I recently attended a conference on "Women 2.0" (revolving around Women in the Technology Industry) on the occasion of Woman's Day - March 8th. Missed a few sessions in the first part of the day but caught up with some sessions in the afternoon. Quite a few interesting topics like Entrepreneurship, Juggling Professional & Personal Life, Feminine Leadership, Skill Building for Women, and Innovation were on the agenda in the afternoon.
To be honest, I guess I was not fully engaged all the time as the presence of a friend forced me to indulge in some chatting and giggling as well. But what I want to share here is something on innovation (a topic that gets me enormously excited, all the time, every time).
The session on Innovation was a panel discussion involving 3 women with many patents to their credit, a HR head, and a facilitator from an Innovation Consulting firm. As I sat listening to them, the facilitator revived my interest in the Aravind Eye Hospital (I've heard and read about it many a time and also got to read a really huge case study/story on this a year or so ago). She spoke about how Dr. Venkataswamy (the key person behind Aravind Eye Hospital) got innovative and learned from an industry nowhere related to the medical field** and succeeded in making a difference to many poor people across the country. She also mentioned about the availability of a video of the story on YouTube, that I'd not heard about before. (In case you're interested, I found it to be here). The video is nicely done and worth your time.
Two things about the story that strike me as fascinating and wonderful are that one can be inspired by something that is seemingly ridiculously irrelevant (the process of conducting surgical operations a la McDonald's business operations :-)) and Dr. Venkataswamy's thought at the end of the video - "Intelligence and capability are not enough. There must be the joy of doing something beautiful". Now, I am going to take the liberty of adding that "beautiful" here means something that touches people/society....something related to the welfare of people/world at large....something that one will feel proud of....something that makes life better, for many people!
** As I've reflected before on this blog, we should not underestimate the power of analogies in the area of innovation.