Innovation 101 – Mouse Trap?

Mousetrap, mouse, bait (chocolate)Enough about money and the Oscars. And I’m still wondering why all the fuss about Slumdog Millionaire. Just like one swallow doesn’t make a summer, one event doesn’t make a nation. Sorry guys, but I’m getting sick and tired of diversions.

First it was Obama’s swearing in that we were waiting for. Come 20th January and we kept waiting for a miracle. Then came the Oscars and we’re all very euphoric that Slumdog Millionaire bagged 8 golds. Now we’ll wait for India to go to the polls and hope that the new government will right the economy. All we’ll do is wait.

The Pied Piper has driven out all the rats – now he’s after our children. And we continue to build better mousetraps while wondering why there are no takers.  The ‘smarter’ guys believe that if the mousetraps were cheaper, they would be able to sell. For me it is a no-brainer that a mousetrap is needed only if there are mice! Come let’s innovate they say. How about a GPS system that will show us where each mousetrap is located. Maybe some wheels to move it around. And a radio controlled wheelster on which to mount it. Gimme a break people – who’s going to ‘grow’ the mice?

We cannot solve the problems that we have created with the same thinking that created them. — Albert Einstein

The first law of holes: If you are in one, stop digging. — Anonymous

Einstein provokes us to change our mindsets and the next quote hammers the point home. Ironically, we can’t even identify who’s doing the hammering (it says ‘Anonymous’ see?). Perhaps it points to each of us who continue to dig the holes we find ourselves in.

What did we do to deserve this predicament? How did we come into the ‘box’ without even realising? Well, actually the box got built around us and before we knew it, we found ourselves in it! John Lennon encapsulates this beautifully, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

Imagine if we could step out of our hole – box if you please – and think outside of it. Could it then give us freedom to look at our current state of affairs without necessarily being attached? Would it not give us the opportunity to design the future without worrying about how we came to the present? Would it allow us to propose solutions that are sustainable without having to compromise ethics? I see a vastly expanded horizon of possibilities that bear highly enriching and sustainable opportunities. 

Unfortunately, our present world crisis cannot be wished away. Even I wish it would go away. Since our ‘box’ has always been, “if it ain’t broken, why fix it”, the new box – if at all – would have to be, “fix it once but fix it right.” 

Excerpted from Wikipedia, “Thinking outside the box is a cliché or catchphrase used to refer to looking at a problem from a new perspective without preconceptions. “Out-of-the-box-y-ness” has also caught on recently, typically used to describe creative, wacky, smart ideas.”
My new age of generalisation will hopefully be defined by an interdisciplinary width that is nicely balanced with a depth of human sensitivity. I am hoping our professionals will learn not only to recognise the value provided by other disciplines, but will also develop a healthy respect for those professions that bring complementary inputs to their solutions. At the end of the day, everything that is produced by human beings is meant for human beings and no one discipline can provide holistic solutions on its own.

Thank God for a world that’s continuously flattening. The challenges ahead are exciting and promising. My clarion call is for stepping out of the box; better still, let’s create a new box instead of having another one grow around us.

 After all, one way to predict the future is to invent it!

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