Innovation 101 – How much is too much?

Last night my daughter asked me to get her a new cellphone. I found myself using Oscar Wilde’s cynicism against her – “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” – little realising that I myself had fallen prey to the ‘glamour’ of new technology quite mindlessly over the past few years.

<cut to next thought>————————————————————-

I was drawn to this hilarious quote from the funny guy, Leslie Nielsen, and then started to see it as very profound.

Doing nothing is very hard to do…you never know when you’re finished.

I am so tickled because I seem to be one that’s taking the ‘easy’ way out.

<cut to next thought>——————————————————-

I remember as a kid I was competing in an elocution contest at high school and the text of my speech went something like this –

“… opportunity is a Goddess who comes rushing along. She has a thick bushy forelock but is bald at the back. She must be grappled by the forelock, otherwise there is no catching her … “.

Although I managed to impress the judges by my power of rote, it is not until now, four decades later, that its true meaning has hit me. Viva the global meltdown!!

<cut to next thought>———————————————————–

I seem to have become a prisoner of technology. Technology, including IT, can provide the platforms as well as some of the ‘invisible’ pieces, which I call the ‘How to’ part. That’s about the maximum I can expect technology to do on its own. The ‘What’ part of the equation (I call it the value concept) needs to come first; what on earth is a value concept?

<dissolve, transition – take a deep breath>———————————– 


Since we cannot predict or visualise the future accurately, all the more reason to create it. The problems we see today are results of what we did, or perhaps did not do, in the past. The present is the past of tomorrow. The answer lies in taking small steps, but in concert with the world.

<cut to next thought>———————————————————

How much is too much? If I can never have too much of a good thing, how do I know when I’ve had enough?

The key shift has to do with mindsets, attitudes, and a willingness to ignite the change we’d like to see. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”.

Attitudes, red tape and bureaucratic disposition of the corporate world are what have caused our misery. The more visible, but ‘softer’ tape of the Government can be cut easily and we all know how. It is the private enterprise’s mercenary and holier than thou attitude – so beautifully cloaked in the marketing acronym CSR – enticingly rendered by their advertising agencies and transmitted through a co-conspiring media, that continues to silently erode the insides of society much like a cancer does to the human body. We are nearing terminal stages. Let’s grant it to our Corporates –  who take the word “Private” quite literally – that the quality of their red tape is infinitely stronger. It is fortified by their presumptuous superiority and composed of materials that cannot be cut through even by a laser knife.

 <fade-in transition to reality>

Innovation can never happen in isolation. A way forward, and this is one of the basics of sustainable innovation, is to first look around our own spaces to see what already exists. Nothing is ever too much if it can be ‘given back’ to the system within reasonable time, even if in another form, and is consumed without disturbing the minute balance of nature.

Technology is a toolbox for social change and technopreneurs must take it as their duty to identify the value that their ‘products’ will provide to those who will use them to positively transform and sustainably impact society as a whole.


May the world of our children be driven …

… less by the hunger for the power to own and more by the willingness to belong;

… less by the striving for independence and more for the mutual value of interdependence;

… less by the aggression of competition and more by the power of collaboration.


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