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A Bright Idea in Development

Development, Technology

Image (c) Gravity Light

Twelve years ago I was fortunate to do work experience at the design agency, Therefore.

I loved every minute.

That’s why I’m chuffed to see that their latest venture, Gravity Light, recently smashed its funding target on Indiegogo, after years of perspiration.

Quite frankly, it could be revolutionary to anyone living without electricity, starting in Africa and India. The lamp is powered by a falling weight. It takes three seconds to lift it up, generating 30 minutes of light on its descent. No cost or connections required.

It is a beautifully simple idea, no doubt masking the scale of problem.

The potential benefits have got me thinking about how our Challenges open innovation model could be applied outside the UK. There is clearly an opportunity for design to provide a fresh perspective to many problems in development .

It is already happening. The Designmatters programme at the Art Center College of Design, California has done a lot on sustainable development over the last 10 years and the Center for Global Development recently published ‘Behavioral design: A new approach to development policy‘.

I’m now searching for more examples please, particularly those involving co-design with communities. Any project would have to be well embedded in – and self-sustained by – the local network.

Challenges are about turning a problem into an opportunity for enterprise and growth. Something all countries could benefit from at the moment.

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© 2015 Warwick Business School and the Design Council