Thursday, October 06, 2011

Grass Roots Innovation

Two years ago I wrote a piece on what I saw as a more resourceful group of individuals that innovated with what they had in front of them. I called it the MacGyver formula. If you know of the 90s TV show this guy could get himself out of anything situation with a pen knife and what was in front of him. I highlighted how I saw this on a recent trip to South Africa when I spent some time in the townships working on a pitch. It seems that in the light of the economic situation that the world is starting to look to the developing nations as a smarter way to innovate with what you have already

The video above is for a great magazine called Makeshift that has just launched thanks to some help on kickstarter which delves deeper into this trend of DIY innovation. It is something that is utilised across the world by different societies to push against scarcity to make things to enable them to survive.

The interesting thing is that now the global consultants are also jumping on it and highlighting it as a way to innovate the western world out of the current crisis and gain growth from what we already have.

What interests me about it, is boundaries. Everyone talks about freedom to innovate but actually creating boundaries is what makes people maximise what they have in front of them. Simon Waldwell highlights it in his book Creative Disruption where when he was running the digital innovation team for the Guardian actually having freedom in time and opportunity made the team somewhat lazy.

So go out make some boundaries and see how resourceful you can be. Im thinking about buying a swiss army knife just in case.

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