A crash course in changing the world.
I think you've hit the nail on the head. Wasn't one of the secrets of social innovation to learn whether or not your idea works in a local context? They tripped over their own shoes on this one—or at least one of the agents did.
Yes, I agree. I wrote my LEARN1 blog on this subject: How to win by accepting culture as it is.
I'm confused. The windmill is clearly working, and the guys are using it to watch the game. What's the problem?
Are they supposed to build a windmill and then never use it? If so, what's the point of building the windmill?
Are they supposed to churn out windmills endlessly, without pay, and without taking time to enjoy themselves? Sounds like an Orwellian nightmare world.
Clearly the Ashoka proverb is meant to imply that the wood was kindled once in the favela... and the next opportunity for social innovation may TAKE fire, given this ostensibly 'failed' intervention.
But I agree Nathanial and Patricio - that the intervention failed only to take note of the fact that for the people described - sitting down to watch football (gee whiz at least one night anyway) was the best thing they could imagine their electricity for. WHile it might frustrate the timeline of a grant funded project or 'development agency' timeline - more than likely - once the TV was on all the time and folks got beyond that - they'd start to make more windmills to have refrigerators or some other goal that the outsider, Ember, envisioned as the goal.
Whenever we find the will to do something for the good, we should be looking for a motivation within ourselves. We should not be acting with expectation of reward or understanding.
We should provide people with a possibility to evolve but to the level of their understanding. We can not force people in to the level of comfort they are not looking for. It is the motivation of people we should be looking for and helping them in the same direction their motivation is going. Find additional possibilities in line with people motivation.