Every once in a while I come across an idea so cool I just have to share it. The Soccket Rocket is one such idea. Two young entrepreneurs from Harvard were given a classroom challenge…find a need, and fill it using art and science. Their answer, to use football (the art) to provide a cheap form of power to the nearly one in five people across the planet with no access to power.
It’s basically an adapted football with a magnet and some coils of wire inside. When it spins, it generates power. At the end of play, you plug stuff into it like LED lighting///which would be much much better than the lung smashing light from kerosene. Great. An inexpensive and fun way of solving a very real problem using art and science.
Whilst we’re on kerosene lights. I once came across this even simpler idea for those living in homes with very low levels of light during the day.
Using purified water and bleach (to stop mould from making it go cloudy) residents get light.
So what can we learn form these two examples? For me, the major takeaway is that ideation is a piece of cake. It’s the implementation that’s the hard part. Here are two learnings on actually implementing your idea:
- Prototype: Both ideas have actually been implemented, which means that at some stage someone had to actually make the thing. Prototyping is one of THE best ways of testing out your idea, and explaining it to others. The Harvard team were told their football socket was impossible, so they ignored the advice and got help from someone who didnt’t know it was impossible.
- Bootstrapping: Necessity is the mother of all invention, so says the old saying. With bootstrapping, we look around us for immediate solutions using whatever resources are at hand. Knocking a hole in the roof and plugging it with a soda bottle full of water is a great demonstration of bootstrapping in practice. He didn’t have a business plan, or a marketing strategy…he just did it
The next time you have an idea that you believe in. Prototype it using anything you can get your hands on. Showing is better than telling, and a prototype is a great way to both try out and then communicate your idea to others. For immediate execution you can try bootstrapping your idea, i.e. launch it on a small-scale by hook or by crook. Adapt. Improvise. Just do it now and get your idea out there.