Late last year I visited members of the EssentialTech team at EPFL: they spent some time describing some of the challenges faced when transferring technology for use in developing nations. Examples included dealing with frequent power outages and extreme operating conditions (such as using hermetically sealed, protective suits in stifling temperatures or mechanical equipment where there are high quantities of dust and sand).
Here’s a teaser video for the course:
The content looks extremely interesting. Here’s the description:
Technology innovation can be a great enabler for development in low and middle-income countries. This course presents a methodology and an approach to develop impactful innovations that have the power to foster sustainable development.
Whether you are from an industrialized or a developing country, whether you are employed in a company, an NGO, an international organization or a government. Whether you are an academic, an independent entrepreneur, or simply a passionate individual, this course is for you.
You will learn how, as an innovator, you can help solve important issues that burden those living in poverty.
Through practical examples, we will demonstrate how you can take your initiative from a blank sheet of paper through to large-scale deployment of your technology innovation.
This course is not just about coming up with a nice idea, or designing a nice prototype, but more importantly, about sustainably deploying it at large scale.
It fosters an entrepreneurial approach, as you will learn how to design business models that are relevant to address development-related challenges. It encourages co-creating the solution with the key stakeholders involved, including the affected populations.
Coming-up with solutions that are more affordable and more durable, that require less use of consumables and electricity while still being economically viable, concerns all of us, and not just the people living in poverty.
There is no previous knowledge required.
EssentialTech is doing really important work. They’re smart, passionate people focused on improving the lives of the 100s of millions of people still living in poverty. Based on their track record, this course is likely to be extremely helpful for innovators looking not only to do something significant for the planet but to meet the needs of a large, under-served market.