Innovation 101: Going forward into the past

One of the most striking examples I’ve seen of retrofuturist design is the present version Volkswagen Beetle. It simply ‘brings the emotional ‘iconic user connect’ back into our evolving cultural and aesthetic sensiblities using current state of technology’. 

Many argue that the comeback version of the VW Beetle is ‘quasi plagiarism and that it insults the intelligence of the consumer’ or that it is merely a fad. And that one should not dilute the idea of ‘serious innovation’ by resorting to gimmicks like these.

1961 Beetle (approx) in Seattle with sunroof i...
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There’s no argument. But I couldn’t agree less with such a contention. Continue reading “Innovation 101: Going forward into the past”


Irresponsibles … 101 lessons from Mumbai.

The daily cartoon strip You Said It was starte...
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Am I glad that I’m not a PR-ofessional. The physical destruction we saw through 26/11 will not only be mended, even the scars will fade. Those that lost their near and dear will learn to handle their emotional crises. The politicians will do what they’re best at – hide behind/beside/despite their ideologies. Things will go on. And we’ll wait for the next strikes for the above pattern to repeat itself. While the terror mongers are being incisively innovative, we’ll do what we’re best at – shout/scream/criticise/blame despite ourselves.

I’m not about to list 101 lessons I learnt in the wake of terror. There aren’t that many anyway. In my view there’s only one lesson that I call “Irresponsibility 101” which simply speaks of the basics of irresponsible thoughts/ideologies/action/behaviour.

Here’s my unqualified and unresearched list of Irresponsibles (a la Incredibles).

  1. Politicians – whose primary responsibilities have been reduced to providing basic infrastructure, roads, power, water, transportation, security. I met an interesting and accomplished gentleman this morning, Professor A K Puri whose words I paraphrase here – ‘the government of India has become redundant and they cannot even fulfill their diminished responsibilities. No power so the genset industry thrives. No water so people drill their own bore wells. Even the private security industry is booming since nobody has the confidence that the government will go beyond protecting their own ilk (Z-cover). Public transport needs no mention, nor do roads’.
  2. India’s hand-in-glovers – India Inc. in glove with celebrity personalities from the elite sections of society, both of whom include/own/influence/in glove with media. Media, the perfect vehicle for PR-ofessionals to reach the masses.
  3. Endorsers – the aam aadmi, RK Laxman’s common man who’s silent/bewildered/helpless/victimised and whose main fault is that he tolerates eternally.
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Mind colonisation

Subramaniam Shankar has capped it beautifully in his comment (Another name for colonisation) to an article that appeared in the Boston Review.

Quote “The hyped info-tech or other exports from India or for that matter manufactured goods from China to the rest of the world is all happening for one reason,the west cannot get away from colonial mindset”. – unquote.

My only disagreement is where he calls it “Neo” colonisation. There’s nothing new about the west’s mindset of colonising. What to say of a political culture that has always wanted to colonise – first it was territories, then natural resources (they didn’t even spare the North pole) and now they want to use the same money-might to colonise the mind.

To emphasise my point I re-quote Shankar – “the west cannot get away from colonial mindset.” Why blame them! All they have ever known and probably will ever know is the power of money. And the acquisition of material effects. Their people however know. See they write insightful lyrics – ‘Money can’t buy me love’. – Beatles Continue reading “Mind colonisation”