With over 7.5 billion of us around, every second there is a thought, an idea coming to birth and dying away somewhere around this planet! This article tries to look into what makes ideas stick, what makes them fizzle away and why some never see the light of the day and importantly why like with everything else, its not about how many ideas but rather, what’s THE Idea, that always goes on to make the difference! So here we go!
As humans, even when as we come to this world as a fragile bundle of soft and hard parts, that wonderful hard wiring of nature- called curiosity kicks in much before we begin to connect and make real sense of the people and objects around us. The initial formative years are where all the difference is created- between genius innovators and smart innovators and day dreamers! Someone rightly said this, we are all born intelligent and smart, it’s the education (really speaking the quality of education) and the social framework that ruins our potential and with that our ideas and the intrinsic ability to ideate! Certainly I am not suggesting that education is bad or under-serving- the real issue is that much of today’s education is directed at asking individuals to think in a particular way (which serves the immediate social context!) rather than simply helping them to master the process of creative thinking! Like the great philosophers have said earlier, real teachers and masters never ask their student what to see- rather they tell them where to look- what they find, interpret, infer after seeing what they do see, is what creates that differentiation between the power of individual minds to be either awesome, rich or average! Anatomically speaking we can’t be comparing about our brains more than what we can about our complexion or natural color of our eyes or hair, what matters is irrespective of what we are endowed with, how well is that we end up using what we have rather than cribbing about what we don’t have (in many cases its good that we have what we have!) Knowing this background of competing complexities, its really a wonder that humanity has been able to come up with clutter breaking innovative thoughts, ideas and implement them and contribute to the progress which has git us to the point where we are today! Not to forget, behind every success story of an idea, are hidden hundreds, if not thousands of stories of failures and second best solutions which never saw the light of the day, simply because, when it comes to ideas-during a bygone time of our history- it was about- who arrived first and now it’s about who markets it the first! Needless to say, behind every celebrated innovator, are hidden in the closet, skeletons of hundreds of equally intelligent and wise souls- who simply were failed not because of anything to do with their idea- but the simple essence of timing- being there in that moment of time, place and audience- when it mattered the most! So where does the journey of an idea begin really? How does it unfold and what is there for us to learn and unlearn about it? Read on..
Human curiosity when given the right contextual settings rewards us back with an amazing result, ingenuity and the ability to come up with complex or simple solutions that provide relief to some pressing challenges which are in front of us! As long as the immediate surroundings are conducive, receptive and eager to adapt the idea into their fold- as a society or a nation- the idea will live to see the light of the day, then what follows the story of its extent of success is more to do with the quality and the content of the idea- how much meat that idea has intrinsically within and how much is that really dependent on the original ideator! Let me explain this! We have all now about the great surgeon in our country who changed the face of some surgical method and thereby made it easy for everyone to access and get healed! Well now since this technique is perfected by that particular individual, needless to say, as long as he stays there, it works, even if he were to train others, there is never a guarantee that they will be as good as he is or if they will continue to remain as economical and accessible as this person was! So you see, in this case this great idea will only as long as this person is there and with his going away, the context of that idea will never remain what the original thought would have been behind it! This is a classical example wherein the idea remains as the sovereign domain of the Ideator!- Nothing good or bad about it- it’s just that some ideas are supposed to stay this way as far as their lifespan is concerned! Great artistes, innovators, designers, engineers- virtually everyone whoever came up with a creative genius of an idea which could be done and executed in a specific manner- always ensured that the idea had a limited shelf life- albeit the lifetime of the original ideator!
Next, we have those moments in history where the opportunities were out there hidden in plain sight and all it took was some casual or directed observation of an individual to create a rage and a new order or etiquette within societies to adapt and move on with a new lifestyle. This is the domain of ideation wherein the birth of the idea has largely been to facilitate ease of living for humanity and all it takes is one person to observe carefully and plan out a way around the problem! Recent examples the drones that come to drop off your shopping bags, the hailing apps to get a cab or a transport, sure enough that online shopping portal- which has simply gone ahead to make our lives easy and expensive! Well, if you have a closer look to all these modern day, application driven or rather technology based ideas that have made ease of living a possibility- one thing is common that is- they are empowering, simplified, well designed end-to-end (else they would not stand a chance for a day) and they are salable, reproducible and no one is ever complaining about the format or the scheme of the model being replicated- because it just goes to add to the reinforcement power of the original idea and thereby ensures that people stay glued to this space- Basically as more and more people tend to emulate- more and more people start to believe this is the right way and tight thing to do- so these are those ideas which alter lifestyle sand bring about change, sure enough they come with their own costs and banes- which we will discuss some other time!
Finally, the space of that club of ideas, which I call them as milestones in humanity which changed the equation for us to advance further like never before! These are those ideas which come through the mind of a genius but then have to be carefully crafted, worked and developed on an ongoing basis to ensure that ideas stays in-sync with the time and continues to serve the purpose that it has been created for! Very often, this is the space of ideas that come from the areas of pure scientific research and applications that go on to work in various areas of our society from thereon! There are multitudes of industries where you can find these ideas, that exist and thrive- whether its the aviation sector, the weathermen around the world, the medicines and medical devices that keep you alive longer than you actually should be around, that technology of drip irrigation which enabled deserts to bloom, the whole concept of renewable power and integrated electronics, so on and so forth, many such- All these are what I call as great ideas that came from one mind but through collaboration, creativity and openness became better and better with time and today our world seems to be a better place largely because of these collaborative ideas that live their own life alongside us- simply refusing to go away in majority of the cases these have been iconic and a blessing; but in a few rare cases these have been colossal disasters and are as yet a looming danger on our head- yes, you guessed it right that troubled double edged sword of the connected world through social media and all that snoopy surveillance that goes along through the gadgets that we use (or at times abuse, should I say) that led to this unwanted and unwelcome development- which also has ended up sticking around with us!
To give it a kind of sense, an idea whose time has come, is perhaps the most potent force, the reality of that fact although remains within the confines of the contexts where that idea is going to be deployed and how far or how deep it serves of impacts societies! An idea, in some cases as we saw, lives as long as it’s creator lives, in a few other cases, that idea which has been crafted stays much longer even after the creator has gone away- like a gleaming monument testimony to human intellectual finesse and in yet other cases, the idea simply breathes through us and lives alongside us- with every push of a button, there’s an automated idea algorithm already shaping the future of that application that you hold today or that purchase you did today and with every action, engagement, and disengagement we are creating and contributing to the ideas of tomorrow which will either ending up serving us the way we want them to or end up altering our approach and behaviors and make us behave the way the ideas want us to! If you ever wanted to get spooked by living in an era of runway idea and ideas created by machines- well we are already into it and at the moment wading through knee deep waters and with time, we will learn to swim and dive or drown away depending upon whether we adapt or ignore!
I will leave you here, for now; do take a pause to reflect on the idea that either you are working upon or shaping and think for a moment what its is all about and whether you are altering it or you are being altered by it, for that alone will define the future of humanity and decide whether we are able to guard our innate curiosity to be ever more enterprising and ingenious or we surrender to technology to come up with predictable scenarios of the future with needless to say predictable outcomes and pathways!
Ciao for now, will be back soon with another article, until then stay wise, think, ideate and live that idea!