Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Who Else Is Innovation For?

Today, virtually all innovation in products, services, ideas, processes, and environments, is accomplished for those who reside in the top 20% of the global economic strata. Common logic holds that innovation should be directed to those who can most easily pay for it. “Common” logic is not God’s logic, however. Searching online Bible sites for the keywords “poor,” “money,” or “poverty,” quickly reveals that allusions to the poor are everywhere in Scripture. One example is the challenge of Moses to his people found in Deuteronomy 15:10-11 (Peterson, 1995): “Give freely and spontaneously. Don't have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God's, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors.” Our personal relationship with the poor is an indicator of our present status with God.
Perhaps we are obligated to redirect a portion of our innovation resources to those at “the bottom of the pyramid.” The development of efficient markets and effective business models through enterprise innovation should generate a needed economic transformation, but more importantly, must provide members of our global community respect, choice, self-esteem, and a welcomed future (Prahalad, 2006).

Dr. Gary Oster
Regent University
School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship


Innovation, poverty, esteem, choice, design, Christian leadership


Peterson, E. (1995). The message. Colorado Springs, CO: Navpress.
Prahalad, C. (2006). The fortune at the bottom of the pyramid. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Wharton School Publishing.