Has the world stopped producing geniuses? Some agree and some obviously don’t. For the emergence of a genius, some think the world must fall into some kind of a crisis. The good thing is that our world is always in the midst of some crises. Dean Simonton says that ‘raw genius’ is generally a necessity, but not a sufficient condition to make someone creative. He thinks creative geniuses, like Darwin, might not have scored especially high on a conventional IQ test. And there is nothing like ‘full blown moment of inspiration’ waiting for us. The moment of inspiration often comes through freewheeling unstructured discussions. Research suggests that distant analogies lead to new ideas. Though we don’t want to be overwhelmed by irrelevant information, we want to understand things by entering into other’s minds. Oliver Sacks writes, “Memory is dialogic and arises not only from direct experience but from the intercourse of many minds.”
The magic moments of innovation come when one frees oneself from structured thinking. Critical thinking is divergent. Such thinking is open to alternate perspectives, so essential for ‘out-of-the-box’ mindset. It identifies goals, examines assumptions, accomplishes actions, and assesses conclusions. Critical thinkers can see the big picture, so essential for true innovators. Their neural pathways are also operative in unconventional networks. For most people, critical thinking does not come naturally. Often, the harder you try to think differently, the more rigid the categories become. To become world-class, one needs a creative ecosystem. An improper ecosystem can jeopardise the entire innovation process. It is well known that intellectual capital is an extremely important component of the creative ecosystem. It is also known that intellectual capital, like any other form of capital, appreciates and depreciates, becomes obsolete, requires maintenance, repair, replacement, and modification. To do world class science, we need world class mentors. We need to recognise the necessity of sufficient inputs for commensurate outputs. We need to understand the value of incentives for furthering a purpose. We need to respect the essence of time and speed. We need to recognise the opportunities as well as the risks involved with innovation. The challenge before the innovator is to anticipate or evaluate the correct status of his/her discovery. Peter Drucker once said that the most successful innovators are the creative imitators. How about imitating the wonder that was India? We, the people of India once believed that there was no country like ours, no king like ours, and no science like ours. Can’t we regain that spirit and that confidence? Can’t we, a country of 1.4 billion people, get back, literally, to ZERO?