Traditional approach to problem solving involves identifying the root causes, addressing the constraints and acting on them with the right set of resources. However, there are many scenarios where one has to work with constraints and find solutions working around it. How can one innovate working with constraints? Some success stories from different domains which help us understand this are presented below :
Infrastructure as constraint: Google Internet Balloons
Today though world is a connected place, majority
of the world still does not have the basic infrastructure to have internet connectivity.
Who is solving this problem . Guess what?
There is no more dependency only on the Governments to provide the infrastructure. Global Tech companies are taking on themselves to provide the solution. Google’s Project Loon is an initiativeto create a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to connect people in rural and remote areas, help fill coverage gaps, and bring people back online after disasters.
Facebook is trying to address the similar challenge by using Solar Drones which can provide this connectivity.
Skills as constraint : Vivek Randive’s basketball coaching
When Vivek Ranadive ( CEO of TIBCO) decided to coach his daughter’s Basketball
team made up of twelve year olds he had two problems. One he had never played
Basketball and second the team he had did not have the basic characteristics in terms of physical build up to be a great basketball team. He acknowledged these constraints he had both in coaching and playing skills. He then came up with a strategy of play which challenged the traditional approach to basketball. Since his girls didn’t have the skills to compete by traditional methods, his formula was to have them grab possession of the ball as much as possible. They played “full-court press” and blocked passes, double-teamed the best players and blocked inbound balls. They won all their games and went to the national championship.
Cost and Awareness as constraint : Indian Sanitary Napkin Revolution
In rural India women have very poor awareness on sanitary hygiene and the usage of sanitary napkin is very minimal. Though the issue is wide prevalent there has not been a great deal of work to address this problem.
Arunachalam Muruganantham’s a school drop out in rural south India decided to take it upon himself to find a solution.After great hardship he made a breakthrough in manufacturing a low cost sanitary napkin machine.His invention was honoured by elite institutions and soon he started engaging with several rural communities across India to use his invention to build self sufficient low cost manufacturing units operated by women to produce and distribute sanitary napkins. A classic case of how social entrepreneur has addressed the constraint to help address a serious problem prevalent in society.
The three stories above provides us a perspective on how the constraints of different nature can be used to be turned into advantage!