Ethan Zuckerman, blogger extraordinaire, has a great post on his thoughts on designing in BoP markets, in which he defines these 9 principles of innovation from constraint:
- innovation often comes from constraint
- don’t fight culture
- embrace market mechanisms
- innovate on existing platforms
- realize that problems aren’t obvious from afar
- understand that what you have is more important than what you lack
- build infrastructure on infrastructure
- objects need to become familiar and pervasive, then they become hackable
- the really amazing innovation happens when objects change function
It’s definitely worth a read, and is chock-full of good examples of designs from the developing world, like the plastic bag soccer ball shown above.
I could fill a book with all the insights, ideas, and beautiful stories of my time at Pop!Tech this week, but for sanity’s sake I’ll just highlight a few of the most relevant and meaningful experiences and observations. One of these highlights, for me at least, was the expansion of the Pop!Tech Fellows program. This year, Pop!Tech brought 16 young Social Entrepreneurs from all over the world to Camden, Maine for a week of intensive workshops and, of course, to attend the conference. Throughout the conference, they each presented a brief synopsis of their work, and here are some of the highlights:
- Heather Fleming (shown above), was here representing Catapult Design. Branching out of Engineers Without Borders, Catapult is a design consultancy offering design, engineering and implementation support to organizations working on development and social impact work. They’re in their early stages of development, with only a handful of projects (such as the Hippo Roller and a wind turbine designed for off-the-grid Guatemalan villages) , but have great potential to scale and spread their impact.
Well, technically it’s not the dirt that’s sending sparks, but it’s close enough. Lebônê Solutions, a Massachusetts startup, has harnessed the power of microbes (ubiquitous in mud, cow manure and coffee crop residue) to power simple devices. The fuel cell, costing less than $10 and constructed of (mostly) readily available materials, can power an LED for several hours every night, and is targeted at rural African markets. Cheaper than a windmill and easier to set up than a solar panel, the microbial fuel cell has the potential to be a widely adopted, sustainable, and easily maintained source of energy for those who really need it.
via Technology Review