Innovation is powerful – yet often so amazingly simple.  The attached development by 093designer Martin Riddiford is a case in point.  Riddiford’s innovation harnesses a limitless resource – gravity – to provide a reliable source of light for millions of poor households in developing countries.  Riddiford has developed a lamp powered by a small weight which falls approximately six feet in thirty minutes – a small drop – yet enough to provide a light source.  When the weight reaches the floor, the user must manually lift it to restart the process.  The benefit of this low tech approach is a clean, low-cost, reliable source of light which can improve the lives of millions in low income households throughout the developing world.  Undoubtedly, his initial effort will be further developed and provide even greater benefits.

This concept has parallels for innovative partnerships in the food sector to capture excess food and redistribute it to the needy – thus optimizing resource use and minimizing harm to the environment from decomposing food in landfills.  Like Biddiford’s innovation, such partnerships require a little manual effort involving communication and logistics, but they can generate a cost effective, reliable source of high-quality calories to improve the lives of many.  And, like Biddiford’s design, the concept behind such partnerships is simple:  harness something that we already have and use it effectively.  Charitable food organizations are extremely interested in partnering with businesses to capture excess food.  They will provide the initial effort; businesses need only exert a little effort to benefit people and planet while also achieving financial savings and improved workforce morale.