One day while walking to church in Nairobi, Kenya, Kenton Lee noticed a little girl in a white dress who had shoes that were way to small for her feet. He thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a shoe that could adjust and expand – so that kids always had a pair of shoes that fit?”
That question led to the development of “The Shoe That Grows,” a shoe that grows from a size 5 to a size 12 and can last from 5 to 10 years. The Shoe That Grows is the first project of Because International, an organization committed to practical compassion and creating “innovative products that help people living in extreme poverty.”
The organization’s seven-step process provides an inspiring model for creating innovations that can help those in poverty:
1. Listening — We start by listening to those living in extreme poverty in order to hear their thoughts, ideas, and dreams about how to have a better life.
2. Idea Identification — We identify the best ideas which will lead to sustainable changes, and then we work together to make it a reality.
3. Idea Exploration —Through our innovation conversations and connecting with experts, designers, inventors, and others – we explore the idea and find the best possible improvements.
4. Product Design and Creation — Utilizing the resources of top companies, designers, and manufacturers – we finalize the creation and design of the product and take it through the prototyping process.
5. Final Product — All of this leads us to the final product – something that can bring sustainable change and improvement to the lives of those in poverty.
6. Put it back into the hands of those in poverty for production, sales, and distribution — We take the final product and allow local people in developing countries to take ownership of the production, sales, and distribution of the product.
7. Start all over again!