I developed a basic framework for the application of the Open Innovation model.
In addition to the ideas presented here, there is even more opportunity to apply an Open Innovation platform to business model development.
My idea to create youth employment is in three parts:
This is a hybrid concept, organized around the prevention of Malaria infection.
Demand / Problem: Malaria is a recognized private and public health problem. There is a globally recognized need to minimize and eliminate malarial infection to improve human health in infected areas. Chemically treated mosquito nets are one of the most effective and immediate solutions for preventing malaria. However, production costs, distribution, and public education are ongoing challenges. Distribution is largely dependent on Intergovernmental organizations and charities. Engagement of the private sector remains an ongoing challenge in the distribution chain.
Supply / Solution: The idea combines open source product design, business entrepreneurship training, and youth owned businesses in manufacturing, sales, and distribution to supply a needed solution.
1. Open Source Product Design. Part One is a design contest for developing a low cost, long-lasting, and easy to use mosquito net for use in areas infected with Malaria. The campaign tackles the problems of producing low cost mosquito nets with appropriate design for those who live in urban areas, remote villages, or nomadic environments, by using an open innovation platform to capture and utilize ideas from those who have practical knowledge and experience in regions where people live with Malaria, and also from those whose design expertise may be particularly suited to address this problem.
2. Business Entrepreneurship Training. Part Two is the development of a low cost business entrepreneurship program for youth. This tackles the problem of youth underemployment, by creating youth employment opportunity, through utilizing the tools of micro-lending, teaching business entrepreneurship, and helping interested young people learn to start a new businesses. It creates opportunity for private ownership, responsibility, and private incentives to protect, build, and grow a business with well-designed, functional product that meets a proven need.
3. Manufacturing, Sales, & Distribution. Part Three is the implementation of youth-owned, product manufacturing, sales, and distribution businesses. This tackles the problems of product manufacturing, sales, and distribution of mosquito nets, by placing ownership in the hands of invested community members, rather than a centralized distributor, NGO, or Agency. It creates youth employment opportunity, provides practical experience, manufactures and distributes appropriately designed mosquito net technology in malaria infested environments, teaches responsibility and reward, improves the quality of life for both the sellers and the buyers, and addresses a much needed public health problem.
By orienting the opportunity toward a public health need, with obvious and proven demand, the energies of underemployed youth are assembled and organized to improve the lives of the youth themselves, with the added benefits of improving the communities in which they live.
I believe an elegant technical and design solution includes something similar to the sanitation system in Arcata, California (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arcata_Wastewater_Treatment_Plant_and_Wildlife_Sanctuary), coupled with the seeding of an industry to take advantage of waste materials for commercial gain, thereby creating opportunity and direction toward economic development, with the benefits of locally owned industry and employment opportunities, and technical know-how.. If a market can be identified for products made of recycled materials, the necessary demand can be meet with existing supply.
A sanitation truck can be retrofitted to collect recycled materials, and offset the fees of service. Improved sanitation products and facilities can be created with recycled and re-used materials, thereby repurposing waste material.
Another component might include biodigesters to capture methane for commercial use and for home cooking.
Lastly, some type of land fill or final resting place is likely needed for those products that can not be otherwise utilized. However, if this can purposed for a desired public or private benefit, it will be a more palatable solution.
Ideally, the inherent economic value captured in the waste must ultimately carry the cost of system operations, with the possible seeding of system implementation through an outside funding source.