Thirst in the River? Scarce Abundance

he state of the world we live in today has been termed by many as ‘saddening’. The global economic crisis, climate change, epidemics erupting all over the world, food security issues etc. All these are issues which are causing people from all walks of life sleepless nights. Political leaders busy trying to design policies that can attempt to address issues such as unemployment; business leaders looking for mechanisms of braving these tough economic times, and the common citizen of the world trying all he could to feed himself, and his family.

Since the beginning of time, one of the most efficient ways of solving problems has always been innovation. What is Innovation? Coming up with a new idea, process or product. And how does one come up with an innovation? Does it just happen? Does every one of us have the capacity to be innovative?

Let me use the example of God. During creation, God decides that the earth’s formlessness was boring, thus resolves to embark on ‘pimping’ it. Cool right? However, did He just start creating trees, then stones, then animals, and finally water? Did He have a plan? Yes, He did. And His plan was well-structured to form an algorithmic way of sustaining the universe. So He decides He can’t work in the dark! And on the first day, He created light; put a ball of burning gas up in the sky. Then after creating man, and giving him the power to dominate over all the other creatures, God then gets a glimpse of the future. There would come a time Adam would get bored of forcing conversations with trees, thorns and lions (Yes, lions used to be buddies with man sometime in the past. Good friends!) So He created Eve, carefully crafted to provide endless companionship to Adam.

This good example shows us the type of innovation that solves issues. Yes, coming with a new way of doing things is a good thing. But, is your solution, really a solution? Does it address a need? Or does it solve part of the problem, and create another?

The era we are living in, the era of information has brought with it a lot of opportunities. Everyone can access knowledge about almost everything. Everyone can teach everyone. However, with all this information available, we have very few solutions to the problems facing us; in the education sector, health sector, security, textile, IT etc. Thirsty while in the river?

However, there is hope. The world’s most pressing of issues are indeed the biggest business opportunities. Studies and research done by various institutions have showed that the youth are more likely to engage in entrepreneurship than any other age-group in the global population. This finding has with it a lot of insights which need to be tapped into. A majority of those hit hard by unemployment are the youth. So why are the youth not venturing into entrepreneurship, yet they still remain unemployed and suffering? The youth are most affected by issues such as unemployment, poverty , bad policies and governance, corruption etc. This means that the people who hold the key to solving the many issues facing the society, are those who experience them- the youth.

Already, a lot of young people have started businesses of their own. Companies have already began encouraging their employees to become entrepreneurial. You see, an employee who is entrepreneurial is able to be more creative, open to new ideas, and in the long-run, more productive. But a lot more still needs to be done. The youth still need to be educated and encouraged on the importance of entrepreneurship, and be equipped with tools and skills on how to go about it. An economy driven by entrepreneurs promotes innovation. Competitive entrepreneurship boosts creative-innovation; innovation that is ‘need-based’.

You have noticed that it is almost impossible to talk about innovation and not mention entrepreneurship. These two concepts share a very strong relationship. The type of product formed by an innovation process solely depends on the DNA of the business. A sustainable business produces a need-based solution. A business that is only driven by the thirst to make money produces products that do not address the challenges at hand.

So, what measures should one put in place to come up with innovation that solves a problem?

1. Believe in Yourself!!Believe it is Possible. Everyone can be innovative.

2. Identify the problems and challenges you face in your day-to-day- activities, where you are.

3. Design case-scenarios of how you would go about developing your solution.

4. Identify the various stakeholders, and look at which scenario conforms to all their needs. Which scenario develops a product affordable to the target group you have in mind? Which scenario is ethical? Which scenario is eco-friendly?

5. After selecting one, go for it. Get to Work.

In conclusion, citizens of the world need not to worry about the future. The future is very bright. More sustainable solutions will be developed, more knowledge will be made available to all of us. We are in a transition period, from Scarcity to Abundance.

Thinker and writer with a mix of idealism and realism.