“Necessity is the mother of invention”

– Proverb

Where would we be in this world if people didn’t think out of the box? Consider life without Galileo, Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, Marie Curie, Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs… Each of these scientists and inventors have all made a tremendous impact on the course of human history. Each has changed the world in such a way that, had they never existed, life as we know it would be unfathomable.

The #WingdSolve contest is designed to celebrate out of the box thinking in young inventors and innovators. The goal of the campaign is to accumulate an inventory of unconventional solutions to issues affecting communities across the globe. As a #WingdSolve ambassador, I wanted to take the time to celebrate those who are being the change they want to see in the world, and provide clear examples of the kinds of submissions the #WingdSolve campaign is looking for.

William KamKwambe standing on his windmill.
William KamKwambe standing on his windmill.

Beginning our journey in Africa, William Kamkwamba built windmills out of scrap metal to bring electricity to his community. In 2002, the Malawi teenager read a book at the library about windmills and was inspired to build his own. He used wood for the frame, scrap metal for the four panels and a bike wheel as a pulley. His ingenuity powered enough energy for two lightbulbs and two radios. William’s invention was ground-breaking for the Malawian village. Shortly afterwards, he built a second windmill to pump water and facilitate irrigation for crops for his entire village. William Kamkwamba started his journey with a library book. This spark turned into a source of energy and power an entire village in Malawi. You can hear his story on TEDTalks.

Alex Deans, founder of iAid
Alex Deans, founder of iAid

Alex Deans, from Windsor Ontario, was inspired to build a navigation device for the visually impaired at 12 years old when he helped a blind woman cross the street.  Since that moment, Alex devoted his evenings and weekends to building iAid: a device that uses ultrasonic sensors that guides the wearer through any space. The Ontario teenager learned everything he could about the human eye, vision, and ultrasonic sensors. The result is a belt worn at the waist with sensors that, like echolocation used by bats, reads how far away objects are located. This scan of any space is then transmitted to a handheld joystick which orients a person through the space. His invention was awarded the Weston Youth Innovation Award and has also appeared as a WE Day speaker, inspiring other youth across North America. Read more here.

Lina Khalifeh teaching self-defense in her SheFighter Studio in Jordan.
Lina Khalifeh teaching self-defense in her SheFighter Studio in Jordan.

In Jordan, Lina Khlifeh founded the very first female self-defence studio in the Middle East and North African region. The young social entrepreneur, fuelled by a desire to end violence against women, wanted to empower women in situations where they may be victims of domestic or extra-marital violence. The SheFighter Studio teaches Self-Defence techniques as well as builds confidence, strength, and a sense of security in its female students. Furthermore, the studio also prepares women against mental abuse by offering workshops on harassment, domestic violence and female empowerment. Lina’s mission is to train and empower 10 million women globally in 10 years. So far, Lina’s vision and her entrepreneurship have been recognized by the Emma Watson Foundation and the One Young World Summit, where she had the opportunity to share her story with other young leaders from across the world.

William, Alex and Lina are being the change they want to see in the world. They identified a need and proposed a solution. Thinking inside the box wouldn’t have fuelled their passion or their ingenuity to offer the world some unprecedented inventions, innovations and solutions. Anyone, anywhere, can make a difference. The #WingdSolve contest wants to give innovative and inventive youth a platform to share their solutions with the international community. One solution being implemented in India could be shared online and inspire a community in Bolivia to adapt the original concept to their context.  Together, a grass-roots movement of local problem solvers, networking across oceans and time-zones, is taking shape. Take the #WingdSolve pledge, spread the word, and be the change you want to see in the world… one solution at a time.

To enter a submission, click here.

Anyone, anywhere, can make a difference.