R. Balakrishnan ‘Balki’
Balki is the Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of the advertising agency Lowe Lintas India. He’s also a veteran ad filmmaker and film director, best known for Cheeni Kum (2007), Paa (2009) and, most recently, Shamitabh starring Amitabh Bachchan
With 2020 just five years down the road, one would imagine we have a clear line of sight on the ‘ideas to be’ horizon. However, when it comes to ideas, I, for one, would not like to hazard a guess for the next 24 hours, let alone over the coming five years. Instead of crystalball gazing the possibilities of ideas that may come to be at the start of the next decade, it would be better served to focus on both the role and potential of ideas that would be crucial in taking us into 2020.
I have the good fortune of actually working in an ‘ideas business’ and on numerous occasions, surprised, if not a bit overwhelmed, at the speed at which ideas are both born and die. We live in exciting times when a seed of an idea can reach and deliver on its potential in as little time as the life of a campaign.
In the world of ideas, the driving force is most often innovation. Innovation can be viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs or existing market needs. This is mostly accomplished through more effective products, processes, services and technologies. Ideas are the seeds to these innovations and creativity is its expression.
Come 2020, the paradigm shift will be the focus on the business of ideas not just ideas for business... ideas that will be conceptualised and executed, managed and made available to not just companies and markets but to government and society too on an equal footing.
Necessity is the mother of invention and by that extension, so are ideas. Therefore, notwithstanding the fact that we are moving towards a vibrant economy, especially for a country such as ours, there is a dire need for ideas that eliminate waste. Waste, that is present at a national, social, as well as at an individual level. Ideas that will help impact not just economy, but environment, physical and mental wellbeing of our citizen, workplace and social wellness, and last but by no means the least, political wellness.
At the national level, there is waste generated at so many levels. One of the key areas that reuire urgent tackling is hunger. In a country where roughly 190 million people continue to starve, you will be surprised to learn that roughly 33 million tonne of food was produced in excess last year. Data suggests that the main culprit is in fact food spoilage and not production shortage. This not only threatens India’s food security but is outright criminal. I believe that with technology and improved logistical systems, a plethora of ideas can be actioned to manage this problem.
Come 2020, the paradigm shift will be the focus on the business of ideas not just ideas for business... ideas that will be conceptualised and executed, managed and made available to not just companies and markets but to government and society too on an equal footing
Even at the local level, given the times we live in when there is a mobile application for everything perceivable from finding a carpenter to finding a date, why cannot there be more ideas that help manage and distribute food excesses from our homes and restaurants to people within the vicinity who are in the need? Now that is an idea worth pursuing.
At the social level, again, there is potential to ideate on solving so much of waste. Let’s take the wastage of our skilled but retired population. In India, around two-third of the population is below or close to 30, so does talking about a retired workforce sound off-the-mark? I think not. The problem is not just about lack of bodies, there is a wealth of skills, knowledge, experience and relationships that is going waste. To get a sense of scale, just the central government alone has around 1.75 lakh employees retiring from its rolls each year. I believe there is huge potential for ideas that better Come 2020, the paradigm shift will be the focus on the business of ideas not just ideas for business... ideas that will be conceptualised and executed, managed and made available to not just companies and markets but to government and society too on an equal footing February 2015 l The Finapolis 37 utilise this resource pool. Using the power of the internet, ideas could leverage this demographic to contribute in areas such as education, vocational training, mentoring, guidance and consultancy in a sustained and scalable manner. Ideas that enable and empower retired citizen to give back to society could be such a big game changer, especially for the under-privileged members of the society where there is scarcity of the access to education and knowledge.
If an idea can change your life; imagine what a floodlight of ideas can do for us and our nation
Lastly, at the individual level, I am more excited, not so much for the brilliant ideas that will be at play in 2020, but more about the impact that it will bring, in empowering each one of us. Most if not all ideas should focus on efficiency, and by that measure, the direct impact of ideas would be the gift of time. Great ideas come from observations, pondering, musing, access to knowledge and other such pursuits. As with all things, so far time was the privilege of a select few while the vast majority spent it literally managing and coping with the business of daily life. As technology helps us get more efficient, we will definitely have more time on our hands. A society of individuals with more time on their hands will enable them to pursue their own interests, which will lead to a cascade of creativity... creativity that can empower and make available more innovations and ideas that benefit society as a whole. I believe that 2020 will see us transition from a nation of makers to a nation of thinkers and ideators. If these five years are to be ‘Make in India’, I would like for the next decade to be all about ‘Ideate in India’.
If an idea can change your life, imagine what a floodlight of ideas can do for us and our nation.