By Jason Margolis | PRI
August 23, 2016
Sorin Grama had a great idea. Like, a really terrific idea. It was so good, MIT awarded him one of its most prestigious entrepreneurship prizes: second place in the university’s annual 100K Entrepreneurship Competition.
Grama’s team built a machine using old car parts that can heat water without electricity. Think of the possibilities in rural parts of the developing world: Medical clinics could sterilize devices, people could clean clothes with warm water, or they could just take a hot shower, all without being connected to a grid. Revolutionary, right?
Grama took the invention to India expecting a huge response. Instead, he got: “Yeah, OK, that’s fine. But it doesn’t solve our problem.”
He had miscalculated. Rural Indians didn’t want to talk about hot water; they wanted to talk about cold milk.
“We were a classic case of a technology looking for a problem to solve,” Grama says.
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