written by Tamara Reygers
Innovation lies in the nature of humans, since the Cognitive Revolution c. 70.000 BCE (when Sapiens evolved imagination), we were able to create value from our ideas. And for that reason, we have evolved far beyond any other living being on earth. We have designed an entire world for our own, with our rules, laws, and inventions. All this, because we believe that there is no limit to imagination! Even the impossible today can be very possible in the future. That is why I believe that there is a solution to every problem. A wise man once said: “Logic will take you from A to B, imagination will take you everywhere” — Albert Einstein. To solve the problems and challenges of society we have to come together, use our imagination, and put these brilliant ideas on paper in order to design the right solutions.
To spark your imagination and let your ideas flow I have decided to research for some stories about innovation from around the world and summarize them here for you. Moreover, to go a step further and really start working on your ideas I have searched for some handy tools to help you start your innovation process. Read more about it in my next blog.
The public Toilet Challenge
My first story is about public toilets and why nobody likes using them…
… There are many reasons, depending on what country, which culture or religion and what gender or age. In Muslim countries, public toilets don’t have enough privacy. Since the religion doesn’t allow women to be seen too openly in public, they do not use public toilets. In India, women don’t have enough space to undressed their traditional saris. In most other countries public toilets are dirty, not maintained and a transmitter of diseases. Often they are not suitable for neither children nor elderly people. Public toilets are almost everywhere a discriminatory issue, even European cities usually only have latrines for men. The Portland Loo is a great example of a community and environmentally friendly public toilet. A human-centered approach was necessary to design the toilet where all these aspects of society have been taken into consideration. A further important aspect of the design of the toilet was to closely look at the failure of other public toilets and learn from their mistakes. Read more about the design and success of this toilet …
How to Map the City’s Bus Routes?
This story is about a challenge many large metropolitan cities face and what a great idea to solve it through crowdsourcing and gamification:
Mexico City has one of the largest public bus systems in the world. Because of its size and complexity, the city had not been able to develop data or maps for buses, which provide 14 million individual rides per day. To address this problem, the city launched Mapatón, an innovative crowdsourcing, and gamification experiment to map the city’s bus routes. Over 4 000 riders played the game, which relayed critical information such as GPS coordinates to the city. In a matter of weeks, the players provided sufficient data to map the routes. Read more about the entire case study …
The Speed Camera Lottery
Another great example of transforming an annoying problem into a fun game and making people happy at the same time has been successfully executed in Sweden:
Sweden introduced a campaign that tracks all drivers in the entire Stockholm region. Those caught driving above the speed limit got fined and those driving according to the speed limit were automatically entered in a lottery with the chance to win prizes. During the campaign, average speeding was lowered by 20%. Find out how, by watching this youtube movie.
Blockchain as a Solution to Record Data of New Residence
The next story is about the problem of refugee identity, which is currently a topic of debate for the European Parliament.
EU governments and organizations are always looking for innovative solutions to manage the flow and stay of migrants. By collaborating with the startup MONI Finland came up with a blockchain solution in which they offer debit cards that are used as a bank account replacement. Thus, linking the identity of cardholders to the Blockchain and at the same time ensuring financial inclusion to help refugees. Read more about this innovative solution …
Laboratory Equipment for Everybody
Last but not least two stories about designing simple and cheap laboratory equipment and being able to distribute them to undeveloped areas with no or limited health infrastructure.
Inspired by a whirling toy, a bioengineer developed an ultra low-cost centrifuge to help 3rd world countries, he previously developed a $1 microscope and hopes to create an entire laboratory that can fit in your backpack. Read more about the idea and simplicity of this project in thisStanford article …
Philips is already distributing hi-tech backpacks and with the help of local governments is developing a number of community life centres to support community health workers in Africa. Read more…
These were only a few examples of great ideas carried out to innovative solutions. They are all meant to help society and innovate the public sector.
In many countries innovation in the public sector is quite stagnant and slow, nonetheless, one of the most important sectors to constantly innovate. That is why public sector organizations need to create an environment that fosters innovation. Inspiring and educating government employees about the necessity of innovative solutions is already the first step towards a more sustainable and smarter community. That is what our team at Foryard does. We solve societal problems through technology and entrepreneurship by using the power of imagination and creating innovation. Do you want to know more about us, then visit our website or contact us for a cup of coffee at B Amsterdam.
It’s your time to get creative and start innovating!