DESIGN & ENERGY – Twin Towers for India’s Transformation
India’s long term growth story is intrinsically intertwined with the twin towers of “Energy” and “Design”.
Mostly, the political architects representing the common people have been adversely parochial in their involvement towards building of nation, mystically muddled in writing short stories. There was never a gripping novel in mind. The five-year plan was the length of our story. Pretty short for the journey of a big nation like us. There was never a longer plan, a blueprint for atleast couple of decades to half a century. Lack of cohesiveness and collaboration between the changing batons of political outfits governing over the last seven decades have relatively contributed towards the chaos. The hope, there is order after chaos. Only there was hop and huddle. And even in those short stories, there was never a good plot.
The writing was sketchy.
The story never took off.
There were pockets showing signs of promise but never garnered significant enough fuel to take off. In many big initiatives we have crash landed. The nation needed to harness its untapped energy sources to harmonize its immense underutilized human capital. And that it needs well defined and definitive design thinking in perspective.
The perception matters a lot before building a proper perspective, it seems for longer period the collective thinking has been a bit of disarray and mired in disillusionment.
We have lost vital period for the basic development of the foundation. Time and timing are the real force behind the twin powers of energy and design respectively. Time is intangible energy and timing is what we design. The plot got skewed and now it needs to be tweaked towards gaining a state of harmony.
The growth story of India continues to keep the world at awe and wonder.
Energy plays the most vital role in the development of human being and thereby designing the foundation of building a strong nation. We are all part of one nation or the other. We are born into one nation and given the opportunity we migrate to another. Many Indians have migrated to America. We then keep moving between nations and finally settle in one nation that provides us the best opportunities to optimize our potential. The power of the nation lies in hands of people and the government that genuinely empowers their citizens. The power in energy terms means the rate at which the energy is consumed.
For instance the power of an electric bulb stating 100 watt means, the electricity energy consumed per unit of time. Every electrical device to mechanical machine to human organism needs energy to function. And the rate at which they consume energy is a measure to assess the demand-supply gap in the energy management system. This is also a matter of efficiency. The efficiency also depends on the quality of energy. The quality of fuel machine consumes or the quality of food human consumes. Electricity is the highest quality of energy on the energy efficient ladder than followed by natural gas to oil to coal to wood.
The symbol of good development is in striking good balance in the quantity and quality of energy usage.
India much like most other countries is heavily dependent on the non-renewable energy but what matters is the shift towards renewable sources and more so the pace of shift is vital to a healthy development of a nation. Fossil fuel holds the bulk, coal and oil remains the central factors solving our complex energy equation. With one-fifth of the world population India’s energy consumption is less than 5% of the global energy consumption which will only go up with the country’s journey towards a developed nation. Given the rapidly rising demand of energy, renewable sources like solar to wind to water are essential in balancing the lopsided energy equation of India.
Today’s global world is empowered by digital technology and digital world is literally powered by the energy of electricity. We are evolving as a system to ensure more output with lesser inputs i.e. we are designing the system to function at higher productivity. This planet is not blessed with unlimited source of energy that we can use it eternally. We are bonded by the limitation of energy at our disposal and the sources we can tap and transform for usage. The non-renewable energy sources from wood to coal to oil to natural gas can last so far and not further and we will be left with dried hearth to stove to burner without the fuel to fire. We are constantly going through the process of evolution, both as human being as species and also the way we have sourced and consumed energy to make the life and living sustainable. The moment we sense the lurking limitation inherent in the source of non-renewable energy we have engineered our thinking towards designing newer ways of sourcing and sustaining our existence.
We have explored and expanded our horizon beyond the limited boundaries to unlimited sources of renewable energy.
Sun has always been the ultimate source of energy for life and solar energy has been the power empowering the humanity without any mutiny. There has been no break in supplying the energy and it has been doing so from time immemorial i.e. 4.5 billion years and we are constantly learning the art of science. The paradox, it appears as an oxymoron. It is the science behind designing the smart usage of energy for a better world to live our life with health and happiness. There is an urgent need for embracing “Clean Technology” and “Green Technology” in galvanizing a tectonic shift in India’s energy landscape.
There is fundamental correlation between the energy requirement and the economic development of a nation but there is a fundamental coexistence between the design and thinking termed as “Designing Thinking” of the people. Much like energy designing plays a significant role in synthesizing the thinking of the community at large in building a beautiful society where the social development matters more than just the economic development. It can be termed as the striking balance between the physical and mental weight of the society. Money and mind needs to be in great harmony. Many of us hear the music in the structure of economy but turn a deaf ear to the noise in our social setup.
There has to be ingenious blend of energy management and designing thinking in the journey towards building a healthy and happier nation.
When the power of economy dominates the society then the money power controls the mind power, and these are not good signs for building a healthy society. It is the mind that matters. The matters we use in the process of living our life are transient in nature. We have no control on the matter when we have our mind out of control. To get the mind in right control is where we need the deeper understanding of the process of designing thinking. As it has its critical value in the life of individual so is its quantum value in the life of a nation only that the magnitude magnifies in multi-fold. At a holistic level how should we design the foundation structure of the nation and every nation has their framework designed. The way we design the physical infrastructure to the way we design the powers of governance that runs the system.
Design is the essential element in the construction of a road to building a house to structuring the state to manage the society. The way we design our education system. The way we design our health care system. The way we design our civic amenities. The way we design our justice system. The way we design our financial system. The way we design our industrial setups. The way we design our political system. The way we design our sourcing and distribution of energy.
For instance we are heavily depended on the gulf countries for the source of oil energy. This dependency determines the way we design our foreign policies. The dynamic of world power is determined by the reserved energy of the nation. The economy empowerment of these nations is primarily driven by the power of energy and hence the money powers not necessarily the mind power that matters for building a better society. Though the physical energy is necessary condition but not a sufficient one, and it needs the support and the compliment of mental energy i.e. it needs the design thinking to build a powerful nation.
Thinking needs lot of energy and the mind doesn’t care whether it is good or bad thinking, it needs its fuel to fire the brain.
To ensure that mind power is driven by good thinking we need to nurture the thinking through meaningful and mindful ways, and as a country we are blessed with the twin power of “Spiritualism” and practice of “Yoga”. Though our predecessors have set a strong foundation to build a powerful nation we have somehow missed the trick of using the eternal energy of spiritualism and yoga to design a new way of thinking for building a better world. We are ironically trapped in a wrong prism. The colours are distorted through refraction. The prism of religion is fracturing our peaceful thoughts. We need to put these scattered pieces in proper perspective. We need to nurture our roots to accelerate a faster and better development of our nation.
We need to design a new template for development that can energize our nation for a greater good of the world. Perhaps it is just the beginning. We are a nation working on making every village a model village. We are as a nation working on making every city a smart city. We are as a nation working on building the infrastructure; list goes on from the port to the airport. We are as a nation working on the fields of agricultural to the factories for manufacturing to the factors of service sector. The spectrum of development is wide open. The frequency need to match to establish the connection and communication. It was out of coverage area.
We have been complacent for pretty long.
The creative thinking was not there.
The criticality was grossly undermined.
The collective wisdom was not fully matured.
The lack of political will to the lack of social awareness and lack of economy exposure of our people was perhaps dragging us backward. Other nations have religiously followed the path to progression with precision. They have their vibrant economy backed by the bounty of agricultural output to production perfection to quality of services. The coupling has been rock solid. Like every other nation we also had a plan but the big difference was that we never had a long term plan nor did we have the ability to execute it clinically well. We have miserly failed in our execution plan. We have missed the logical progression; our agricultural ecosystem is still languishing with primitive practices, yet to get the gears of modernization.
Take the case of country like Israel adversity has made the powerhouse of innovation in agricultural practices. We have on the other hand have fettered the advantage of blessed with such rich resources. Manufacturing was not managed well, and hence we couldn’t build the foundation for manufacturing excellence where quality matters. China ceased the opportunity and then skilled and scaled manufacturing to insurmountable heights.
The bus was not to wait.
We were in a hurry.
We jumped the queue and we were chaotically caught in the cross fire as far as service sector is concerned. The service industry is the oil on which the society smoothly functions its entire lever, unfortunately in this sphere also we are negatively affected by the quality of service. Nothing positive was emerging. Even in case of manufacturing the products couldn’t gain the leverage for the international market and in the service sector we have bungled up the domestic market. The quality of service delivery is abysmally low.
As a nation we never designed the development of our nation around the powerful foundation of innovation, research and development in science and technology.
It was the region; it was the religion that was over riding the race more than the resources and rightfulness in our society. Everything was designed around the region we belong and the religion we are from, some states never got the resources and some religion was never given the priority. The distortion was evident and it was designed by the political forces to remain in power. The religion took the center stage over the spiritualism and we were submerged in the wrong spirit. Religion is a matter reserved for private discourse but become a public display through political slug-fest. And the platform chosen was the political arena and once the venom was injected into the minds of the people, mind lost its control and the navigation was in the hands of the politicians. The politicians were the ulterior designers and the religious energy was wrongly channelized towards harnessing their nefarious motives and achieving their goals for personal gains rather than professional accomplishment for building a better society.
The importance of design in product development to the development of business to the development of society has somehow been undermined in the process of our nation building.
We have lagged behind.
Others have leapfrogged.
The Gulf of Gibraltar became a Gulf of Mexico.
The mind was there but it was never put to its rightful use. It was engineered to misuse. In fact it was deliberately doctored. The energy was there but it was wrongly channelized. The nation was blessed with rich resources and spiritual richness. Though we have sporadically shown our potential to excel and we have done so in the “Space Technology” and we have shown good signs in the “Digital Technology” but many of our brains have moved beyond our boundary and they are part of developed nations. USA is leading the pack. That society was designed to embrace the flow of immigrants and system was built to channelize the energy for a greater good of the society. These were not default practices in such society but were well designed by the political architects.
The design thinking was well orchestrated in building a perfect harmony for the nation.
Harnessing the coalesced energy and powering the growth of nation through empowerment. Freedom was at the forefront and fear was pushed to the back. And this power of freedom without fear propelled the quantum growth for the nation. In a shorter span compared to the life span of other nations USA managed to race head of the rest. We have not been able to develop innovative products that can be manufactured for the world market nor have we been able to develop business which can grab neither global market share nor have we been able to build a healthy and happier society. It’s an unexplained paradox that is haunting us perennially. The poverty is impoverishing us as nation. We can never build a healthy and happier nation unless we fight the battle of poverty and build a bastion of peace for prosperity.
We are oscillating between the two ends of the spectrum of poverty and peace but the oscillation is badly designed and the energy is sadly dissipated with serving any constructive purpose.
The gap between the poor and rich has grossly widened. The state of peace is in a certain state of disorder. Though these little spurts of disturbance are not always a big deterrent but definitely act as small irritants in the process of holistic development of the nation. We need to fundamentally redesign our thoughts so as to channelize our energy for the betterment of the poor and provide space for peace to prosper. Peace is the bedrock for development not the rocky terrain. The harmonious co-existence of different communities, religion, regions, caste, creed and ethnicity are essential ingredients for solid and sustainable development of any nation.
The craft of stitching the fabric of our beautiful nation is in the unity of the threads of colourful diversity. Harnessing the true power of heterogeneity ingrained in our society. The idea of India is harbored in its identity of diversity. Freedom is the wing to fly high not the fear that clips that very wing. An atmosphere of peace is vital for the vitality of growth to grow its root strong not a vitiated environment where the freedom gets curtailed and the growth gets dwarfed.
The true power of transforming our nation lies in the twin hands of nurturing our energy sources and changing the nature of our design.
Nihar R Pradhan