We humans are the most developed species on earth and we are called so, because of our ability to think, work, emote and create things. To create things we need to have an idea of how to curate it, bring it into execution and finally prepare the outcome. All great scientists around the globe had unlimited thinking powers, they had out of the box imaginations and ideas that brought these into reality.
The early men first invented the wheel, they were able to invent it because they saw something circular being able to move and with their capacity of imagination, they tried to make the best use with the wheel.
As generations evolved further, the thinking capacities broadened and one could use the same wheel for whole lot of other purposes. That was made possible because man came up with new ideas as generations evolved and put into use these ideas to come up with bigger and better products.
Any product that comes up in the market is the result of a pre-conceived notion or idea. We have been using washing machines for generations together. The first generation to use the washing machine probably used the most basic model that did all the basic washing that man did with his hands.
That was the first idea that man had, of a washing machine and brought the idea into a practical being. Next, comes improvisations of the same idea to make it better and more adaptable to changing needs. This is possible with imagination.
Man imagines things to suit or satisfy a particular demand in the market. The concept of a drier in the washing machine came much later to man, when he started imagining a step further. So ideas combined with imagination give us new products and new things in the market.
Concept of an Idea
Idea is nothing but a preconceived notion in a human mind that could act as a solution to some problem, a totally new creation, an out-of the- box, fresh imaginative output, etc. So how exactly is idea generated in our minds, let us explore further. In earlier days, water that we received through the water supply board was used for all purposes at home – drinking, cooking, washing, bathing and other purposes.
When man faced water scarcity in previous years, the scientific community started looking out for solutions. Solutions to solve the problem of water scarcity, solutions to effectively and efficiently use water resources and alternate ways to segregate water utilization methods.
The personnel concerned started researching for ways to conserve water. They sprung up with numerous ideas to come up with effective solutions. One such workable solution was the method of rain water harvesting. The idea was to collect rain water, store it and later use for non-drinking purposes like washing, gardening etc.
This helped bifurcate water utilization and potable water was conserved mainly for drinking and cooking purposes. The rest of the water needs were met through rain water, which was a novel idea.
Here, idea is actually providing a solution to a big problem man may face in the future, which could be shortage of water. There could be so many other ways to find solutions to water crisis and many such novel ideas could act as an approach to a new discovery.
The idea was made to pool in rain water, now improvisations to the same would be made possible when imagines or works out further on the concept. A certain model that works for one building may not be flexible enough for a neighboring building.
Execution of the idea has to be done based on the prevailing conditions. This is where man’s imagination comes into picture. He has to imagine a solution to execute an already executing idea based on varying parameters.
Ideas in Science and Technology
Invention is the product of a new idea brought into life with effective execution of the sought idea. Discovery is actually the process of unearthing an already existing invention/creation. When Newton wondered what made an apple fall on his head, he did not have any idea about gravity.
It was his imagination that led him to think that there existed a special force that is actually making the fall of the apple possible. With that idea, he imagined many more things and came up with possibly many more related concepts and terms which we have been using it today.
The launch of a rocket was actually pre-conceived or thought of by earlier scientists who conceptualized the idea in their minds, worked on the idea and made rocket launching a reality. But to fit into changing needs and demands, they had to improvise and think further to adapt accordingly.
That is when they imagined something new, found out whether it fits in the framework, and if it did, that became a new innovation.
We all cut vegetables daily. Some cut with knives and some others cut with a vegetable cutter. In earlier days, we used only knives to cut vegetables, which was all man could think of in those days. May be the ways of cutting were different, but the basic job of chopping vegetables was duly carried out by a knife. Later man started working for more hours.
The ladies of the house could no longer spend a lot of their time, just cutting and chopping vegetables. They needed something that could reduce the time of chopping vegetables, so there came up a problem in sight. Scientists started working out for a solution.
They needed to find out something, probably a machine that was portable, small and handy, something that could be put to use daily to cut vegetables.
They came up with an idea- a vegetable chopper making use of different blades to effectively carry out the task of cutting. Here again, we can see an idea that solves a problem/ acts as a solution to fit modern day needs and technology.
Idea and Imagination
People imagine numerous things in their thought processes. I can imagine myself scoring the highest marks in my exam and topping the board exams. If I turn the same imagination into a dream and hold a goal for myself and successfully achieve it, then what we imagined can actually be felt in reality.
When somebody is trying to explain a concept to us, let us say, we are to understand how a microwave oven works. Then the person explaining may actually ask us to imagine a cuboid structure inside which all the functional parts of the oven are developed.
So in our imagination we have to actually draw that image and start building up on it. Suppose somebody intervenes and asks for a non-existing feature to be included. Then, in our imagination, we have to go a further step to look out for a possible solution. IF it actually clicked, then that becomes a new idea at hand. Investing on this idea and making it a reality would be called a new innovation.
Invention is when a new idea is used to create a totally raw product. The whole product is built by new ideas and everything about the product is brand new. Probably it was first imagined, worked upon, a new idea created and idea executed to come up with a new product.
Ideas actually create new products and services that help deliver man’s changing needs suitably. Ideas solve most of man’s problems as he comes up with new solutions in the process. In his thought process, man conceives a new idea to work upon and creates a new possible invention.
Adding to his invention, he may imagine a host of other things to add to the invention which become new ideas or new ways of using the product. Ideas help a man to think creatively, man starts using his intelligence to bring an idea into reality.
Man conceives an idea because he feels the need to create something new and when he starts building an execution plan to turn the idea into a workable solution, he focuses all his energy on finding out an approach to work out the idea. Ideas help man make a better place of living.
Ideas generate curiosity in young minds; they help enthuse scientific spirit and scientific thinking. Incubation centers at many universities are common today owing to the increased encouragement to come up with innovative ideas and out-of the –box solutions.