March 3, 2013
Now the three of them have collaborated (again) to give the rest of us a deep look at "how to leverage external talent to address all kinds of creative and innovative challenges."
The book is especially useful for folks behind the corporate iron-wall who are looking to bring in new ideas, products and services, business models, etc. from the outside, but don't really know where to start. Sure, you can read Henry Chesbrough and John Hagel and JSB's stuff (btw, did you know that Chesbrough once worked for JSB at PARC?), but this is the first book that walks you through a detailed process, step-by-step, and explains what your business needs to do to build an "open innovation" capability:
This book will teach you and your organization:
- how to weigh the business benefit of crowdstorming with an organization's legal, confidentiality, and brand needs
- what kinds of questions to ask crowdstorm participants
- how to compel a community to participate and reward them when they do
- how to recruit the best people to join your conversation
- how a coalition of partners can enhance crowdsourcing
- how to organize participants for the best results
- how to monitor a community in support of community management
- how to evaluate results
- the technology alternatives to enable crowdsourcing
Now, you too can be an A.G. Lafley and bring in all kinds of new, externally developed products into your business!
Go read it now >>
Thanks also to Nathalie Sonne who managed the community for us on jovoto!
February 22, 2013
Watch for Harvey Lacey, Patrick Reynolds, and Mahindra and Mahindra:
February 18, 2013
Harvey Lacey's entry in the $300 House Design Challenge placed a respectable 12th, but what sets him apart is his relentless drive to make a difference. A welder by profession, he's the "redneck innovator" from Texas - using ingenuity, hard work, and not-so-common sense to build a new type of structure built of Ubuntublox - blocks built of recycled styrofoam.
WATCH THIS FIRST >> Here's a must-watch video clip from the Discovery Channel.
Here's the original Ubuntublox house:
And, here's a clip using the remains of pressed Vetiver (khus in India), a plant used in Haiti for its fragrance:
Naveen Jain wrote a wonderful article about Harvey in Forbes. In it, he describes how "Harvey is helping to solve more than just one global problem with his Ubuntu-Blox project; he is addressing at least three acute needs: plastic pollution reduction, the global housing crisis and extreme unemployment in underdeveloped countries."
How did Harvey Lacey get into this? On the phone, he told me about his childhood, growing up poor in a trailer park. Once, when he had no food in the house, his gypsy friends brought his family a truck-full of food. Harvey has never forgotten that act of kindness, and now its seems he is paying it forward, as the cliche goes.
For more info, visit HarveyLacey.com. The man just doesn't stop!
February 12, 2013
I first learned about Patrick Reynolds during the $300 House Design Challenge when Vivek Bhatnagar submitted his work as an entry. Instead of a design or a sketch, Reynolds just went ahead and built a house, took some photos, and submitted his work... His concept: the "Village in a Container."
While the cost was somewhat more than $300, what he accomplished was startling.
Towards the end of last year, I was back in Texas, and went to visit Patrick to check out his concepts, and here's what I found.
In the classic tradition of the Edison-style inventor, I discovered Patrick in the heart of his solar powered farm, surrounded by experiments of all shapes and sizes. The house he had designed for the contest was there as well, smack-dab in the middle of scenic Central Texas:
Patrick Reynolds' house had been turned into a hunting lodge, and along with the main farmhouse and several other structures, was powered by the sun. The "Village in a Container" idea, it turns out, is based on Patrick's business - which includes water treatment, solar-powered contraptions to treat groundwater, and now, "pop-up" houses. Patrick showed us around the house (the window awnings - below - are solar panels which power LED lights on the inside):
The ground floor, complete with a sofa-bed, table, wall-AC unit, and the proverbial kitchen sink:
The toilet under the stairs (is that good Feng Shui?) empties into an underground septic tank.
Upstairs, the bunk bed stands next to a get-away door (in case of emergencies). A second wall-AC services the upstairs to provide relief during the hot Texas summer.
The side of the house, showing the the two wall-AC units.
Behind the house, Patrick's solar garden of arrays blooms - following the sun all day long.
Patrick also showed us his solar control room (the batteries last 15 to 20 years if looked after properly):
And here's an experimental low-velocity wind turbine he has developed:
There were some other interesting experiments going on as well, like a solar-powered golf-cart, an outdoor rover for handicapped folks to get out into the wilderness and hunt, several experimental wind turbines, and a full scale manor house (not pictured) which Patrick was building by hand - brick by brick! But what impressed me the most was Patrick's generosity - of both his time and spirit!
UPDATE: After posting the blog post, I got a few additional points from Vivek and Patrick via email:
- The house can be erected/put together by a team of two to four people without having to use any powered tools (other than a battery powered drill) in a matter of hours
- It can house up to two adults and four children or four adults
- The house, because of its design and durability of the components, is sturdy enough to last 20-30 years
- Like a tree branch, the structure (has a light gage tube steel frame) has been designed to move gently with high winds so that it won't topple over or break (when anchored as designed)
- In the frontal photo you will notice a removable panel in the exterior wall for access to an external module bathroom that may be desirable in some parts of the world
November 27, 2012
The $300 House has just been nominated for the Katerva Awards.
A few words about the Katerva Awards from the folks at Katerva: The purpose of the Katerva Awards is to
identify and amplify the world's most innovative and promising new ideas and
initiatives in sustainability. The Katerva Awards have been called the
Nobel Prize of Sustainability by Reuters; they are the pinnacle of global
sustainability recognition. Through them, the best ground-breaking ideas on the
planet are identified and judged through a series of evaluation panels made up
of the world's leading experts in the field. Katerva isn't looking for ideas that will
improve the world in small increments. We are looking for paradigm-busting
ideas. Our Award winners don't simply move the needle when it comes to
efficiency, lifestyle or consumption; they change the game entirely. This is a
celebration of radical innovation and an acceleration of much needed change.
October 22, 2011
It's been a little over a year since the $300 House was introduced in this Harvard Business Review blog post.
September 3, 2011
On the trip they will meet with community members, leaders and various organizations.
Team members include:
Vicki May, Professor, Thayer School of Engineering
Vicki May is an Instructional Associate Professor of Engineering at Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering and she is a registered Professional Engineer in the states of New Hampshire and California. At Thayer School, Vicki teaches solid mechanics, integrated design, and structural analysis. Prior to joining the faculty at Thayer, she was a professor of Architectural Engineering at Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo. She also worked in the Los Angeles area for a firm that specializes in seismic rehabilitation of historic structures. She earned her BS in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota and her MS and PhD degrees in structural engineering from Stanford University.
Jack Wilson, Professor, Studio Art
Jack Wilson is an architect and planner and is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Studio Art at Dartmouth College where he teaches courses in Drawing, Architectural Design and Landscape Art & Design. He also teaches a course on Integrated Design at Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering. Until 2009 he was responsible for supervision of campus planning as well as project development, architect selection and design review for large scale capital projects at Dartmouth. In addition to teaching he currently also consults on the planning, design and construction of health care, institutional, commercial and residential projects. Prior to coming to northern New England Jack worked for a number of architectural firms in Philadelphia PA. Jack earned his AB in Art at Vassar College and his Master of Architecture degree at the University of Pennsylvania. He has given invited talks, and presented papers nationally and internationally and is active both at Dartmouth and locally on numerous committees and boards, including the Board of Directors of The Family Place, a non-profit organization in Vermont focused on building strong families in order to build strong communities.
Molly Bode, Global Health Program Officer, The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science
Molly Bode is a Global Health Program Officer at The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science. Molly also serves as the Dartmouth Haiti Response Coordinator for medical and educational initiatives with partners in Haiti. In addition to working on Haiti projects, she helps coordinate other global health activities at the College including projects in Rwanda, India, other countries, and in the US. Prior to her current position, Molly served in a two-year fellowship in the President's Office and The Dartmouth Center working on projects for President Jim Yong Kim. She graduated from Dartmouth College in 2009 with a Biology and Film major and is currently taking Masters in Public Health courses.
Tyler Pavlowich, PhD student, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Tyler is a second-year PhD student in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program at Dartmouth College. He has worked with fish and aquaculture for seven years, both as a researcher and extensionist to rural communities in Paraguay as a Peace Corps volunteer.
His most recent research has focused on the use of algae as a feed source for tilapia in integrated food-energy systems with Professor Anne Kapuscinski from the Environmental Studies Program. He is starting his dissertation and interested in how appropriate aquatic food production systems can contribute to ecological and human well-being.
Special thanks to Dartmouth for making this happen!
July 19, 2011
Read our post on the Harvard Business Review blog >>
June 30, 2011
I have followed with interest your design contest (even submitted an entry) and as the winners are announced I would request you consider an opportunity to field trial a/some most suitable designs in a real world situation.
I am trying to develop a self-help project to provide low cost, suitable housing, and a sustainable job/income for poor people particularly in the Philippines.
I am exploring working with a village of Mangyan people in the Puerto Galera area of Mindoro Island and I would ask you consider them as recipients of one or more of the successful design outcomes of the contest.
What I need is simply the design information and rights and a working relationship with the designers of a suitable $300 house that is worth investing over $20,000 to build 60 houses.
I advise that many outcomes could ride on the house design "working" and a lot of goodwill could be won or lost by the results achieved. The 60 houses I propose to build are only a small fraction of what is eventually required.
I am not working with the whole Mangyan population The group I am working with is only one village and while they are 100% Mangyan people they are mostly in transition from their traditional hill-tribe culture into the today's life, culture and economy of the Philippines . They are maintaining many of their traditional values such as strong village group bonding, sense of culture and community, sharing, hard work and passive nature.
They struggle because of limited educational opportunities in the past but are trying hard to ensure their children receive education, health care and other benefits.
Some are share farming, some making handicrafts for sale in nearby tourist areas and some working as guides and labourers for the resorts and in the town. But, they do it very tough. Their houses are frankly very sub-standard and on a recent visit I was shocked. The photos I have included here are some of the better examples.
Their community is in many other ways very functional - they have a primary school and resident teacher; a church and resident minister/teacher; a community meeting place; limited town water-supply and some solar power.
They appear to have a well organized community management structure - it has respect, authority and is consultative and involving.
The leaders are currently having preliminary discussions regarding my proposal to build low cost houses for each of the 60 families in the village.
I stress this is not a headlong crash into a delicate sociological situation. The project I propose addresses an immediate needs of a village that is well into cultural transition but struggling with very poor housing. The project treads carefully and only after wide consultation - especially it is lead by the people themselves. They have many advisers as well and I envisage the project will be ongoing for at least three years. The houses however could be built within 6 months - according to the level of local participation. A slower build rate would be desirable to enable training and high levels of villager involvement..
The village is located near an easily accessed major town and in reasonable proximity to Manila the capitol of the Philippines. I am confident that one or other of the major universities located in Manila - such as University of The Philippines, Ateneo De Manila, De La Salle or other would be interested to participate in this project from an advisory and academic point of view.
I have almost certainly secured financial support to build 60 houses with an average cost of $300 i.e. approximately US$20,000. I believe strongly that other support programs are needed by this community all aimed at creating employment, land ownership and economic sustainability of this group. I am also working on these aspects. For example the villagers needs land to which they have clear title before the houses can be built. This is a priority matter at the moment.
There are many possibilities that can spring from this housing project for this village and in general I can see some very interesting possibilities if there was a house for $300.
About me: I am an Australian and semi-retired; briefly my back ground is as a businessman involved in R&D and manufacture of very advanced scientific components. At the same time I was a senior member of a consortium of Australian businesses that did many small development projects in S E Asia over 15 years (total value ~$150 million) - mainly in Indonesia - such as establishing/upgrading Environmental Monitoring Laboratories, Agricultural Science teaching and research laboratories, Occupational Health and Safety Laboratories.
I am a past Chairman of the Australian Scientific Industry Association, a founding director of the Technology Industry Exporters Group as well as various roles in commercialization committees interacting with universities etc.
Thank you for your time regarding this matter
I look forward to hearing from you.
IanFraser [ at ] sydney [dot] net
June 27, 2011
I am writing to you from Awaken Mozambique an association here in Beira, Sofala Province, Mozambique. We would like to know how can we assist you , or what kind of information you need from us, and we can then take it from there.
June 15, 2011
What began as a challenge in a blog post on the Harvard Business Review website has resulted in a collection of 300 design submissions from around the world. The $300 House Open Design Challenge is complete, with judges picking their final selections after much deliberation, and an extension, in order to go through the entries in detail.
Winners were selected in combination with votes from the community and a panel of judges comprised of expert designers, architects, and thought leaders. The winners share $25000 in total prize money which includes $10,000 in cash awards to the top 16 placements as voted by the community itself, and $15,000 in scholarships to attend a prototyping workshop for six participants (three selected by the community, and three by the judges panel).
The winners of the prototyping workshop scholarship are
(listed by username):
"We're delighted by the depth and breadth of the submissions we received," says Vijay Govindarajan, Professor of International Business and the Founding Director of Tuck's Center for Global Leadership. "Hosting this contest on Jovoto's open, co-creation platform gave us a wealth of ideas and identified the people who we believe have the passion, skill, and commitment, to take the project to the next level, prototyping and actually building a $300 house for the poor. We invite all the participants to continue the discussion at www.300house.com."
June 10, 2011
The new date for the announcement of the winners has been set at June 15. We hope that the community understands why the judges are taking the extra time, and we look forward to sharing the results with everyone on that date.
That's the question I asked myself when I saw the op-ed they ran on the $300 House.
VG and I wrote a rebuttal - here - on the Harvard Business Review blog.
Please let us know what you think by posting your comments at HBR, underneath the rebuttal.
June 9, 2011
After building several houses in Africa (Sudan, Ethiopia) and Asia (Srilanka, Nepal). I decided to create my own association - Surya - which would take the problems on more comprehensively.
Most of (European) NGOs work in this way: for example there are money for women rights in Pakistan, so they go there and quickly use (waste) the money in "correct" way, but without concept, without cooperate with another projects etc... many times they create different types of disbalances like make some part of community make too much money (redistributing power in community), or by creating black markets by giving things for free etc.
For me, it was most important to solve problem complexly. Out of all problems I met on my way I found out the lack of education the main problem to be solved. I didn't like to support hospital projects in Africa, where European doctors would give care to locals as long there are money and when there are no more money doctors leave and the situation is same as before. Neither giving to fisherman houses many kilometers away from the sea like I saw in Sri Lanka.
I started 2002 creating school design for Himalayas village Kargyak with special climate 4 days walk distant from nearest road. After 2 years of collecting data from the area, I graduated with school design at Czech Technical Uni (2004). 2006 I started Civic Association Surya to build the school. Using only local materials and technique which the local people can learn by helping.
2006 we built green house to collect climatic data from the area as model house. 2007 we started the teaching in rented space, and made the main ground work on site, 2008 the school was finished. Since then we measure internal and external climate and helping locals to create their own green houses, but the main think is the education and if necessary also first aid.
So in short what I think is necessary:
1) ethnology and sociology - what the local people need and who is the representative of the community (who we can and want to talk to represent all the community) , do I want to support it, is it possible to manage, how much local community will participate to accomplish
2) research on site
a) local technologies, materials available and its properties, people skills, prices. (how far are some more skilled people or additional material, how are the transport possibilities)
b) climate conditions: temperatures, wind, seismicity, rainfall.. etc
c) animals: termites, spiders, snakes, monekys, rats, mosquitoes (and diseases)...etc.
d) logistics, existing infrastructure or possibilities to create it (tresh management, water, electricity)
3) site, place which the community would use and owner would provide it for project (and the conditions to do so)(in many places people even do not know their fields are not their property)
4) design and plan of incorporation in existing or planed infrastructure, based on 1) 2) 3)
5) sharing the design with local people and making the agreement with than how the building will look like and will work. Creating the RULES about how much and when is community, you or municipality working for the project and what they provide (in many places it does not work in the way by signing the contract...the agreement is something that must be re insured repeatedly) ... etc.
6) reevaluation based on the feedback from the community
7) making a model structure (could be just simple testing construction or a part of it) in the place where it will be used - prototypes and its testing
8) evaluation of data and testing of building
9) pilot project - testing and feedback from the community
10) at least one year later we can evaluate data and start implementation for the one particular site.
11) house evaluation and recommendations for other projects
12) after 1, 3, 5 years evaluation of local impact of the project (social, economical, environmental )
It is probably not full list of guidelines to success but if we skip some points we can face sooner or later difficulties.
Jan Honza Tilinger, M.Eng.
Chairman of Civic Association Surya - www.surya.cz
May 30, 2011
Part 2 captures the essence of our journey while working through the challenges of this project. In this process, we met committed people who were willing to help us along the way. A big thanks to them.
With this, we wish our best of luck to the teams carrying this forward.
Tuck India Team
Part 1 captures the essence of our business plan.
Business Plan (Scribd/PDF)
Tuck India Team
May 27, 2011
Special thanks to the Jovoto team - Nathalie, Nadine, Peter (x2), Bastian, and Shaun at Mutopo for making this happen - without your generosity we'd never have gotten off the ground. Thanks also to Scott Tew from Ingersoll Rand for your willingness to try this experiment.
Now, let the judging begin!
May 23, 2011
Just wish they had told us earlier!
This morning we had a chat with Scott Tew of Ingersoll Rand (the workshop sponsor) and they're as committed as ever to going forward with the prototyping workshop - at a new venue and under new management.
Shaun Abrahamson, one of our great advisors, suggests the following:
once we have the winners, it seems that it might make sense to agree on SCOPE of prototyping with them. from the process so far, it seems we will haveWe think that this is a better approach than what we had planned in Alabama. We're still going to have a prototyping workshop, but now we get to decide (a) the venue, and (b) who the workshop mentors will be (we've asked David Sands to participate already) and we're looking for a few more visionaries to get involved. They must be able to roll up sleeves and build prototypes!
+ diverse range of material and equipment needs
+ some decisions on what we will focus on - whole buildings vs specific components (bricks, earthbags, etc)
+ modeling and estimation for time and cost assumptions
I also think it would be helpful for people to talk to stakeholders, including potential customers. dont want to keep pushing for local, but having been on the ground in brazil, south africa, zimbabwe, etc, I think the local realities are hard to grasp without first hand experience.
If you have any suggestions on (a) or (b) - drop us a line at info [at] 300house.com !!
Finally, and most importantly, the contest deadline has not changed.
Have you submitted your entry yet? 2 days to go, go, go! >>
Stay tuned for the details on the prototyping workshop, and thanks for your support.
Thank you for your reply. However, I don't think you've quite understood what I was suggesting - I wasn't asking for a simple donation. The potential scope is much greater, and there could be very significant benefit for Lego, both in terms of worldwide goodwill and also commercial profit.
If a home-building system based on plastic bricks were to take off, the worldwide market would be immense. Economists have talked about the "bottom of the pyramid" as an overlooked market sector, as although margins are small, the potential volumes are vast. In these days of globalisation, manufacturing itself would be done in a low-cost environment (e.g. China) but with design, marketing and branding located in the West. What I'm suggesting is that Lego might look into this not just as a charitable venture but as a long-term source of profit, demonstrating that free enterprise can turn a dollar while bringing vast benefits to the world. Now, think ten years ahead, and imagine that the poorest people are starting to be housed with a system using plastic bricks. Now imagine that it *isn't* Lego that's behind this, but some other company. The Decca record company famously turned down the Beatles...
I realise that this is an unusual proposal to be arriving at a customer service desk. I understand your response, which is thoughtful and respectful, and makes perfect sense when the request is for a donation for a school or hospital. But what I'm suggesting has the potential for doubling and trebling the company's revenues while making the name Lego as revered as the name Carnegie has become - associated not just with business success but also with philanthropy and civilisation itself.
For this reason, I'd ask you to pass this request up your management chain far enough to reach a director with responsibility for blue-sky business planning - the people who are responsible for making sure that Lego will still be a household name in 30 years' time.
Just to clarify (as I see my original message is not part of this thread): there is a project "300house.com" as described in The Economist (http://www.economist.com/
May 22, 2011
A few weeks ago, following The Economist's publication of an article about the $300 House, we read a comment that in many ways epitomizes an opposing view to this concept: simply providing an affordable home is not enough - building entire communities is needed, and that is too expensive. We will address his main thesis ("A viable shelter doe not a successful person, family, or community make. Success comes from within a positive and empowered person, provided with local opportunity and support.") at the end, but first we want to discuss several other points this reader made.
"If all you wanted to do was increase health and sanitation you would set up community toilets, clinics, centers, and reliable security outposts where citizens could get daily attention."
Anyone familiar with the work of Dr. Paul Farmer and Partners in Health knows that his success in fighting Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis in Haiti - and throughout the world - is driven in part by his attention to patients' conditions at home, not just in his clinic. When patients have a safe place to sleep and food on the table, they are much more likely to follow a drug regimen. Unfortunately, many clinics in the developing world do not have the means or resources to help their patients outside the clinic. Providing safe, reliable, and cheap housing is only one piece of this puzzle, but it plays an important role. Most importantly, we need to realize that "increasing health and sanitation" is about the entire community and a person's entire life/customs, not just building clinics or toilets.
"Any camper or outdoorsperson can live weeks or months in the most basic un-serviced accommodation and even thrive if the right facilities are available nearby."
One trap that is easy to fall into is associating other people and cultures to your own social norms. As we researched Haiti as a potential market for the $300 House, our teams often fell into this very trap. For instance, we assumed Haitian homes could have one door and open windows. Upon further research we learned that cultural beliefs lead many Haitians to have two front doors and to close all openings to the house overnight. In the same way, this comment implies that lacking sanitation conditions may not be the primary objective because outdoorspeople survive and thrive without them. However, we would argue that tens or even hundreds of thousands of people living in slums cannot survive on the same trowel-and-leaf program that hikers in the first world do. In Haiti, community latrines are overflowing, and people are loading human waste by hand onto trucks that then dump it in landfills or other empty latrines. The situation is simply not comparable. This is why it is important to truly understand the markets you hope to help, so you can understand the situation from the proper frame of reference.
"So, the answer is to create communities - and this is where the true costs lies. Setting up the businesses, education, and other support systems that allows this collection of inhabitants to push past extreme poverty into simple self-sufficiency and independence."
In our minds, the answer is absolutely about creating communities, but this is not necessarily where the true cost lies. As mentioned above with respect to Partners in Health, it is clear that communities are needed to solve the problems that face the bottom of the pyramid. Having an education but no employment, or medicine but unsanitary living conditions will simply not work. That being said, any attempt to "build" a community from the outside (building a school, a hospital, roads, etc.) is unlikely to succeed. Communities form organically, and the members of a community are the most important component. Spending money to build the infrastructure of a community would indeed be costly, but spending money on one basic component, such as safe, affordable housing, is within reason. We believe that housing is a fundamental part of the community: it is a place to learn and study, a place to rest and heal, and a source of pride and responsibility. By helping individuals obtain safer, sanitary housing we can serve as a catalyst to help spur the growth of a community.
Eradicating poverty from the world would indeed be costly, if not impossible, and we certainly don't believe affordable housing alone can accomplish that. However, affordable housing is one key component - a building block - to solving many of the issues faced by impoverished people. We believe that a business solution to provide affordable housing is the most practical approach to many problems. As a business venture, it would be self-sufficient, a "going concern", making it a permanent solution. And, by providing housing, it would have an impact across many social issues. While the housing might not solve those issues, we believe it would set a strong foundation to support future progress - and perhaps one day, to support a whole new community.
May 10, 2011
Image by kk+ via Flickr
And in that note, Paul states the following twelve commandments to practically solving the problems of poverty-stricken people:
I believe that out of these 12 steps, steps 1, 2, 3, 8 and 9 are especially critical to building affordable houses for the poor in Haiti. Clearly, it is important to visit Haiti and spend ample time with the local population to better understand local demographics, culture and climatic conditions. Pursuing conversations with the local people and understanding their challenges around homelessness would help refine the requirements around building affordable houses. For instance, Paul's visit to homeless areas in Denver and pursuing conversations with Joe made him understand the importance of "..."
Similarly, in Haiti, every house entrance needs to have 2 doors, one for the people to get in and out and the other one for the spirits to leave. Such unique cultural implications can impact the underlying cost of affordable housing.