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Understanding and applying the concept of innovative communities, to achieve sustainable development
Sustainable Development: Innovative Communities
Innovativenes > Creativity + Originality

Creativity has to do with the ability to bring something new into existence. However, a person may conceive of something new and visualize its usefulness, but not take the necessary action to turn it to reality. Originality is a related term of creating a solution that is different an dunique.

Innovation is the process of doing new things to transform creative and original ideas into useful applications. Therefore, innovativeness is more than creativity. Creativity is the ability to generate new ideas and solutions. Innovativeness goes beyond in including the adaptation and implementation of new ideas.

In understanding innovativeness, we look at novelty - Does the innovative idea represent a leap of creativity? Effectiveness - Is there evidence of tangible results? Significance: Does the innovation address a problem of public concern? Transferability: Can the innovation, or elements of it, be adopted by others?

Applying these ideas to the level of a community - in enabling the community to develop innovative ideas for its survival - whether to conserve the environment or to prepare for a disaster or to survive economically - is an innovation in itself!

Look at the following examples of communities in Japan that have developed ideas to reduce and reuse/recycle the wastes it generated:

  • converting PET bottles into winter blankets for use in emergency/disaster shelters during disasters. Each blanket requires 30 1-litre PET bottles to be prepared. (Yamanashi City)
  • collecting milk cartons and other easily recyclable paper products to be recycled into toilet tissue paper. Households have exchanged such paper products for tissue rolls from recycling companies operating in their neighbourhood (Kita Kyushu City).
  • storing used cooking oil which is then collected by a local company run by women of the community to manufacture soap and other soap products (Kawasaki city).
  • campaigning local supermarkets and shops to reduce use of plastic bags by providing incentives such as selling tote bags made by the community, charging for plastic bags or earning points that can be redeemed for products in the shops (Shizuoka).
  • providing specially designed one cubic meter plastic bags for composting. They will last for seven or eight years and will completely decompose a load in two or three months. They heat up really well (which kills all maggots and other odor causing critters) and easy to use with easy to open top and bottom for filling and emptying

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