Innovation inspiration 1

“Innovation is seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.”  I love this. Innovation is often presented as a modern concept but this quote is linked to a 19th century philosopher. Because innovation is neither modern nor limited to the First World.

I attended a follow up training on innovation for very poor women running micro businesses in remote rural Rwanda. At the end of the training, the facilitator asked, “What innovations have you implemented since last we met?” I waited.

Up stepped Immaculate. She explained that she had a market stall selling tomatoes and other vegetables. She had introduced ‘envelopes’ (really paper bags) and overnight tripled her customer base. Virginie added, “I found a less common cooking bean. It cooks in half the time. I tell the women, if you buy from me you have more time for other business. I have doubled my customers.”  Marie explains, “I buy a tree full of avocados and harvest them myself. I store them in my home until they are ripe and then sell piece by piece.” Profit trebled.

You see, innovation is alive and well in the Developing World reminding me that everyone has the capacity to see what everyone else has seen yet think what no one else has thought.

About Kelley

Kelley is a speaker, author, overseas aid worker and perpetual student. She is passionate about women and gender issues, both in the local and international context, which underpins her enthusiasm for kinwomen and its contribution to women ‘living their finest life’. In 2014 Kelley completed a Masters in International and Community Development before establishing The Foxglove Project. Foxglove is a registered charity focused on supporting international development projects that are sustainable and driven by indigenous leadership. Kelley’s paid work requires her to travel extensively to evaluate and support projects supported by Australian funds. This experience and networking enables Foxglove to partner with outstanding overseas agencies delivering real opportunities for the poor and vulnerable to lead independent self-determined lives. Kelley combines these passions with a love of family and faith. Across more than 30 years of marriage, Kelley and her husband have worked through many of the challenges of building a relationship while raising three sons. Their boys have now finished high school changing the dynamics of family life and relationships. One of her great joys is sharing parenting lessons and learning from good and bad (sometimes disastrous) experiences. She uses humour and common sense to talk about the everyday challenges facing parents in today’s context.

One thought on “Innovation inspiration

  • Elaine Fraser

    Incredible! Such clever women with entrepreneurship. I love the questioning, ‘What innovations have you implemented since last we met?’

    The expectation that you should be innovative creates a drive towards creativity and growth.

    Elon Musk reportedly asks his technical team members, ‘What have you done this week that’s amazing?’ If there’s no answer, you’re likely to be fired.

Comments are closed.