Chaos – A Time for Invention and Innovation?
As I was driving to work today, I was caught in a traffic snarl. Nothing new, if you ask me. But, this one was bad – ugly, in other words. Some guy had entered the main road from an arterial road and had managed to block traffic. Before he could get done yelling at the other driver (who was not at fault), a long line had formed right behind him. And as is the typical Indian method, two wheelers had complicated the whole thing by trying to worm out using all the available gaps – irrespective of whether they are big enough to allow them.
This scene is an every day occurrence on any given street in India. India is a country that thrives in chaos. It is a country that achievesmilestones while IN chaos. Nothing here seems to be working the way it should – potholed roads, the traffic signals don’t work, and the average Indian.. er.. well, the less said the better. Yet, India is a country of innovations. It is a country known for producing some of the best brains in the world, it is a country of entrepreneurs, of development, and is a shining beacon of unity in the face of diversity!
Let’s look at it on a larger scale. The greatest chaos in the history of the world was World War II. With over 104 countries affected – directly or indirectly – it proved to be a gargantuan mess that could only be cleaned up starting with the death of Adolf Hitler. However, these six years (1939 – 1945) witnessed some of the greatest inventions in the history of mankind.
This was the time when portable radios, jerrycans, pressurized chambers for airplanes, antibiotic drugs, nylon and rayon, analog computers, air traffic control, and small disposable batteries were invented. This is not, by any stretch of imagination, an exhaustive list, but it does give you the idea.
There is a tiny country in Europe (that has been hyped by the Indian film industry) that remained neutral throughout the war – Switzerland. This country has been known for its stability and peace. And, surprisingly, in the six years of the war, the only invention it came out with wasthe cuckoo clock!
Chaos gives rise to need. Need for better things, inventions that will help create an organization out of the mess. And it is up to us to wake up and recognize the need. This is the best time to bring out that creativity, to give something new to people, to give them hope.
Now is when entrepreneurs ought to recognize and grab opportunities!