I have often talked about the concept of doing pro-bono work for not-for-profit community organisations as a way of learning the art of innovation. Amongst other challenges and opportunities, many not-for-profits operate with fewer resources which force outside-the-box thinking so as to achieve more with less.
This is also true for emerging markets, or “blank slate” markets (Infosys COO S.D. "Shibu" Shibulal). Blank because there are less (or non-existence) expectations, status quo, or infrastructure to impede the introduction of radical new concepts.
Big companies like Nokia and Groupe Danone are now leveraging these “blank slate” markets as test beds for innovative new offering ideas. And with great results.
Read the full article How Innovations from Developing Nations Trickle-Up to the West by Michael Fitzgerald in Fast Company.
I also appreciated the contrarian situation at play here: From “Innovation has always been about people in rich nations getting the latest stuff and the rest of the world getting our castoffs as our markets scale and prices come down.” to “trickle-up innovation, where ideas take shape in developing markets first, then work their way back to the West.”
“Brace yourself for the next wave of immigrants: ideas.”