Manny’s Visit

I really appreciated getting the opportunity to listen to Manny Ohonme speak when he came into our class. I thought that his story was very interesting and I could see myself following a similar path. I think that his solution wasn’t necessarily the most unique idea in the world, but his passion is what drove the idea forward and that was most important.

This idea does make me question one thing: does something you are passionate about necessarily represent something that people truly need? Was he approaching the problem the right way? As a child, he won his first pair of shoes and it was the greatest feeling ever at the time, but does it represent what people need?

It was interesting hearing a real live example of something that we have been talking about since the beginning of the semester. After learning about people’s seemingly simple solutions in Africa like the laptops and the spinning play pump, I tried to think of Manny’s concept from a similar lens.

I do believe that what backed up his idea was his research. It was well thought out and solid beyond what I had expected and the solution was simple. I think what I liked most about the solution though was the fact that he added a human aspect. His team didn’t just send shoes in care packages to Africa where kids would grab shoes that have fallen from a payload in the sky. His team physically travelled out to where the people they wanted to help were living and washed their feet. It was an opportunity for interaction, but also for more learning. Manny would have the chance to see how his project was helping children and learn about different ways he could improve his product.

I think that if I ever work on a project as large scale as Manny’s I would definitely want it to fall under the category of ‘Social Innovation.’ While his project will hopefully make a great profit so that he can continue to work on it and innovate, it’s powerful because the people come first. This is what I believe makes his idea special and powerful for the world.

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