The Lessons of Technology in the Developing World

If you ever go to buy a used car, you proceed with extreme caution.  These “used car” buying conditions are the same for every transaction a person in a developing nation will faced any time they buy a product.  They don’t have much money to begin with and there’s no exchanges, returns or refunds.  That’s why Bright New Ideas stands behinds its equipment to ensure that our partner organizations have the power to service and replace solar lamps on the ground – to protect those who you are helping those in impoverished rural regions who often have little or no recourse if a product that they purchase fails.

Success Rate and Failure Rate

Solar lamps are not infallible.  Give a solar lamp to a young boy with some simple instructions and in less than 10 minutes he will find out a way to break it very easily in a way that would reasonably happen in the developing world.  ”What happens if I dunk it underwater?  What happens if I drop it from the height of the roof?  What happens if I light it on fire?” asks the curious little boy.  Solar lamps have electronics and a battery inside, which can heat up and die if it’s left out in the sun.  If solar-LED lamps go dead this will increase impoverished people’s rate of skepticism and slow adoption rates as has already happened in Kenya where over 50% of solar-LED products fail within the first 12 months.  Because of this we focus highly on measuring our failure rate – in order to continue providing service to those who need the lamps but also to build toward better designs in the future.

Standing Behind Our Product

Bright New Ideas offers post-shipment lamp service to keep the lamps working over a long period of time and helps ensure that organizations on the ground offer proper warranty service.  We video conference with technicians to assist them in fixing broken solar-led lamps and provide troubleshooting literature to improve their processes.  We transfer knowledge throughout the entire process from when lamps are designed, to when they are brought back in from the field with damage to when they go end of life and are in need of disposal.  This holistic process is aimed at increasing the acceptance rate of solar-LED technology in the developing world among impoverished populations.

Integrated Feedback & Design

Through our design services we are helping non-profit partners find the right lamp that fits their needs.  As a non-profit organization our agenda is not to sell a pre-packaged massively-scaled product.  We can create lamps which have as large or as small of a solar panel as is needed, any type of body or electronics.  We build more “fit” solar lamps for specific areas of the world which may differ completely from one another.  We have learned over time that lamps for Nepal may be completely different than a lamp for Nicaragua.