You’re a teenager growing up in India several years ago. One summer you visit your grandfather and you notice that he walks a mile to his farm just to turn on the irrigation pump. He’s 82 years old. And one of his legs was amputated due to gangrene. Even more ridiculous, you notice, he’s walking to the farm several times a day because the water supply there is erratic. When you grow up you’re going to find a way to help him. But it’s not just him. You will innovate something that will help all the farmers in a similar situation. Plus you’ll help the environment because the farmers aren’t so quick to make the long walk back to the farm to turn off the water. Hence, wasted water and erosion. Some day, you’ll be the local hero.
Time passes. You study hard and get that engineering degree. You even marry a woman with similar qualifications and you both set out to help the farmers. But not so fast. Fie on your innovation, say the farmers upon discovering your quest to make their lives easier. How dare you? What’s a farmer and his sons got to do but walk back and forth to the farm every day, many times, anyway? This is the state of farm life in India. Innovate out of it and you take away the very thing that sustains them. Such was the issue for Santosh Ostwal. But he persevered and eventually won them over with his mobile app styled, remote-controlled switch. In the end he would found the company called, Nano Ganesh and his innovation would be used around the world. And eventually along came Nokia with an award for innovation. We hope he’s living happily ever after.
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