The TED talk by Navi Radjou reminds us that the best way to address scarcity of resources is to find creative ways to use limited resources. Navi reminds us that North has led the way for innovation because they had resources but now South is teaching North how to innovate with fewer resources. North has no choice but to learn from South because scarcity of resources such as water and energy are also becoming major concerns in the North such as in California. In addition, incomes have been declining in developed nations like the U.S. and many essential services such as healthcare and banking remain outside the reach of millions of Americans.

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Navi offers three ways to innovate with fewer resources, something he called frugal innovation, and they do make sense. His first advice is to keep it simple which reminds me of the importance of a user-friendly interface in many gadgets we use in the west. When things are simple to use, they are adopted by a huge number of people including those with limited knowledge of technology. Navi’s second advice is to use existing technologies to find solutions instead of always looking for more complex inventions. The importance of existence technologies is that they are already widely available and even affordable so the solutions can be implemented relatively quickly and cheaply. Navi’s third suggestion is to think and act horizontally or focus on decentralization instead of centralization. Decentralization makes it easier to meet the needs of different groups and it also reduces complexity as well as increases speed of response.

This is a good TED talk that addresses the basic economics problem of scarcity, and reminds us that innovation is still the best approach even when we have fewer resources.