India Needs Ideas, Innovation and Creativity

Posted on May 17, 2010 in Society

Aarti Agarwal:

A person bereaved isolated from his love on the other side of the river could not wait for the boat to reach his love. He found out a solution to this problem. He had a bicycle with him and some other plastic stuff. He used them to devise a cycle with which he could paddle over the water and reach the other end of the river to meet his love. This is the power of love.

This is just one of the instances as to how the ideas emerge. It is always said ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ and the above example proves that. It is nothing that people studying in the best universities or best schools can only be the innovators. I would rather say that people at such institutions only borrow ideas from such people and earn by rendering the real authors anonymous! People in villages or in slums might not be rich in monetary wealth but they do not lack the intellectual capital. It’s just that they do not have any degree or certificate to justify that!

Government is continuously spending hefty sums on programs like NREGS which pays people for digging and fails to recognise their real talent. There’s a lady in a particular village who carves beautiful designs on the stacks of cow dung cakes! Now that’s creativity and if recognized can bring a lot of tourists to throw money on such marvel! Now when she is being already gifted with this talent why does she need to dig stones in the ground? Government should make an effort to understand people’s talents and capabilities and hence allot them work so that they earn a living by working at what they are good at.

Honeybee network and the National Innovation Foundation is an endeavour in this direction to recognize the anonymous innovators who were hidden in the dark lanes of slums. It takes them out of ignominious ambiguity and rewards them identity. N R Narayana Murthy in his book ‘A Better India, A Better World’ has said many times that government should encourage entrepreneurship instead of trying to redistribute the wealth. We need to create wealth by means of new ideas, innovations and creativity. And ideas should be such that it benefits the people at the bottom of the pyramid. This is the only way to solve the big problems of poverty and unemployment faced by India.

Any small problem can be a potential source of motivation for an exemplary idea or invention. For example, your cellphone is kept on the table 2 feet far from you. You do not wish to stand and go to get that bottle. Now take this as a problem. You have a thread and long ruler and a magnet handy with you. You tie the three things up and get the phone at your hand without bothering to stand! This is an invention. It is a very simple example of how can we get ideas and be the innovators for this world.

There’s one other enormous source of ideas which is all around us and still goes unnoticed! The source is the nature! Learning ideas from the nature and imitating them to solve the problems of society is known as biomimicry. You may say that honey bee network is an example of biomimcry! As another example we can quote the new turbine blades developed by WhalePower which increases efficiency by 32%. Inspiration for these turbines is the flippers humpback whales!

In order to develop in contemporary world, one needs ideas more than any professional degree. This is what the blockbuster ‘3 Idiots’ was also trying to say. My sincere request to youth of the nation through this article is to go after searching ideas instead of jobs. Let money and marks be secondary motivators and lets now look for possible solutions to the issues faced by the nation. Purpose of education must not be to enforce competitive excellence rather to arouse intellectual curiosity. All we need is IDEAS…

The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.