A journey to discover the people who change our world.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Innovations at the bottom of the pyramid




Back in Chennai I met with Paul Basil, CEO of RIN (Rural Innovations Network.

The author C.K. Prahalad has claimed that there are Fortunes at the bottom of the poverty pyramid, but as there are fortunes, there are also innovations. Indigenous, local ones which can provide technological solutions to local needs,appropriately. RIN incubates such ideas and supports local inventors to design, market and sell their inventions. An insect trap for example, or a manual milking machine.

Bringing a product to market is a complex process; an inventor may have a fabulous prototype, but little knowledge of how to scale up production. Or they may have a fantastic marking and distribution model, but their product design needs tweaking.

RIN tries to identify and coach winning ideas to scale. They reward with recognition, and support local entrepreneurs through the highs and lows of the process. Not all products will make it. That is the nature of invention. For the ones that do, they may have the power to transform rural communities. For Paul, that prospect is indeed is worth the effort.

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