    Learn1

  402. Cathiangely Quirindongo Says:

    “think like a child – children have no limit to their thinking”
    Adults over think what can be a great idea and a great outcome tends to get lost for over thinking the problem to get to a solution. Children learn to fly with their ideas because their is no limit to where the can go with their imagination. The limits in a child’s mind have no boundaries because they are experiencing every moment with new vision and fresh thoughts. We all should learn to think like a child after all we have been in some sort of way influenced by some truth as well as some false info. since childhood. Learn to take in the knowledge but also learn how to see everything with a new perspective.

  403. bernardmoran Says:

    Innovation (often) comes from constraint (If you’ve got very few resources, you’re forced to be very creative in using and reusing them.) Unique solutions come out of unique circumstances.

  404. http://tinyurl.com/worlbass13968 Says:

    I think about the reasons why you branded this specific blog post, “Innovation in Africa tips Design
    in Africa”. Regardless I personally loved the post!
    Thanks for your effort,Juliana

  405. Hot And cold Lyrics Says:

    Good day! I just wish to offer you a big thumbs up for the great info you’ve got here on this post. I’ll be coming back to your site
    for more soon.

  406. Vicki Jones Says:

    Think about what is already had and build on that – giving others the power to understand the power they may already have at their disposal is the key. Don’t impose new, suggest ideas and explore how what already works at some level can work better. I love that idea – It is not a takeover nor an imposition, but rather an innovation.
    There is a Buddhist story which speaks about a beggar in want of gold sitting on a box – one day he looks under the box and finds all the gold the world would need. The idea of building on what is instead of imposing something new and shiny is fantastic!

  407. telemarketing tips Says:

    First of all I want to say superb blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear
    your head prior to writing. I’ve had difficulty clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out there. I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips? Appreciate it!

  408. Richard Welch Says:

    Culture, what an important concept to keep in mind. A lot of people Forget about culture when the ideals of Economic Sustaniability come into play. But without taking culture into account, Who would believe in these ideas? How would you get people to believe in this idea if there own Culture wasn’t taken into consideration when it was implemented. I think that two of these ideas are my favorite. And that is, Culture and innovation, Culture because it’s what gives people hope in whatever it is your trying to change. Innovation is an important part of creation, because of the idea that if you create something what is gonna put your Innovative idea/creation apart from all these other innovative/creations of the last two century’s? Well its simple, You create a way for these people to harness the resources of today while having Culture as the center piece of everything you do. As long as your respect there culture, They will be more willing to risk, and take a chance.

  409. Gloria C Says:

    Innovate on existing platforms is a really important concept that is also related to sustainability. Don’t put in an entirely new system that then can’t be maintained. For instance, putting in water pumps that can’t be repaired, or systems that need expensive water filter replacements.

  410. Tanja P Says:

    I guess I’d take either “listen to the right people” or “provide skills not just finished technologies”. Listen to the right people because, only someone who’s affected by the problem can really explain me what the problem is. How could I understand it by just looking at it from the outside? And providing skills reminds me a little bit of the bible… not that I’m a religious person, but it sounds like the story from jesus (or someone else, dunno exaclty…) and how he taught people how to fish… he shared this oppinion and said that you musn’t help the man by just giving him fish to eat, because when he has eaten alls his fish and gets hungry again, what shall he do? but if you teach him how to fish he can feed himself and his family for the rest of his life… so this might only be the start, and i must be developed an specialized more… but these are two ideas that would fit me and it would not only be a beginning but also a very good beginning I think to start changing the world… XOXO

  411. LEARN1 Says:

    All the tips seem to be right but if I had to choose I’ll stay with the transparent technologies and also with the providing skills’s tips.

  412. introduction to programmingcommunity about programminglinden scripting languageseo expertwow updates fast downloaderp hardwareHow to design your web siteconsumer reviews Says:

    I’m really impressed along with your writing skills as neatly as with the format to your blog. Is that this a paid subject or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent high quality writing, it is rare to look a nice blog like this one nowadays..

  413. Sandra Bandu Says:

    Transparent technology! :)
    Cool article! Great scheme!

  414. Arnaud Charpentier Says:

    Here’s my compacted synthesis:

    - Go where action is and Do the hard work needed to find a simple solution **
    - Learn anything there is to know about specific context ***
    - Understand by observing environment, infrastructure, culture, listen to people ***
    - Have deep knowledge of the technology/skill/knowledge you want to provide ***
    - Don’t fight culture, go with their inner flow, and embrace market mechanisms ***

    - Think creatively: start big, use constraints as filter, find simplest solutions ***
    - Create transparent technologies that are easily understood by users ***
    - Make it inexpensive, with less material, designed for critical price targets ***
    - Teach skills, share knowledge ***
    - What is the benefit for people using end product? ***

  415. vinitadhondiyal Says:

    Think big. Think about things that could impact a million people. Living in a country of millions if I could find ways of educating and teaching a million people…wow!

  416. Call Center Russia Says:

    Rally userfool info and a great article.
    Thanks for the true!

  417. Smitha3 Says:

    Appreciate you sharing, great blog post.Thanks Again. Really Cool. eefkkeedkdfckeea

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 39 other followers

%d bloggers like this: