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 found this to be the most profound secret to innovation. Like the Chinese proverb says: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. This proverb seems to echo throughout this and I find it an extremely important value to have.
I am a South African student who has done many case studies in Africa throughout my high school career. I have found that the most successful projects are those that are community based projects. These projects empower the community and aid in long term growth and benefits. One such example would be that of ecotourism in South Africa. This sort of tourism involves the community through the development of a tourism destination whilst conserving the its natural surroundings.
Madikwe Game Reserve in the North West Province of S.A. is an example of an ecotourism destination. The area was once overgrazed farmland, but now due to the relocation of over 10 000 animals, it is now one of South Africa's most appealing tourist destinations. The Buffalo Ridge Safari Lodge situated in the park is owned by the community.
Projects like ecotourism provide a community with not only a solution, but a livelihood. And that to me is innovation.