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Innovators of the future...

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In today’s world, almost everyone is on a quest to achieve greatness.

Greatness comes from required levels of smart and hard work. Hard work has pulled us, humans, out of the caves into this commendable-esque society that thrives on new and applied innovations.

Great innovations and our ability to bring them forward have been a constant.

A driven individual

Most of us humans all around the world chase different forms of greatness. This is can be directed towards technical, social, financial greatness (or) an amalgam of any (or) all of these.

Greatness can be broken down into technical skills in different fields. But what most consider true achievements, is in line with technology that has brought innovations into the hands or minds of the masses.

Technology is what most people consider innovation. Technology pulled us out of the caves and here we are. Technology in terms of global networks and connections is the greatest example of modern innovation. Making use of this innovation by bringing everyone into the picture, at affordable levels, is greatness.

A driven individual is in search of being part of bringing about the next big thing.

We can observe the rise in importance of science and technology that provide the foundation to bring about the next innovation.

What has changed?

Almost everyone who is motivated is focusing on knowledge and understanding.

But in the present times, automation and current innovations are creeping up over the fences and are slowly grabbing work and processes that humans used to take pride in. With this, what was considered dutiful - tedious work before, is being done with much ease and accuracy.

Now it’s not just about doing things right but more about it’s doing things faster.

More and more jobs are being automated so that products and services are delivered and updated in lesser time.

Almost everything that can be improved and streamlined is being done already by established institutions with the power of computing and automation.

So, how does this affect the current or newer generation of innovators?

They would naturally be looking to upgrade their skills and networks to keep up to date.

Now it’s about who implements the idea first? and how well can they make an impact on end-users?

They should be focusing on generating ideas and building on them.

Given a concept or an idea, bringing it out as a tangible/ usable product requires skills like Domain knowledge and experience which naturally comes with full-time jobs, freelancing, or internships.

What is missing is “Generating Good Ideas” and bring the finished product into the hands of the people

Generating Ideas requires different perspectives. One that cannot be brought using the skills that we developed from our schools, universities, or jobs.

In the book ‘The World Is Flat’1, author Thomas Friedman mentions, In the modern globalization moment 3.0, young innovators need ways to navigate through knowledge. He uses worlds like High Concept, representing in-depth knowledge along with High Touch which represents ability to connect the dots and give it tangible meaning.

Creativity is inherent in most brains but it can be cultivated so that both left and right sides of the brain can work in tandem.2

Creativity flows like Lava. It cannot be controlled without having the right underlays.

Our analytical side of the brain that resides in our left hemisphere, represents the underlays. The creative part of the brain helps connect the dots.

Brains can be trained to let the creativity flow and effectively control the directions of the flow.

How can one nurture creativity?

Before answering that, we need to understand how our brain works.

We use our left side of the brain to carry out our daily jobs that require discipline and analytical thinking.

Analytical thinking or activities that need recall of existing shallow/medium knowledge to carry out the tasks make up most of the things we do in our professional careers. We call this the focused state.

We do often hit a wall in this mode. It takes a great deal in terms of hard work and time to get things done.

However, there is another state of mind called the diffused state.

“Two states can be used in tandem”

The diffused state can be activated when we are not thinking too hard. This can be during a small walk while taking a nap, or even while showering.

A diffused state is a relaxed brain and this helps subconsciously recollect and process information without pressure3.

Have you ever had an idea or a solution to a problem pop up while you were not working? Did you ever find a solution to a problem after you took a break?

If you did, you should thank yourself to have taken that break because you were subconsciously connecting the dots while you were at it.

Such is the capability of the mind. And that is the sole reason why a good night’s sleep is recommended. Sleep removes toxins (essentially noise) from the brain and focuses on rebuilding new links.

What if I told you that there are more effective ways to nurture the diffused state?

Practicing interdisciplinary activities. Yes. Even though you have a major/professional degree and job in a single field. You can improve in it by pursuing and practicing activities from different fields. Like Writing, Music, Logic, Arithmetic, Design, Art, etc.

The world calls it Liberal Arts. The ancient greek used it as a criterion to mark a person as well educated.

Many of the innovators throughout history practiced some form of liberal arts.

Leonardo Da Vinci practiced a wide array of things that may have allowed his brain to make use of new and fresh mental connections between art and science.

Art and Science mutually benefit each other.

They say learning a new language creates new neural connections in our brains.

So, the next time you face a rut in your professional career, try to practice a diffuse mode of thinking.

If you cannot do it, develop a habit by pursuing a hobby that involves working out, taking a walk, or a short nap.

If you have a command on this, you can fix your problems and generate better and fresher ideas. You will also have more time in your hand to apply them.

Innovation starts with connecting two dots. Now it’s yours to make.

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