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Grand Rapids, MI

Embarking Blog

...on the journey towards restoration of all things

What if... ?

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Was listening to Dr. Simone Ahuja this morning @tedxgrandrapids, and she had a number inspiring or thought provoking ideas. First, was this idea of what she calls, Jugaad Innovation. Jugaad refers to a quick way of solving a problem in a pseudo McGyver sort of way... using the things around you to come up with a solution to a current problem.

Second, she described the "maker revolution" and the DIY movement in the developed world, and the new innovations happening in the developing world where scarcity is a daily reality, and it made me think about those people I've met who are intentionally entering into the developing world and creating unbelievably innovative new ways to approach the world.

This reminded me of a couple of things. First, I think about IDEO, the company born out of Steelcase that observers everyday reality and does rapid prototyping to try to make things better. Second, I was challenged by the idea that scarcity reframed is abundance, and that scarcity can sometimes drive innovation because the imposed limits on resources drive the necessity for innovative thinking. Third, is it possible that we're thinking about poverty inappropriately? What if we approached scarcity in developing countries as an opportunity to encourage and create opportunities for innovation?

What if...

It's the question that drives innovative thinking in a time of need. What if we asked "what if" more often? What if we stopped saying "can't" and "don't" and "that won't work" and we started to dream again? What if we believed that limits were doorways to greater creativity and we started using more our brains more effectively?

What if scarcity really were reframed?

As I prepare to leave for Ethiopia next week, I've obviously been thinking a lot about African. I was privileged to meet with some people a couple of days ago who are running a hospital in worn torn South Sudan, and yesterday I spend some time with an Anglican Bishop from Uganda. I'm getting inundated lately with Africa - a place years ago I swore I would never go. So, I was recently listening to TED Africa: The Next Chapter, and heard one speaker talking about Africa as one of the most resource rich places in the world - from every type or resources you can think of - people, natural, mineral, etc. So many of us think of Africa merely as a place of poverty, need, and struggle. How might we think of Africa as a place of potential?


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