I spent part of the weekend reading Fast Company's 100 Most Creative 2014. The list spanned artists, activists, techies, and global business leaders, as these lists do, with all the usual luminaries and somewhat expected profiles.
Among all the good and the great, It was number 17's story, one about a 50 something year old mechanic turned unexpected medical inventor named Jorge Odón, that stuck with me. It's that "bing" moment, the light bulb, where a confluence of different factors mixed together in a brilliant mind became a solution for millions.
This is a good list to read on a Monday morning, especially if you're not feeling particularly inspired at work. Start with Jorge Odón's story.
17. JORGE ODÓN
INVENTOR, ODÓN DEVICE
Ninety-nine percent of mothers who die during childbirth live in countries where doctors lack access to the training and tools to assist in difficult deliveries.
In 2006, Jorge Odón, then a 52-year-old car mechanic living in Argentina, watched his employees emulate a YouTube video demonstrating how to remove a cork stuck inside a bottle using a plastic bag. That night, at 4 a.m., Odón woke up with an idea: What if the bottle were a uterus and the cork were a baby?
Though he had no medical training, the father of five (all delivered by C-section) constructed a glass uterus and used one of his daughter's dolls to demonstrate the idea. Odón showed the device to specialists at CEMIC, a Buenos Aires teaching hospital, who helped him apply for patents and connected him to the World Health Organization. On March 1, 2011, Odón's birthday, he and his team launched 30 live trials. All were successful.
This year, Odón left the garage for good to work full time on perfecting the Odón Device. Meanwhile, research continues with women across the globe. "No one should be discriminated against for not ever getting the opportunity to study," Odón says of his own foray into medicine. "We are all creatives."