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One Innovative Product For One Micro Financed Startup in Developing Country

Teams in a large business compete to come up with a relevant, innovative product or service and the winning team gets to choose and help micro finance one innovative business startup in a developing country.

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Written by DeletedUser

Building on the Toms shoes one for one program. 
This concept also links to big companies trying to develop solid innovation strategies.

Teams in a large business compete to come up with a relevant, innovative product or service and the winning team gets to chose and help micro finance one innovative business startup in a developing country. 
Competition happens maybe every 3 or 6 months?
Winning team goes overseas with key leads of the project and helps mentor the new business startup, helps document the story and learning and brings it back to share.
Imagine coming back and sharing how your company helped start up a cool business in a developing country and it all started from a competition to come up with a new product or service. That would create a natural interest for an audience to learn more about this new product that started the story. People would share videos about a story like that which means advertising for your brand and new products or services.  If you haven't seen the Zack Matere video above, check it out now.  Imagine if your company helped Zack start up his business in Kenya and then told the story.  The video has gone viral and is inspiring, it is an awesome way to advertise google (who made the vid)... although I don't know why google needs more advertising. ; )

 Employees would not only be competing for coming up with an innovative idea, but competing to help out new innovation initiatives in developing countries.  Maybe at some point the innovation team and startup in the developing country collaborate and that story is shared too. 
Challenges to figure out with this concept that I see so far.
-How will new startups in developing countries be found?
-What businesses already have innovation strategies and think tanks working to come up with products? Selling the idea to them
-Would businesses without an innovation strategy be interested in getting involved like this? 
-There would need to be some leadership around coordinating this strategy in a company. 
-How often would a company be developing new services or products?  This might work well with the tech world because new products and  services are needed and arise often. 
-Also would need to figure out eligibility of new startups in developing countries for a program like I'm proposing??? What would the criteria be? Who decides? 

How does your concept celebrate, identify or inspire for-profit businesses that act as agents of world benefit?

This concept is an innovative advertising strategy. Through story of the for-profit business supporting a small business in a developing country there is benefit for both. Plus it may cause employees to be more interested in coming up with great ideas and services for their company because they can also help others in the world if their product or idea wins. Also this concept links an innovation strategy to world benefit. If companies don't support creativity and have a solid innovation strategy, they won't stay relevant for long in our complex times. So, it is quite reasonable these days that an innovation strategy should be part of a good strategic plan.

How will your concept help us create or leverage stories of world benefit that are sticky and shareable?

It's all about story, story story which is huge right now. See the article below. Want your message to stick tell a story And this one on the need for a story to hit the empathy part of us in order to stick. People would share videos and articles about stories that would emerge from a concept like this, which means advertising for your brand and new products or services. Stories would definitely evoke empathy and inspiration which would make brands and products stick with people.

What will it take to scale your concept so that its reach is global and widespread?

Partnering or finding groups that showcase cool startups in developing countries that need micro finance. Likely they are already out there and could be partnered with? It would take buy in from companies that either want to initiate an innovation strategy or already have one.


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Photo of Meena Kadri

Digging the virtuous circle you've devised here, Ben! And especially that it's not jus about a charitable add-on but links to innovating for world benefit from within the large company's core offering too. For a place like India, the HoneyBee Network could be great for linking up with grassroots innovators. Check the interview I did on it's founder on Design Observer:

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Awesome link Meena! What a cool project. I love the idea of the semi-annual Shodh Yatra trek where Anil Gupta goes out on a journey through rural Indian villages to uncover innovative thinking. Yes, partnering with an organization like Anil Guptas, Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions might be great for a concept like I proposed.

Thanks for the link, inspiration and offering something to build on.

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