Product innovation, incremental or disruptive changes our lives for better. The impact of such innovations is felt by consumers. To succeed holistically we need some social innovations far more urgently than these product/service innovations.
- Gender Egalitarianism: Though gender equality as a concept has found some support in this century, still women do more than three fourth of the work related to home and child rearing. A household cannot start practicing this equality suddenly. If we practice it each day with our spouse and our children (boy/girl), we can expect to reap benefits when our children grow up. Men are not tuned to help around as a responsibility. Women are not comfortable if men take an equal share of the housework. If we raise our children by letting them do their share of housework irrespective of being a boy / girl, they might be comfortable practicing gender equality after two decades.
Neither my husband does laundry or washes dishes or makes the bed (it has never occurred to him), nor I will be comfortable if he moves from the theatre room to store room to help me. We are both guilty of stalling a revolution if we don’t let our kids enter the kitchen, washroom, bedroom and do all the chores. A boy should be told to make bed, arrange the dining table and clean the toilet as often as a girl does such stuff.
- Curiosity celebration: Do you remember the last time your kid/your superior/subordinate asked a question out of nowhere and you dived deep with him/her into realms of learning to find an answer.
We admire standardized tests, we crave for degrees, we appreciate A+ students, we love zero risk stability and security for our children and our jobs- we are again guilty of stalling a revolution that curiosity celebration can create in our lives.
A phenomenal social revolution can be started if we start admiring curiosity as the way of learning. Kids of today, if allowed to ask questions every day will enter into deep learning crevices. Exploration and experimentation without being graded/marked will lead to newer developments and creative thinking.
Before the fear of performing well at high school catches on, we can expose our children to calculated risk taking through outdoor adventures, decision making freedom and welcoming failure.
Allowing our children to feel unique, empowering them to solve real life problems everyday will be real social innovation.
I remember Prof. Anil Gupta’s appreciation for the little girl who observed the taps placed at the same height in every school and suggested a placement of three taps at different heights to allow children of different heights to drink water conveniently.
She not only found this solution but also got it executed in her school. Such kids, more in numbers will revolutionize our society.
- Collaboration: My ambition, my job, my children, my problems, my achievement – is the way we think about our lives.
Three years ago, I conducted a survey among 1000 children from 6 cities – Jodhpur, Ludhiana, Coimbatore, Baroda, Indore and Kanpur. These kids, between the age of 10 to 16 discussed their top ten priorities. Around eighty per cent of the tweens mentioned family and friendship amongst the top three. Studies figured in the top three slots for around fifty-five per cent of the children, while sixty-three per cent gave money a place in the top three slots. Games, books, entertainment, good clothes, good food, self-respect were other priorities. Only one child mentioned prayer in the top ten priorities. Not a single child mentioned the country.
Collaborating with people, devices, artificial intelligence is the future. The parochial mindset of ‘I, me, myself’ needs to be erased from the lives of younger ones whom we generally tell that world is full of cut throat competition. How about replacing competition with collaboration?
We can create an environment where problems and solutions are shared, where failures and successes are transparently discussed, where differences are accepted.
Open floor offices rather than cubicles, discussions rather than debates, employee shareholding rather than founder’s ownership is the future. Let us encourage our children to share and to think about family, community, country and the world.
These social innovations can disrupt the way we measure our achievements and life.
Dr. Swati Lodha is an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Come on get set go & Why Women are What they are, her book on Parenting will be published soon. Currently, she is running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.
Also read her best articles here!