One thing that blew my mind at yesterday's conference was the amazing range of possibility that technology offers.

We tend to think of the latest and greatest as being only available at huge cost to the rich and the high-class, to those willing to invest in top-of-the-range branded everything. The truth is innovation happens at the edges.

It takes innovation to see a gap in the market and develop a solution.

Like the bloke further up the continent (Uganda, I think) who discovered the only tall tree in his village, once climbed, offered cellphone reception. He built a platform and steps up to the top of the tree and now charges $1 for people to "reach new heights" and make their call.

Or what about the mobile wheelchair payphones in Kenya - folk who are wheelchair-bound, who mount a payphone to their transport and offer a mobile service. Brilliant.

And the system of money transfer also operating further north, where one person buys cellphone airtime, transfers it to another phone, and the recipient can then cash out the equivalent amount in real currency.

Africa is full of innovation. One of my favourite mind-blowing sites is right here. Africans are amazing when it comes to figuring out a plan. They see a gap and they take it, using incredible figure-it-out skills and whatever's lying around.

And it's all happening at the edges - not in the big, well-paid and well-equipped corporations.

I have to wonder if corporations are killing creativity by taking their workers out of the "real world" and sticking them in a "lab rat" environment. How much more innovation would happen if they simply set them free to go find cool stuff to do?

Prime example is opensource software - much of it developed in someone's mom's basement and contributed to by the masses as it grows.

Take Facebook - young bloke, cool concept, took off. Flickr. Digg. You name it. The best stuff isn't "sponsored" at start-up.

Yesterday I attended a Sustainable Business seminar that got me thinking very very hard about technology, opportunity, green business practice and the community I live in. I wrote stuff down furiously as ideas and concepts hit my braincells. Now it's going to take time to sift through all that and find the jewels, the things that Could.Just.Work. Most of it's going to take more knowledge-gathering and a whole lot of determination to push past nay-sayers. A good deal of it is going to need to percolate before it gets let out in word, text or practical application.

But I'm inspired. Enthused. Had that mind-window opened and the possibilities truly are endless.