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innovation

You Need More than Magic - KXI's "World Filter"

“No single measure would do more to reduce disease and save lives in the developing world than bringing safe water and adequate sanitation to all.”

- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Millennium Report

How do we meet the clean water needs of the world's billions?

Connecticut based KX Industries may have the answer.

Perhaps you never heard of KX Industries (KXI), but you probably tasted the fruits of its work, they created the technology behind the PUR and BRITA "end of tap" filters: those water purifying pitchers we all know and love. Directed by CEO Dr. Evan Koslow and investor Kevin McGovern, KXI has recently developed an exciting new water filter technology, the "World Filter".

Bambucicletas and Other "Cycles" of Innovation

Have people found ways to make bicycles more accesible and useful to solving the world's transportation problems for the poor? Here are few interesting examples we came across:A toy designer and BRINQ advisor talked to us yesterday about his recent trip to volunteer in Nicaragua. He shared a number of observations on children there:

"Kids seemed more interested in clothing than toys, we met a lot of people who were much better dressed than we were but who also happened to sleep on dirt floors. Kids wanted better shoes for playing sports and most never had a pair of tennis shoes in their life. But what every child really seemed to want was a bicycle! However, most couldn't afford them."

If you have spent much time in developing countries, chances are you have seen A LOT of bicycles. I have very vivid memories of crossing through a river of bicycle traffic in Saigon (the trick is to walk slow and steady so they can dodge you) and seeing whole families on a single bike in central Viet Nam. Bicycles are the workhorses of many societies, and it's no wonder that children want the freedom and mobility bikes represent.

So this got us started on the subject of innovation for bicycles in the Base of the Pyramid. Have people found ways to make bicycles more accesible and useful for the world's poor? Here are few examples we came across (and don't forget our previous find of a bicycle that rides on water).

Poor People's Knowledge - Handmade in India

A review of the 2nd Chapter of World Bank's "Poor People's Knowledge", about the challenges and opportunities in promoting the knowledge and innovations of the world's poor.

Poor Peoples Knowledge"How can we help poor people to earn more from their knowledge—rather than from their sweat and their muscle? This book is about promoting the innovation, knowledge, and creative skills of poor people in poor countries, and particularly about improving the earnings of poor people from such knowledge and skills."

The World Bank's "Poor People's Knowledge: Promoting Intellectual Property in Developing Countries" is a collection of essays by researchers and practitioners covering the subject of knowledge development and intellectual property in the Base of the Pyramid. The book (available in PDF) is an informative and thought-provoking read. Today we touch on Chapter 2 "Handmade in India" by Maureen Liebl and Tirthankar Roy.

Invention at Play

Here's a wonderful website and organization that is right up our alley, Invention at Play of the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, part of the Smithsonian museum.Invention at Play WebsiteHere's a wonderful website and organization that is right up our alley, Invention at Play of the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, part of the Smithsonian museum.

"The Lemelson Center is dedicated to exploring invention in history and encouraging inventive creativity in young people."

Invention at Play is both a website and a travelling exhibit, currently on display in Omaha, Nebraska and Wilmington, NC. More about the exhibit:

Invention at Play is a highly interactive, engaging and surprising traveling exhibit that focuses on the similarities between the way children and adults play and the creative processes used by innovators in science and technology. It departs from traditional representations of inventors as extraordinary geniuses who are “not like us‚” to celebrate the creative skills and processes that are familiar and accessible to all people. Visitors of all ages will experience various playful habits of mind that underlie invention.

The Model T Trap - Capturing Future Value in the Base of the Pyramid

Base of the Pyramid ventures must find ways to embed themselves in their markets, capturing and leveraging local knowledge and shifts in perception, and to continue evolving their product and service offerings with their customers.



The Ford Model T: Available in any color as long as it's black.

In 1908, Henry Ford introduced the Ford Model T, a "car for the common man", which both created and dominated the modern automobile market for the next 20 years, with more than 15 million units sold in its lifetime. Ford, however, failed to read the changes in perception of the market he had created, and continued to offer only one model to an evolving market looking for upgrades. The upstart General Motors capitalized on this shortcoming and surpassed Ford and the seemingly unbeatable Model T, by providing a ladder of car brands and upgrades. Some argue that Ford never really recovered from that misstep. This trap of not understanding and capturing the future value a venture enables we dubbed the “Model T Trap”*.

Living the Life Eclectic - Inventor A.C. Gilbert and the Erector Set

Today we profile one of the greatest, A.C. Gilbert, medical doctor, Olympic gold medallist, magician, and inventor of the Erector Set, one of the most popular toys of all time.

Going Beyond Networking - Launching a Venture in the Base of the Pyramid

"How do I get the resources I need to start my BOP business?"

This question came up in a recent discussion with a colleague from the Univeristy of North Carolina. Dozens of students graduate each year from UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School with a top-rated MBA degree and a passion to pursue Base of the Pyramid (BOP) opportunities, but few companies are hiring for these types of positions. You can always start your own business, but how does an aspiring entrepreneur from the top of the pyramid attract the resources needed to launch a new business in the BOP?

Just like any other entrepreneurial endeavor, it's all about building credibility.

Rapid Prototyping for the Masses?

One critical tool for innovation is the ability to do rapid innovation and testing, or as they say in open-source "release early and often." How can rapid prototyping be handled by aspiring designers living in the BOP?At BRINQ, we promote the innovation and design capabilities of people in the Base of the Pyramid (BOP), with a particular focus on toy design in Latin America.

India - Innovation Central

India comes into its own as a hub for innovation as companies and organizations respond to problems with new innovations. The Economic Times and Wired Magazine report on new inventions coming out of India: a water-riding bicyle, electronic sticks for the blind, handwriting emails and more.Different problems require new innovations in India.

The Economic Times of India reports a number of "Bond-like" innovations:

Building a Better ATM


Who: PRODEM FFP

Where: Bolivia

What: For half the cost of a traditional ATM, a network free, multilingual, voice-driven system for delivering banking services, and with no chance of forgetting your PIN!

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