How do we approach innovation

November 3, 2021by Editorial Team
Believe in action

Innovation is an arduous process; but with a bias towards action, it is not a far cry. First it is worth unearthing the root cause.

India produces lakhs of doctors and engineers, along with thousands who complete their PhD every year. Yet we contribute to only 5.31% of the world’s research output. It is a dismal picture , as far as innovation goes. Well, the roots of this problem are far deeper than what actually appears.

Genesis of the problem

It all starts at school. A child’s mind should be shaped by original thinking, a mind that does not ask the teacher ‘Why?’ but ‘ Why not?’? For innovation to happen, one has to give importance to ideas. But if children get reprimanded for their so called ‘unnecessary questions’, it restricts the natural urge of the child to question. When children’s ideas sound absurd, they are discouraged to question. This is where our education system fails.
The total education system slowly inhibits and disrupts; blocks the creative, innovative and explorative mind of the child.
The real world or the practical world is very different from what we learn in our classrooms . Our mind has to be trained in such a way that we can explore new ideas and respect others ideas as well . If one fails in implementing his ideas successfully that does not mean he is worthless . He can keep exploring, experimenting and venturing .Great energy always comes from a correspondingly great tension of opposites.


The work and industry interface

This malaise that sets during school gets manifested at a different level during work life. Even in business schools, students are taught to make comprehensive plans, which very often fail at the point of execution. The reason is that it lacks the connect with the real world. Let us consider a real world scenario of launching a product. A product can fail in the market because it does not create real value and therefore cannot get customers. The idea can be foolproof on paper but if the innovation process does not work, it will die. On the other hand, if a mediocre idea is implemented and marketed with a strong real world connect and with commitment and passion, it can become a great success.

Let us take another instance from the global information space. In the year 2005, Yahoo was one of the main players in the online advertising market and had focussed on becoming a media giant. But Yahoo had undervalued the importance of search and the need to improve the user experience. These were predominant customer needs and a fundamental consumer trend that time. Yahoo did manage to gain a massive number of viewers to view content but failed to make enough that was needed to scale up. Yahoo also missed out on a lot of other opportunities. In the year 2002, they almost had a deal to buy Google, which the CEO of Yahoo refused. Again in 2006, Yahoo had an opportunity to buy Facebook, but when Yahoo lowered their offer, Mark Zuckerberg backed out. Had Yahoo truly mindful of the prevailing consumer trends and taken a few additional risks, today we would possibly have been Yahooing instead of Googling.

All of us feel the inner urge to explore and realize our grandest dreams. It is an outcome of our imagination coupled innovation rooted in real life. However we need to stop ‘planning’ and start ‘acting’ in order to make change and innovation truly happen.

About the authors

This article has been contributed by the following students from St Josephs High School, Matigara, Darjeeling: Khusshi Mittal and Prajjwalita Kundu.

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