Imagination: The Tip of the Iceberg
What should strike fear in my heart just makes me wonder what is really around the corner. JVH sent me an email this morning asking for another Marketing Minute column – due immediately – and it should be about technology.
If you read my regular column, you know I can’t make this stuff up. What to write? I have only an hour or so, and I’m boarding a flight from Atlanta to Indy, a short flight at that.
Too cheap for First Class, but “spendy” enough for Delta “Comfort” (actually the size a seat should be and used to be), I found myself beside a third-year engineering student named Maddy. I didn’t know a Maddy when I was at Pitt studying engineering. I don’t think that name was in circulation yet. I also didn’t know anyone with purple hair, either.
Maddy was a worker. She pulled out her calculus or differential equation homework (or something like that; It’s been too long for me). I asked if she needed any help. She laughed. I asked Maddy if her parents ever asked if they could help? She laughed again.
Never one to miss a lesson or give a lesson, we talked a little about engineering. I shared that engineering was a doorway to great things. She immediately said that she has many friends who are choosing money over passion.
Maddy said that knowing how to solve a math problem doesn’t make you an engineer; it makes you a great mathematician or a support for an engineer.
An engineer should be a creator, an innovator, an idea person. The knowledge that an engineer gains in school should be support for new ideas. We discussed that, as for ideas yet to be discovered or invented, we’ve seen only the tip of the iceberg.
We live in exciting times.
Take my company, ECO Lighting Solutions, for example. We make lights for parking garages. Sounds simple. It is, unless you do it the right way and unless you take chances, more exactly, leaps of faith. By learning the needs of our clients, by listening to them, by experiencing them, by engaging them, we are now on track to completely change an industry through our new Concierge Lighting.
Technology is life! Today in the U.S., there are more cellphones in the market than there are people. Did you read that correctly? You did. More than 327 million cellphones are in use in the United States (1.03 per person). Don’t you think that, when I was a kid and someone suggested that one day we all would have a wireless communication device on our person, one that would link us to one another and to this amazing electronic library called an Internet, that I would have thought them mad?
My challenge to Maddy, a young emerging engineer, or my challenge to any student: Look at your world and wonder and dream about what can make it better. Then go there.
We did it with lighting. Who would even imagine such a concept as an integral parking guidance system in a light fixture that also adds camera security, a role in LPR, and even a marketing and advertising platform?
Ideas come from need and from knowledge. They come from caring and often from personal disasters. I recently read of a father who helped invent a drug to help his two children manage a deadly disease. Now everyone diagnosed with that disease no longer has a death sentence.
Few of us will ever invent or create or develop something as substantial and important as this father did, but no one will ever invent or create without ever attempting. As Albert Einstein is quoted: “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” PTT