Innovation, Deviance and Design

Nutrition in Bolivia Positive Deviance Study

In this growing area of design innovations are evident in numerous forms. Not limited to current technologies these designers sample from current, emerging and out-moded technologies to provide low cost effective solutions to benefit the poor and marginalized. Working across disciplines and sectors they partner in innovative ways. They create virtual design teams to harness the talents of various disciplines or look to challenge and influence the current market. Engineers, software developers, industrial designers and governments are engaged to collapse the literacy divide in developing countries. New models for enhancing innovation being developed. Rockefeller Foundation’s Innovation Initiative looks to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the process of innovation for poor or vulnerable people, exploring various innovation models:

Open, or distributed, innovation is a relatively new innovation model that sources innovation resources from outside an institution. Crowdsourcing is one example of the open innovation model, exemplified by InnoCentive a web-based R&D solution provider that takes full advantage of global internet connectivity to link “Seekers” of solutions with “Solver” scientists worldwide.

Positive Deviance unearths user-generated social and behavioral innovations. This change approach is based on the observation that in every community there are people whose uncommon practices enable them to find better solutions to prevalent problems than their neighbors who have access to the same resources.

Ashoka’s Changemakers combines two contradictory approaches – competition with open collaboration – for identifying and enhancing innovations. They conduct open social innovation ‘collaborative competitions’ on behalf of sponsors. Competition entries are posted transparently online and available for anyone to view and collaborate with by providing new ideas, asking questions, and providing connections to new resources.