Many years ago in a small Italian town, a merchant had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to the moneylender. The moneylender, who was old and ugly, fancied the merchant’s beautiful daughter, so he proposed a bargain. He said he would forgo the merchant’s debt if he could marry the daughter. Both the merchant and his daughter were horrified by the proposal.
The moneylender told them that he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty bag. The girl would then have to pick one pebble from the bag. If she picked the black pebble, she would become the moneylender’s wife and her father’s debt would be forgiven. If she picked the white pebble, she need not marry him and her father’s debt would still be forgiven. But, if she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail.
They were standing on a pebble-strewn path in the merchant’s garden. As they talked, the moneylender bent over to pick up two pebbles. As he picked them up, the sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag. He then asked the girl to pick her pebble from the bag.
The girl put her hand into the bag and drew out a pebble. Without looking at it, she fumbled and let it fall onto the pebble-strewn path where it immediately became lost among all the other pebbles. “Oh, how clumsy of me,” she said. “But never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked.” The girl saved herself and her father.
Some of the Technology we see today, is as a result of men and women who were keen observers of happenings around them, who were able to think outside the box, and who endeavored to solve challenges they encountered in their lives. Those ideas have evolved into technology that we can’t seem to live without today.
The Internet for example, came about from a military venture, who were trying to find a secure way to communicate with each other over long distances. A group of scientists managed to link the mainframes (very very very old computers) of universities, government agencies, and defense contractors around their country using cables. Then they realized that they required a wireless way to communicate with their armies while outside their country and in very remote areas. This became the birth of World Wide Web (www) and Internet as we know it.
With the end of World War II, Percy Spencer (an engineer) was looking for other uses for the magnetron, which generated the microwaves for radar systems. While Spencer was standing next to the device one day, a chocolate bar in his pocket melted. He realized that the waves could be used to heat food. With a bit more curiosity, he realized the magnetron worked even better on popcorn. That formed the start of what we today make use of as the Microwave.
Another example is WhatsApp, created in 2009 by Koum, who co-founded the app with his friend Brian. The idea came about from Koum’s many flight travels. He hated that it was tough when people tried to reach him while he was on a plane or out of the country. So he thought of a way to set a status on his phone, which would allow people on his contacts to know where he was and how they could access him.
Challenges as we know, are not something that we always look forward to. The discomfort, the inconvenience, the embarrassment, the uneasiness, the annoyance, the stress, the tribulation, the anxiety; all of this and more put us at a tight spot that no one ever looks forward to. Borrowing a leaf from these two who put it in their own words:
Lance Dale, “Expect obstacles and face them head on. They are going to come up; so the way you handle them is what makes all the difference.”
Angelica Montrose, “Challenges are an opportunity to test you and rise to the next level.”
This should encourage us to appreciate what we encounter every day. It should also help us reflect on the far technology has come from, and provoke us to make use of it instead of misusing.
In conclusion, it would be wise to note that, technology will perpetually grow as people continue to apply scientific knowledge for practical purposes. This should not really scare us, but rather encourage us to keep our eyes peeled. The next big technology could be an idea away from your daily challenges.
One thought on “Challenges to Innovations”
This is a wonderful story, as i read it i was reminded that being present or alert is a value that i need to practice everyday. This helps me to notice things, including challenges , and from there , an opportunity to make a difference. It is good to offer solutions to everyday challenges besides simply noticing that them.