Spectators and Participants

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

Innovation circles require the regular and total participation of people at all levels.

Without them 80% of the people are spectators with a ‘chaltha hai’ attitude. Only someone who loves their work can become a participant. A participant who dives deep into the subject and develops intimacy with his work innovates to make things better. As Khaleel Gibran writes “What is it to work with love? To work with love, is to weave the cloth with the strings of your heart as though your beloved were to wear it”.

It is the love of work, which awakes the need for innovation. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam writes of how India developed a re-entry structure for the guided missile Agni. The material used was a new, very light material called carbon. “One day an Orthopedic surgeon from the Nizam Institute of Medical Science visited my laboratory. He lifted the material and found it so light. He took me to his hospital and showed me his patients. There were these little girls and boys with heavy metallic caliper weighing over three kilograms each, dragging their feet around. He said to me, ‘Please remove the pain of my patients.’ In three weeks, we made 300gm calipers and took them to the orthopeadic centre.

The children didn’t believe their eyes. From dragging around a three-kg load on their legs they could now move around! Their parents had tears in the eyes. Compassion and a creative idea changed the lives of these polio afflicted kids.