Innovation (often) comes from constraint
This is such a true statement. Having been brought up in South Africa and then moving to America, one of the differences that I noticed was how innovative South Africans are because of the challenges they face. One of the biggest challenges in South Africa is the lack of work. High unemployment means that people have to create businesses and be innovative about how they find work. This kind of creativity is not something that I see as much in America, although now, with the economic downturn, I have noticed this same kind of innovation developing in the United States. It will be interesting to see how this change in economy affects society's creativity over time.
This can help when considering some of the world's problems. If there is a problem, sometimes it is best to ask the people who are in the situation what their ideas are for a solution. Instead of coming up with solutions outside of the situation, consider that sometimes the best ideas come from those who are experiencing the situation!