The Rockefeller Foundation had a simple question: How can you turn a solar-powered flashlight into an all-purpose room light? For parts of the world that lack access to regular electricity, the answer to this question could save lives in hospitals, educate children after dusk, and power cottage industries after the crops are harvested.

Yet no one knew the answer. And so the Rockefeller Foundation paired up with InnoCentive to ask 160,000 independent inventors worldwide how they might transform...

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