LEADERSHIP / FEB. 25, 2015
version 3, draft 3

Creative Problem-Solving in the Face of Extreme Limits

Adversity is found under every stone around every corner. How do you approach and overcome adversity? If you’re like me, you crawl up in a corner with your blankie, and rock back and forth with your hands over your eyes until adversity passes. There are many people in the world where adversity is the only thing they have, so they must use it as a resource. Granted, they don’t actually use adversity but innovation in the face of adversity. T To survive you must use as little of the limited resources that you have, or be as frugal as possible while innovating.

Frugal innovation is something that presenter Navi Radjou says is working for entrepreneurs in the developing world. These frugal innovators try to get the most out those limited resources available. So, why is this relative to us in the developed world? Dude, really?

If you haven’t noticed the entire world, the first world, second world and third world are running out of resources quick. How quick you ask? According to Geologist Dr. Iain Stewart, in just 15 years’ time, half of the world’s population will be living in locations that will be under great water stress. Oil is the most popular energy source, even with all the new alternative renewable energy solutions we have. Oil will be gone – completely gone – by 2040. That’s in less than forty years.

Radjou speculates that, as resources become further exhausted, even Western entrepreneurs and companies will have to adapt to frugal innovation. It’s actually happening as we speak. Especially in California were water is becoming scarce, various simple water management systems are currently becoming available.

He argues that you take what is most abundant to assess what is scarce. In the case of the Californian water management innovation, you have huge availability of wireless technology yet a scarcity of water. So this Western frugal innovator uses wireless technology and physical sensors to monitor the water saturation of a farmer’s field.

Do you think that this is a turn in manufacturing and production? Will we see revolution with creative entrepreneurs spearheading frugal innovation? Let me know about your opinion in the comment section below.

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