eParachute - Chart a path to work you love

eParachute - What Color is Your Parachute? - eParachute.com

The Hoop Fund - Fund Greater Goods

The Hoop Fund www.hoopfund.com

The Power of Play - Relief for Children of the Tsunami

How do you help children cope when their whole world has been swept away?

A number of tsunami relief organizations and corporations are showing that one answer is helping children do what they do best . . . play.

The Christian Children's Fund reports on CCF's role in the tsunami relief and helping children heal through play:

Amidst the death and destruction, CCF’s child centered spaces are providing an oasis of hope for children left homeless or orphaned by the tsunami. The child-friendly places provide organized activities to thousands of children living in camps who have lost their homes in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India.

Toni Radler, CCF’s Communications Director, visited the child-friendly places while assisting in the tsunami-affected areas. “They are making a huge difference for the children. Before these spaces were created, children were walking around listless or sleeping part of the day. Now they are playing games and singing, and even receiving informal education, such as math instruction. Several of our parent volunteers are actually kindergarten teachers,” she said.

A Playful Exchange - O Projeto BIRA (Brazil)

Projeto BIRA (Brincadeiras Infantis da Região Amazônica) is all about playful exchange: an effort to document and share the games and play cultures of Amazonian communities in the north of Brazil.Boy playing with a topProjeto BIRA (Brincadeiras Infantis da Região Amazônica) is all about playful exchange, an effort to document and share the games and play cultures of Amazonian communities in the north of Brazil:

This project is totally focused on games that are carried out by children, in areas where spontaneity is the principal means of communication and where the forest and its embellishments are the source for materials and challenges that motivate a diverse range of actions. These actions are easily recognized by parents, grandparents, and ancestors who play along in some form, even if it's only through a look that conveys the recognition: "Ahhh, I know how to play that." [StreetPlay.com]

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”*.

Finding Blue in a Sea of Gray - Ute Craemer and the Associação Monte Azul

Changing lives and making toys in the Monte Azul ("Blue Hill") favela in São Paulo, Brazil.

In English, to feel "blue" signifies being depressed or sad, but in Portuguese "azul" (blue) signifies the opposite emotions of well-being and happiness. At first glance then, a sea of gray-brown shanty houses and slums seems like the least appropriate place to be named with this color of hope, but the Monte Azul (“Blue Hill”) favela in São Paulo carries the name regardless, and since 1975 the Associação Monte Azul has been proving that the name fits.

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.

Brazilian Toy Libraries Bring Out the Child in Us All

CCF Brazil has established 24 toy libraries in several rural communities which serve nearly 600 children and 300 adolescents daily. Discarded socks, aluminum cans, and corncobs may look like trash to some, but to nine-year-old Junior of Brazil, they are balls, cars, and dolls in the making.

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