SOURCE: InnoCentive

November 18, 2008 13:57 ET

InnoCentive and EnterpriseWorks/VITA Collaborate to Develop an Affordable Rain Water Storage System for Developing Nations

EnterpriseWorks/VITA Posts Challenge to Solve Major Water Issue; $15,000 Will Be Awarded to Winning Solution

WALTHAM, MA--(Marketwire - November 18, 2008) - EnterpriseWorks/VITA (EWV), an international non-profit organization with a long and distinguished history of fostering economic growth and raising the standard of living for millions in the developing world, announced today a collaborative effort with InnoCentive, Inc., the global innovation marketplace, to solve an issue affecting affordable access to clean water in developing countries. EWV has posted a Challenge on InnoCentive's web site seeking design ideas for a low-cost rain water storage system that can be installed in households.

The solution is expected to facilitate access to clean water at a household level, addressing a problem that affects millions of people worldwide who are living in impoverished communities or rural areas where access to clean water is limited. Domestic rain water harvesting is a proven technology that can be a valuable option for accessing and storing water year round. However, the high cost of available rain water storage systems makes them well beyond the reach of low-income families to install in their homes.

A solution to this problem would not only provide convenient and affordable access to scarce water resources, but would also allow families, particularly the women and children that are usually tasked with water collection, to spend less time walking distances to collect water and more time on activities that can bring in income and improve the quality of life.

News Highlights:

-- The Challenge is looking for a product that can be developed and installed for less than $20 without subsidy and has a storage capacity of 500 liters.

-- Designs that are easily adaptable and serve multiple functions are preferred.

-- Initially the solution will be implemented on a pilot scale in a developing country where there is a significant need for clean water and where the market, environmental, and policy conditions are favorable for large-scale deployment of rain water harvesting by households.

-- The Challenge offers a $15,000 award to the Solver that provides the best solution.

-- The Challenge is now posted on InnoCentive until January 12, 2009 and can be found at:

-- Interested Solvers can also access the Challenge on InnoCentive by visiting the Clean Tech and Renewable Energy and Global Health pavilions.

-- Designing a low-cost rain water storage system is the latest addition to a growing list of Challenges posted on InnoCentive that address social, economic and humanitarian problems worldwide.

-- Recent Challenges that have been solved via InnoCentive include a solar-powered wireless router to help girls in India pursue education and avoid the sex trade and a solar-powered light source for people living without electricity in developing countries.


Don Feil, President and CEO, EnterpriseWorks/VITA

"Harvesting rain water is a big problem in many developing countries. A solution to this would result in significant cost savings for the average family and enable people to quickly improve their living circumstances, rather than spending time trying to acquire basic resources -- an important step in eliminating poverty. InnoCentive's open innovation web site provides the perfect vehicle for us to tap the public to quickly and cost-effectively find the best solutions out there."

Dwayne Spradlin, CEO of InnoCentive, Inc.

"One of the great benefits of open innovation is how it can bring people and organizations together, who would normally not be connected, to find solutions that can benefit society and people's lives in a meaningful way. While the Solvers on InnoCentive's network enjoy the monetary rewards of solving a Challenge, many comment on the personal satisfaction they gain by contributing their expertise to address important real-world problems."

About Enterprise Works/VITA

EnterpriseWorks/VITA (EWV) based in Washington, DC is an international not-for-profit organization combating poverty by helping to build sustainable businesses that create jobs and increase productivity, market opportunities, and incomes and provide important services to the communities they serve. EWV achieves this by expanding access to appropriate technologies, technical assistance, knowledge and finance.

EWV has worked in more than 100 countries in the last 40 years, benefitting millions of people. EWV's programs have a benefit/cost ratio of 7:1. In the past year alone, they have generated over 21 million dollars in total monetary benefits and benefitted close to 2.3 million men, women and children in some of the most disadvantaged countries of the world. Increased resources allow families to improve their standard of living, afford better health care, education and food.

About InnoCentive

Founded in 2001, InnoCentive built the first global web community for open innovation, enabling scientists, engineers, professionals and entrepreneurs to collaborate to deliver breakthrough solutions for R&D-driven organizations. InnoCentive Seekers, who collectively spend billions of dollars on R&D, submit complex problems to the InnoCentive Marketplace where more than 160,000 engineers, scientists, inventors, business people, and research organizations in more than 175 countries are invited to solve them. Solvers who deliver the most innovative solutions receive financial awards ranging up to US$1,000,000. InnoCentive's Seekers include commercial, government and non-profit organizations such as Avery Dennison, Procter & Gamble, Pendulum, Eli Lilly and Company, Janssen, Solvay, GlobalGiving and The Rockefeller Foundation.

For more information on InnoCentive, go to:

InnoCentive and InnoCentive Challenge are registered trademarks of InnoCentive, Inc. Other product or service names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Contact Information

  • For more information contact:

    Connie French
    InnoCentive Marketing Manager
    Email Contact