Author: Sam Kurien
•11:13 PM
I recently was made aware that immediacy of objects, values and street innovation extend the product ideas that will be instrumental in making them universal. The lessons to be learnt are how do you design a product or a system that can be extended or be universally accepted. The proposed idea is to watch for ideas that come from the streets, reverse engineering, social re-engineering and innovative social uses of products or ideas.

For example to expand on this a cell phone owner in Uganda becomes an instant ATM. Strange Isn't it? People in Uganda use cell phones to transfer money and exchange minutes for cash. How does it work you may ask? So if you live in Kampala and have a cell phone and you want to send money to your parents in a small village a few hundred miles away you would buy a pre-paid phone card with minutes on it and transfer it to a person in the village where your parents live who has a cell phone. So from Kampala you would call this person and give him the card number transferring the minutes on your card. The cell phone operator on the other end who receives your call charges a 2-10% commission, collects the minutes and dispenses the remaining cash to the caller's parents.

Street innovation and extension of a  innovation or idea gives insights how the Ugandans use an everyday object like the cellphone in the absence of a sophisticated banking system. 


Sam Kurien
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