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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Transcript of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Young boy growing up in Malawi, born in 1987
Eldest son of seven children, his father was a past merchant and current maize and tobacco farmer
Innovator at a young age - he opened a radio repair business with his cousin around 11
Primary school grades were not good enough to get into a government funded secondary school
Attended only six weeks of secondary school because of famine that struck Malawi in 2001, his father was unable to pay school fees ($80 USD).
Williams Self-Taught Education
As William was unable to attend school, he would walk daily to his old school, Wimbe Primary School where he would talk with the librarian and borrow books which had been donated by Malawian Teacher Training Activity (MTTA), a project of USAID . He found
and learned about windmills which created electricity and also pumped water.
William started visiting a scrapyard and started gathering pieces that looked similar to diagrams in his books.
First he built a prototype using a radio motor
Initial 5-meter windmill out of a broken bicycle, tractor fan blade, old shock absorber, dynamo and blue gum trees.
He was able to upgrade the windmill by replacing dynamo and hooking the windmill to a car battery for storage, he was able to power four light bulbs and charge neighbors’ mobile phones.
Again the system was even equipped with homemade light switches and a circuit breaker made from nails, wire, and magnets.
Geoffrey - Cousin who was required to go and work in Maize mill, saw belts being used in mill and suggested replacing bike chain with belt
Gilbert - Local chief's son and Williams best friend who donated several items and money when necessary.
Trywell - Williams father was always supportive of William spending time in the library, even stood up for him when his sisters were upset that they had to work.
Local Welder - At first questioned William but the second time he brought equipment in, he no longer asked questions and welded for free.
William is a true innovator because:
"ability to understand and apply complex technical knowledge" (Rogers, 2003, p. 282).
"must be able to cope with a high degree of uncertainty about innovation" (Rogers, 2003, p. 282).
"innovator must also be willing to accept an occasional setback" (Rogers, 2003, p. 283).