Thursday, February 14, 2013

“Let There Be Light!”

At their best, world-changing ideas can be simple, elegant, engaging and enlightening.  They don’t always require millions of dollars of seed money and armies of advocates.  An idea doesn’t have to be expensive to be really big ... and really good.

I recently saw a video about a new kind of light bulb that has the potential to change millions of lives … especially among impoverished people who live in dark shacks in slums in The Philippines, where electricity is unavailable or unreliable. 

The idea was generated by a group of students from MIT.  Take a simple, one-liter plastic bottle.  Fill it with water and a few tablespoons of bleach (to prevent algae).  Install it through a sealed hole cut in a metal roof. 

This solar bottle bulb provides a surprising amount of light to gloomy interiors by refracting sunlight.  It can be installed in less than an hour, lasts for five years, and is equivalent of a 60-watt bulb.

One good idea can also lead to others.  Sponsorship of this initiative in the Philippines could be a great opportunity as part of a corporate social responsibility campaign, sponsored by The Clorox Company, Coca-Cola or NextEra Energy Resources, one of the biggest solar power companies in the U.S.  It could be a big idea for your firm … or ours.

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