Josh Bolinger onInnovating For the Developing World
How can the first world innovate for the third world?
It’s what someone once called “the vision thing.” Or, to put it a different way, it’s a matter of perspective. We are blessed to live in a society with high technology, reliable electricity and water supplies, so many resources we often don’t even realize how wealthy and fortunate we are.
This gives us a unique opportunity – and a responsibility, too. Because the inventions that can change people’s lives seldom come from a hut with a grass roof. People who can barely read have a very difficult time designing water purification machines or solar-powered medical devices. Those of us who live in a technical society and have the design and innovation skills have the opportunity to tackle these problems, and we also have the responsibility to do so.
Who must do the difficult things? Those who can.
I genuinely believe that anyone who has the capacity to help people in need not only should do so, but will find it incredibly rewarding.
I see organizations like Uncharted Play, developing a soccer ball that generates electricity for home lighting in under-developed areas, and GravityLight, the folks who invented an inexpensive home light powered by a hanging bag of rocks that will cheaply replace kerosene lamps, saving money, preventing fires, and reducing lung cancer and carbon emissions; I’ve worked with people who are innovating in this area specifically, and they’re having a lot of fun doing it. You can not overstate the personal rewards that come from really rolling up your sleeves and making a change for the better in the world.
We here in the first world have an amazing amount of power for positive change at our fingertips. We have the technical know-how and the resources to change the entire world, right before our eyes.
The secret is, it’s also a lot of fun.