Creativity is not enough for the world’s poor

October 23, 2012 by

Innovation means more than creativity. It means creativity that reaches millions.

When BRAC founder Sir Fazle Hasan Abed spoke last month to the World Affairs Council of Northeastern California, creative solutions that reach millions were at the heart of his message to the audience.

Contrary to what you might expect, constraints such as affordability can help fuel innovation. When millions can afford to purchase your creative solution, it’s a clear path to reaching them.

Low-cost, high-impact solutions like BRAC-made affordable high-yield seed packets for maize, beans, and other vegetables allow microfranchisors like Sarah Mukama to purchase them in bulk and re-sell packets for a small mark-up to farmers in her community, boosting yields and food security. Sarah is just one of 5,000 microfranchisees in her home country of Uganda taking creative solutions to millions.

But one innovation isn’t enough, especially when you consider the sheer variety of daily challenges facing the world’s 2.5 billion people living on less than $2.50 a day. That’s why Sir Fazle’s presentation also emphasized being a “learning organization,” one that is constantly on the lookout for new ways of responding to the needs of the people it serves.

In the coming weeks, you’ll hear more about BRAC’s growing portfolio of creative solutions that have reached millions, in a series on “jugaad” innovation. What’s “jugaad”? Check in later this week to learn more.

By Oscar Abello (@oabello)
Marketing and Communications Associate at BRAC USA