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.
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