Want to create something with social impact? 3 things to remember


Posted at Mar 27 2017 01:09 PM

Engineer Aisa Mijeno, the inventor of the SALt lamp, talks about the importance of pursuing one’s passion to a crowd of students during the TFCU Talk at the Dolphy Theater. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA – Here are some words of wisdom from a millennial that has made her mark on the world.

Engineer Aisa Mijeno, the woman who created the Sustainable Alternative Lighting (SALt) lamp, is one of the speakers of the TFCU Talk organized by ABS-CBN’s The Filipino Channel.

Speaking to a predominantly young audience at the Dolphy Theater on Monday, Mijeno said: “You don’t have to do big things to make a change in the world… As early as possible, try to discern and learn what success means to you, because success means differently to people.”

She continued: “Do not be afraid of failures, of making mistakes, especially when you’re young. Take this as an opportunity for you to learn. And if you’re going to dream for yourself… please include the country in it. Because who is going to dream for our country but us? The youth is the future of this country.”

After graduating in 2006 with a degree in Engineering, Mijeno practiced in the industry for four years and eventually quit her job to “find my purpose.”

She traveled across the country and Southeast Asia by volunteering in various organizations until she found her inspiration in a makeshift machine in northern Vietnam that serves the needs of the community.

“I wanted to address the basic problem of lack of access to light and electricity,” she said.

And then, the SALt lamp was born.


Mijeno went on to share the principle she followed when she developed the SALt lamp, which has been recognized in the 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit by no less than then US President Barack Obama.

The Filipina engineer showed a diagram with three important elements: human-centered design, material accessibility and basic human need.

Mijeno demonstrates how two teaspoons of salt and a bottle of water can power the SALt lamp. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

“If you want to create an innovation which has a social impact, it should revolve around these three things. First, it should have some sort of human-centered design. The design should revolve around the behavior of your target users. Another thing is the material should be accessible enough for them to create the innovation themselves. And last but not the least, it should cater to a basic human need,” she said.

Explaining how she used these for her invention, she continued: “Pouring liquid is deeply wired in their (community) brain… that’s one of the reasons why we didn’t take it out of the process. But instead of pouring kerosene, we’re pouring in salt water. Instead of lighting up a match, we’re pushing an on and off button.”

“That’s the importance of human-centered design. We are adapting our technology against their behaviors so they can adapt into using our technology a lot easier and eventually stray from using kerosene lanterns and use alternatives,” she added.