In my excitement, what I did not understand back then was that innovative products and services can change people’s lives, but are not necessarily a guarantee that change will happen. True innovation can involve new products and services, but requires a broader definition; it can also mean taking an existing idea, product, or service and applying it to a new context to catalyze change through resources that already exist.
In addition to unexpected industry and business activity, I witnessed an immensity of resourcefulness, strong work ethic, and creative entrepreneurial spirit in Dharavi. I realized that we, in the social enterprise world, do not need to create solution from scratch. Sometimes all that’s needed to help a community is to build off of the ecosystem and resources that already exist by contributing a simple catalyzer – It may not necessarily be new, but just missing in the context at hand.