From propeller plane to jet-engine airline to rocket-power space shuttle, from wired telephone to mobile phone to iPhone, and from Model-T car to electric car to self-driving car, all these developments were not possible without innovation. Writing a bestselling novel, composing mesmerizing music, painting a masterpiece, and solving the difficult technological problem all require inspiration. How to repair a stalling car, why does the Sunrise in the morning and set in the evening, and where does metal come from, all this information is easily available for those who want to know.
Innovation is not possible without inspiration and inspiration feeds on information. In turn, innovation generates more information by pushing the boundary of our knowledge. More information leads to the innovation for more advanced technological developments. It is a nice vicious cycle that fuels our civilization of 7000 years.
We are living in an ever-complicated and increasingly complex world. It is a man-made world we build from the information we learn from Nature so that we can live a life of our choosing. We use the information to:
1) Build dwellings to live and work in, to grow food to feed the population, and to construct transportation infrastructures to enable easy movement from place to place,
2) Establish learning centers and medical facilities to educate people about the world that we live in and find the cures to the illness, sickness, and disease that plague our body,
3) Elect people to run the government that is tasked to carry out the will of the people, to enforce the laws of the land, and to protect its people from outside invasion,
4) Invest in research and development programs to find ways to increase the standards of living, study the impacts of human activities on the environment, and explore other habitable planets within and beyond the solar system.
For the man-made world to function, people from all walks of life with different mental and physical capabilities are needed:
1) In the food production and service sectors,
2) In the product manufacture and repair sectors,
3) In the infrastructure and maintenance sectors,
4) In the literature publishing and education sectors,
5) In the medicine and health care sectors, etc.
To meet the ever-increasing demands due to the ever-expanding population, those sectors have to have more efficiency and thru-puts and respond to changes more reliably and swiftly. Fortunately, people in those sectors can meet the challenges through innovations by coming up with:
1) Assembly lines and computer automation to increase production,
2) X-ray, CT, MRI machines, and bio-engineered drugs to help diagnose and cure the sick, and
3) Fast and easy availability of information from the Internet to keep people informed.
We all have inspirational moments in life. The trigger can be from a song we hear, the movie we watch, a book we read, the conversation we engage in, and or a dream we have. How we are inspired depends on the state of mind at the time:
1) When we are stuck in a life of boring routine, we get the impetus to try something new,
2) A writer who has not written a novel for a while may get the urge to resume the work,
3) A layman with no purpose in life may decide to volunteer a charitable mission in the inner city's poverty scene,
4) A scientist who considers giving up the long fruitless research finds the motivation to continue the effort for a breakthrough.
Inspiration is contagious. An author whose novel on romance, redemption, and revenge can inspire a songwriter to compose a mesmerizing, uplifting, and catchy melody which can, in turn, inspire an artist to paint a thought-provoking, soul-touching, and heartwarming picture. All their works can also be an inspiration to the Average Joe empowering them to face and solve the incessant uncommon problems.
The developments from telephone to mobile phone to iPhone took over 100 years. We need information on electricity, electronics, electromagnetism, microwave, computer science, etc. to formulate the principle, architecture, and function behind voice communication. We need inspiration from people like Bell, Maxwell, and Jobs who can digest the necessary information and single-mindedly come up with the ideas to change the status quo, push the envelope, and present an innovative way of doing things.