Amy Smith, founder of the MIT D-Lab is working with villagers in war-ravaged Uganda to help them help themselves. She is helping them learn how to creatively develop new ideas to make their lives better.
She is teaching them the tools of design and innovation that will help them to overcome local problems with local solutions. For instance, participants have developed 15 new methods of threshing peanuts, which are an important part of the local diet.
Smith refers to this process as “creative capacity building” — in other words, giving people a sense of how to design the solutions to their own problems. “It places the expertise in the village instead of at MIT,” Taha says. The local people know what the tasks are that they need to do, so the idea is to get them to “take that expertise you have, and develop a tool that helps you to do it better.
The D-Lab team is putting their skills to great use. Creative capacity building is something many companies could use here, too.