The ‘not-so-obvious’

D Chandrasekhar

As a team we have innovated new solutions every other month. Our approach to innovation has been bottom up, start with the simplest solution that comes to the mind and work your way up in complexity, if need be. Often, one of the simple approaches meets the requirement. 

One legitimate doubt the team had often, in the initial days, was – if it is so obvious, someone must have tried it earlier. Surprisingly the answer is ‘No’.

We miss the obvious too often.  One of the examples I like to quote as an answer is reproduced below –   

How do you get the sense of direction in the night sky ?  Remember this question existed before GPS and motion sensors came into our lives. 

The answer to this question lies in knowing two facts – 
(1) The sun rises in the east and sets in the west 

(2) The moon reflects the sun’s light and does not have its own light. 

We already know that all along, don’t we.

In fact every kid in school knows that, right ?  

But how does that tell us the direction ? 

The sun is like a torch lighting up one side of the moon that forms the crescent

Look at the image above. The sun is like a torch, shining its light on a ball, that we call ‘Moon’. The part of the moon which is lit, forms the crescent. The moon is constantly pointing to the sun. And that tells us the direction. The next time you see the moon, remember, it is our brightest compass.

Obvious, but most of us missed that, didn’t we ? So the next time, a simple solution hits you, don’t discount it, in favor of a complicated solution. Most great solutions are the most obvious and simplest.

Start with that. 

The author is executive director of http://www.alphamers.com – an MSME that has developed solutions in river cleanup, harnessing ocean energy, maritime security ad flood disaster management. The author has discussed these and some other interesting facts in his book ‘the-T-axis’ on Amazon KDP.

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