Have you invented anything? One of the best inventions that’s been very useful till date and will remain very useful for generations to come is the numeral ‘0’. It’s just a round patch with a big hole in the middle. It’s actually empty and meaningless all by itself. It will never harm if it’s prefixed with any other number but it multiplies the value of the number if it gets suffixed. While nothing can divide it, infinite will be the outcome if it tries to divide anything. Zero – What an invention! I am amazed about it. If you have not invented anything till now, you can say that you invented 0. “Innovation opens up new vistas of knowledge and new dimensions to our imagination to make everyday life more meaningful and richer in depth and content. Invention is a manifestation of originality in thinking, originality in conceptualizing and natural inventiveness of the mind. This quality, I am firmly of the view, is latent in all of us. What is required is a natural effort to exercise it in the positive direction. India with its billion people population – 30 per cent of representing the youth – is a tremendous talent pool to tap, much of which may be latent, but imagine the situation when the entire sea of talent is allowed to manifest itself in path-breaking innovations! Our country can surely be a torchbearer of progress for the entire world.” ~ said Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the honorable former president of India during his address in January 2010 to the National Innovation Foundation, India. He also said in an interview with Global Dharma Center in 2005 that, “A developed nation has two components: One is the economic growth and prosperity, which is what the western societies normally look for. The second component is the preservation of civilizational heritage. In India, we have a heritage of values…We want to couple the economic prosperity and the human values, which are drawn from this civilizational heritage.“ Just to recall; India invented ‘0’ (zero) that’s holistic, powerful, whole and complete yet selfless. Let me now illustrate with a simple case of holistic innovation that I am able to relate and appreciate. Back in the past, ancient Indian civilization as part of their cultural heritage were unique in their culinary taste and serving of meals on a plantain leaf – a natural and bio-degradable material. Even though it’s bio-degradable, not enough chance for it to degrade by itself was given as these used plantain leaves became fodder for cows. Cows probably loved this natural food for itself and produced great tasting milk. Cows then dropped the dung that was in-turn used as natural fertilizer to grow plants including the plantain trees that produced the plantain leaves which was cut and sold to make a living. Thus, the whole cycle was complete. adasd While we may, in the haste of our youth, misjudge and misled by this doctrine that as part of new age generation we have moved ahead, the archaic structure of yesteryears that are by-gone may not become applicable for this era and to the coming, according to me, the approach to innovate still applies – to think and make our innovation holistic. In the above illustration, look at the utilization factor which is full and the residual waste that is nil. Just the way the number zero is! Look at many new age innovations, like the electronic gadgets or computers that’s creating huge amount of e-waste that’s not easily degradable. For that matter, the new age disposable plates that we use for having a meal. Most of it is only disposable but not degradable, creating a waste and worsens tomorrow. The rate and the direction that our innovation is going and growing, we probably would need three size of our planet to only carry that waste that are generated. One other important aspect to be noted in the above illustration is that there was commercialization in the whole process of innovation. The emphasis is that the innovations were commercialized only after it was ensured holistic. “We have been innovating; we will be innovating; we are innovating even right now and it’s in every one of us”. If this is true, it’s important for us to learn from this little numeral zero, enable ourselves and ensure our innovation is holistic. Come, let’s create a better tomorrow! image courtesy:

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