Proximity Designs has been ranked among the world’s 50 Best Workplaces for Innovators by US-based business magazine, Fast Company. Proximity Designs, one of only two companies from Asia Pacific featured, joins a list of 50 winners that includes some of the world’s largest and most successful companies such as Amazon, Mozilla and Salesforce.
Fast Company’s 50 Best Workplaces for Innovators aims to identify and honor companies that are truly dedicated to encouraging innovation at all levels of the organization. Proximity Designs is an award-winning social business, launched in 2004 in Myanmar that designs and delivers affordable, income-boosting products that complement the entrepreneurial spirit of rural families.
“When you’re working to meet the needs of one of the most underserved markets in the world, innovation isn’t optional. Whether it’s finding groundbreaking ways to make products more affordable and in reach, or rapidly adapting to keep up with the changes brought-on by the country’s recent development, creative and innovative thinking is the key to having a chance at success,” says Jim Taylor, CEO and Co-founder of Proximity Designs.
Proximity takes an innovative approach in everything from research, where foundational studies such as Paddy to Plate – a groundbreaking study of the rice ecosystem in Myanmar – that inform the organization’s work, to product design which is conducted through a rapid process of iterative co-creation and prototyping. The company’s recent soil health testing service – $18 product that puts precise and personalized soil care advice within reach of thousands of Myanmar farmers for the first time – emerged from such a process.
Key to the organization’s creative muscle is its design lab, which houses a team of user-experience researchers, product and service designers, engineers and business designers. Proximity has also worked to foster an organization-wide culture of innovation through Proximity School, its in-house professional school that leads ongoing training in creative problem-solving for the whole company.