The $300 House:
My new phrase of the day was "reverse innovation." It isn’t new, but it is new to me, and I think it is going to be awfully important in healthcare. The main idea behind the phrase is based on the observation that in recent times the trend has been to invent cool things in first world nations and then disseminate them (slowly, eventually, or partially) to second and third world nations. With reverse innovation, the opposite happens. Innovation flows from the third world countries to the first world.
That’s really oversimplifying, and I’m no expert. The expert is Vijay Govindarajan, who is one of the bright minds behind the $300 house, which is currently one of the best examples of applied reverse innovation.
The $300 House project bears a resemblance to the X Prize and other crowdsourcing initiatives that identify an important social or technological or health problems, and then offer significant economic prizes to the team that comes up with the best solution. In this case, the problem is low cost housing for the very poor that improves health, safety, and the digital divide. But I’m deriving those from some of the projects designed after the question was posed. The real question was this.
"Can we build a simple dwelling which keeps a family safe from the weather, allows them to sleep at night, and gives them a measure of dignity?"
33% Sanyasi – New Age Philanthropy : Christian Sarkar at TEDxGateway:
The idea started with a conversation between Vijay Govindarajan and Christian Sarkar, which became a blogpost for the Harvard Business Review.
The $300 House: A Hands-On Lab for Reverse Innovation? http://blogs.hbr.org/govindarajan/2010/08/the-300-house-a-hands-on-lab-f.html
Here is one of the really exciting ideas that has come out of the project.
Village in a Container.