Necessity is the mother of Invention
When we think about innovation, our mind automatically thinks about the cutting edge, futuristic research, and technology that is being developed in the first world countries of the world. The stories of Science Fiction has driven our minds to think that the only side to Innovation is one that involves driverless cars and smarter smartphones.
However, the best ideas are born not from luxury, but poverty. Necessity is the mother of Invention, and the magic of creating something from seemingly nothing is what innovation is all about.
Entrepreneurs in third world nations
Many people in Third World Countries are self-employed or doing small businesses. The reason behind this trend is mainly the lack of opportunities to get a well-paying job in these nations. These people take matters into their own hands and do their own businesses.
Many of these people are capable and innovative entrepreneurs, smart enough to identify and exploit opportunities. For an innovator, every problem is an opportunity in disguise. And the infinite number of issues that haunt these nations present themselves as a treasure trove of information for them. Food Scarcity, Water Shortage, Energy Crisis, Pollution, and any other problem that you can think of is dealt with beneficially in the hands of an entrepreneur.
Here are a few examples from these countries, and the reason why they grew more significant than anyone expected them to.
The first thing that pops up into our minds when we think about innovation is the modern day entrepreneur, the power of the Internet and successful startups. However, change has been a constant since the beginning of human culture. Humankind has always been able to use its intellect to overcome the obstacles that life had presented them with. They have also been capable of handling the resources around them to design, engineer and build things that would not only make life easier but even more fun.
Innovation through the ages
The story of Human Civilisation is riddled with tales of ingenious men and women who created marvels from their wisdom and innovative capabilities. From the Hero of Alexandria to Edison, the development of Science and Humanity as a whole was through innovation.
Even when modern Developed Countries are considered the best in STEM fields, the developing countries also have their fair share of Brilliant innovations that fulfill their needs. Some of these innovations are created from minimal resources, to replace other things that they can’t afford. From making toys from the trash to turning it into art and even fuel, this part of the world shows true ingenuity. Their grit, tested against the harshest situations that life has to offer, is stable and unwavering.
Innovation in the modern era
Third World countries, especially very backward ones are stricken with issues that seem impossible to an average person. From food and water scarcity to epidemics that are curable in the modern era, the problems of this part of the world are unbelievably fundamental, yet widespread.
In such a situation, when even the most basic of needs remain unfulfilled for these people, yet the smallest innovation can drastically improve their quality of life. An ultra-cheap water purification system, a renewable energy plant, a new small scale industry for jobs, these are all small steps that make big changes for these people.
A few of these changes have been implemented by many innovators in these places, showing off the potential for growth in such a small, underdeveloped world. These examples show that innovation is never marred by the issues of the physical world, but are merely hidden like diamonds in the rough.
Modern Day Innovators in backward countries
The innovations in these places are not necessarily new inventions, but just existing ones implemented in a way that the restrictions on them are overcome. They are morphed into a form that suits the situation of the place, by cutting expenses, changing plans or other means.
An example of such an innovation is the Grameen Bank by Mohammed Younus. Banking is nothing new to the modern world, but in the country of Bangladesh, the facility of banking was not accessible to the common man. Mohammed Younus, with his hard work and strong will, started the establishment called Grameen Bank to turn this around. The name, translating to “Villager’s bank” was just that. He eventually won the Nobel Prize and had influenced the lives of many positively since its inception.
Coming to a more fundamental issue and tackling in innovatively, we see Juan Carlos Guqueta, a Columbian entrepreneur. Determined to address the water pollution in the community, he started AcuaCare. The company uses worms to treat contaminated wastewater and make them better suited for agriculture. The water is not pure enough for human consumption but is suitable for crops. Currently restricted to Columbia, he hopes to expand his business shortly.
Innovation and Hurdles
Innovation in these countries has to overcome a million problems. Even in developed nations, hundreds of entrepreneurs battle adversities, and only a few prevail. In countries in their developing stage, the percentage of failure is many times more, due to the lack of facilities. People here only have themselves to depend on and have to work within a very restrictive workspace to be able to succeed.
However, overcoming these obstacles is a beautiful sight in themselves, and they are indeed inspiring to watch. These geniuses in this state, rising above their hardships must be applauded and learned from.
Do you think the innovations coming from these third world countries deserve more time in the spotlight? Discuss in comments.