Monthly Archives: December 2015

Five Ideas for 2016

How time flies! Another year goes by. Here are five thoughts worth sharing as we embark on our year ahead.

1. Edible packaging

Plastics bags are now found even in the remotest parts of the world. Even Mount Everest has a plastic waste problem. Our ancestors left behind monuments, literature, art, language and culture while our ever lasting legacy might just  be the plastic bag! Mother Nature packs all its goodies in natural packaging materials that serve a larger purpose even beyond pure function. Not sure why we are not paying attention to this area. For inspiration peel a banana..
2. Finding a cure for the common cold

We have sent a man to the moon. Our prowess in technology has made even Moore’s law redundant. The first facial transplant has happened and the brain transplant is the next big frontier. However we all still continue to sneeze and cough! Running noses deserve some capital and human ingenuity.

3. Weapons of mass destruction create a new hope

According to a recent news article, several junked armoured carriers of Dubai Police have become the base of a beautiful coral reef being built off the Dubai coastline.  The fish are loving it and a whole new eco-system has started developing where none existed. With some imagination, weapons of destruction can become  creators of hope.

4. Investing more in the good economy

The world spends an estimated USD 1.2 trillion every year on defence. Despite this, in 2015 almost every day the world has witnessed an act of terror. This is a bitter reality of our times. Clearly the answer to finding a solution to terrorism lies somewhere else. Do I have an answer? No. But investments in education, environment, poverty alleviation and healthcare will certainly increase our chances of surviving as a human race.

5. Looking at our past to inspire a better future

With social media, our communication and relationship world has changed. WhatsApp, Facebook and LinkedIn are demonstrating to us what our parents always told us – develop a strong social net worth!

Another interesting example is the radically innovative world of biometrics and identity recognition. Biometrics is clearly emerging as the future of access. As we all got ‘educated’, our signatures and passwords became our key to the world and now ironically, the ‘future’ belongs once again to our thumb print! Perhaps our next big idea is waiting to be discovered in our history books!

Wish you all a happy and successful 2016. May the world become a safer, healthier and happier place to live. This is one wish I sincerely hope comes true!

The Headline Theatrics

The media in India loves to whip up a hysteria. They scream and they shout and they let it all out. It often leaves me wondering is it really as bad as it sounds? Here is a summary of the current rant:

1. The cinema of the Khans are tolerated but they accuse India of being intolerant!
2. It’s odd that the Delhi suffers from pollution, while the politicians are busy getting even!
3. Chennai, submerged in poor governance for long,
Gets flooded and wrecked while the posters of the beloved Amma just look along.
4. Mr Kejriwal calls the PM a coward, a psychopath and a bully
But does not have the courage to accept the corruption in his own gully.
5. Our system of governance stops the GST bill
Sets free the juvenile rapist to live as he will.
India’s problems seem to be coming to a boil,
Rather small, when I see Trump, Syria, ISIS and Oil.
So as I see the headlines I wonder.
Why fret?
We live in times where even Santa comes with a clause!

Janie’s got a gun

As a teenager Aerosmith was a band that I was crazy about. I remember many head banging moments shared with my friends singing on top of my voice- ‘Janie’s got a gun’🎸. The exhilaration that we experienced croaking (teens take their time to settle their octaves) this song were amongst the indelible moments of my childhood.

I was humming this song this afternoon when I started reflecting on its seriously disturbing lyrics. This song was composed by Steven Tyler in 1989 and he wanted to highlight the issues of violence, incest and guns.  To be honest I was so caught up in the coolness of this song that I never really paid attention to its lyrics. The message was just lost on me until today when I had a moment of reflection. Janie was a little girl who shot her father to get over the abuse that he was inflicting on her. A tragedy set in a magnificent sound track!
It also dawned on me that the gun culture in the US today is so rampant that there are now 90 guns per 100 citizens and gun stores look like super markets. With a gun license you have a bewildering variety of weaponry to choose from. One of the reasons why guns are so widespread is that they have constitutional validity. One can understand that while the American constitution was being drafted guns were an integral part of self protection. Those were times when migrants were fighting the American war of independence, the culmination of a very violent chapter in history. But that was a few centuries back. Why do citizens need guns today?
With horrific frequency we are now seeing vagrant individuals picking up the gun for their own perverse reasons and snuffing out innocent lives.
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Jamie’s got a gun, I wish she didn’t. Shooting down her father was not the answer. The American society needs to find a way out of this quagmire. Until then the society will remain a victim of a misguided omnipresent trigger. My sympathies with the victims of this modern day tragedy.

 

Times running out for watches!

It’s been almost six months since I set my wrist free. I don’t wear a watch any more. I stopped wearing it when my favourite watch stopped working and I was not able to find the time to get it repaired. A few weeks past and I realised that I was not missing it at all. The brutal truth was that my phone, my car and all my electronic devices kept time and I did not need a watch to tell me the time any more. When I started asking people why they wear a watch I was able to classify them as follows:

The creatures of habit
They still count on their watch for time and despite being aware of all the devices around them they are stuck in their time warp.
The fashion statement seekers
For them watches are a fashion accessory, a jewellery. They have a precious collection and a watch for them has surpassed the mere utility of time. It’s a statement for them.
The time travellers
This is the tribe that has over the last 12 months shifted to the wearable devices which are also doubling up as their fitness devices, communication portals, health accessory, gaming console, navigation instruments etc. The watch for them is the second screen that when paired with their phones fulfils their insatiable appetite for electronics and keeping up with the steep tech curve.
The ‘I give-up’ tribe
I belong to this gang of free spirited humans who have set their wrist free from the age old tradition of watches. For us watches were an item of utility which has been substituted by other devices.
What’s the moral of this story?
Beware of the power of substitution. Survival today is not about just being useful and being great at it. It’s about constantly keeping a watch on the human need that you are fulfilling and constantly evolving yourself to navigate the ever evolving human need landscape. Every industry today is facing this situation where it’s very moorings are being questioned. The answer somewhere lies in one device fulfilling multiple needs. The smart phone is a fantastic example. It’s no longer just a communication device. It’s your bank, your navigator, your gaming console, your time keeper, your office, your social companion and much more. The higher is your ability to fulfil different human needs, perhaps the lower are your chances of substitution. Watch out for this!