I have always been fascinated by all kinds of innovation from incremental, disruptive to radical. However, I have recently become obsessed with leapfrogging (my simple definition: skip stages if you can, create a new path if you can with aim of catching up, and even surpassing others who are ahead of you) as a form of innovation to accelerate development to achieve results equal or better than developed economies, and in less time! Leapfrogging over difficult and expensive development stages is the only practical way for developing economies to establish better national systems like education, healthcare, financial inclusion, government services, and many other areas.
The purpose of this article is to start the conversation on this topic, it is worth exploring.
My first encounter with Leapfrogging applying “The Falafel Theory”
In the last 10 years, I have been putting my management experience to work for social change. During this time, I was focused on the question: how to scale change using small, simple, low-cost solutions to specific? I had to come up with a framework/methodology, then pilot it and prove it and then as a typical management consultant, I coined it! “The Falafel Theory”. It actually worked, we introduced 1200 football playgrounds in one year at a cost of USD 300 per unit, launched 650 small student companies, fixed 100,000 school desks, and we are currently experimenting with student-led innovations at 60 public schools. Encouraged and inspired by our achievements, I started exploring even more challenging questions :
· How can countries and organizations skip development stages?
· How can they create alternative growth paths?
· How can they do things faster and at a lower cost?
· How can they leverage existing technologies to achieve the above address challenges?
All roads lead me to leapfrogging and to the African experience. I quickly arrived at the conclusion that leapfrogging is not an intellectual luxury but a development necessity!
But how to start and from where?
I do believe that we can and should “adopt, adapt and make use” of this concept. To contribute to this we will be sharing innovation spotting reports and a leapfrog path starters Innovation Spotting – The Discovery Reports Series
1. The Technology Direction: by identifying how specific technologies are being used (Drones to plant 100,000 trees per day) and what possibilities we can generate for our local environment.
2. The Challenge Direction: by framing problems then identifying how technologies are / will resolve such problems.
The outcome of these two directions, is a “Discovery Report” for leapfrogging possibilities (yes, they are only ideas and maybe dreams as well, but why not? As they say “If you cannot imagine it you cannot build it” ). This should form the basis for real work to start and to leverage technology, knowledge, and wisdom accessible to all these days. It will be a missed opportunity not to leverage this available knowledge!
The Leapfrog Path – generic method to produce relevant approaches
Share a generic methodology we are naming 10S to serve as the starting point of shaping a tailored approach for each context and opportunity
Please join us in progressing this narrative into the future
To leapfrog or not, I am leapfrogging!