Maybe it is my love for Africa after living there a year and a half, or possibly my fascination with all things creative and entrepreneurial, but I find this story absolutely awe inspiring.
For those of you unfamiliar, meet 13 year old Richard Turere of Nairobi, Kenya. Tasked with watching and protecting his family's cattle, Richard learned at an early age the threat of predators, in this case, lions. With lions coming in at night and killing his family's livestock, they were losing both money and food. As a result, Richard used some passion and creativity to create a solution for this problem that effected both his family and others in the region.
Recognizing that the lions would stay away when he walked around with a flashlight, he took advantage of their apparent fear of moving light. Richard designed an LED lighting system powered by a solar panel and battery. When in operation, the LED lights alternate being on, giving the same effect as someone walking with a flashlight. Since his invention of "Lion Lights", his family has not had to deal with any lions killing their cattle. In fact, Lion Lights has now been utilized by nearby farmers as well.
Similar to the Cheetah Program that gives farmers Anatolian Shepherds to protect their livestock from Cheetahs (and ultimately protect Cheetahs from farmers), Lion Lights is an easy to use, low-cost option to improve the number of farmer's livestock, as well as the number of lions left in the wild.
It is stories like this that prove it is not always traditional training that solves everyday problems, but rather passion and creativity. It is this passion and creativity that has not only helped Richard Turere create a solution to a common problem, but also an invitation to speak at TED.
It goes to show, it doesn't matter who you are or where you are from, good ideas come from everywhere, it is just a matter of following through with them.