All great inventions in this world were germinated as ideas, and all ideas were generated through inquisitiveness, curiously and urge to know more about things in the world around us. As children we were keen to know more around the things around us. Why not now, as adults? After all, we are now only grown-up children, perhaps short of childlike curiosity to know more about the things around us and our world.
Indeed, lack of curiosity means acceptance of a status quo, which is not only self defeating, but also dangerous since it breeds complacency and resistance to changes, two of the worst enemies of innovation, and by reverse extension, curiosity. Curiosity begets inspiration, which in turn produces insights. Insights lead on to ideas and then on to inventions. The right environment for transforming ideas into concrete actions does lead to inventiveness, collaborative efforts and entrepreneurship.
I believe that curiosity is not only a privilege of children; it is very useful and beneficial in the adult world, too. Most of the great inventions of our world have not been the handiworks of giant corporations, institutions, agencies, or even Research Groups with billions of funded dollars earmarked for R & D activities. In truth, they are the tasks of super charged, inquisitive and curious persons who wanted to know more about the origins and causes of occurrences in the world. Invention is indeed born out of curiosity, since inventors are basically curious and inquiring people whose inquisiteness cannot ever be satisfied, no matter how much they try. It is like an inveterate alcoholic who always insists for the last swig.
Curiosity does not kill cats, it nourishes them
Most of the greatest inventions, from the early age flint stone, down to the ubiquitous iPads, have been the product of human curiosity. These have not been due to some technological marvels, or institutional findings, but the products of human efforts, steeped in curiosity and innovativeness. Even America would not have been discovered if it was not due to the curiosity and intrepidness of Christopher Columbus. Here are some of the main reasons why curiosity and inventions always go together:
- Curiosity is born out of need, and needs stoke inventions: Needs add to curiosity. Newton needed an answer to why the apple fell on the ground rather than going upwards, heaven bound. He thought and researched a great deal; he spent sleepless nights in his room and finally, after a great deal of efforts, anxieties and scientific research came up with his theory of gravitational force.
- Columbus was curious to discover the New World. He wanted to trade spices in India but instead landed up in the Americas. He mistook it for India, and thought that the tribesmen who welcomed him were Indians. He called them Red Indians since they were brightly dressed. If it were not for Columbus’s curiosity, the Americas would probably have been discovered much later
- Coming to the invention of lightning rod by famous scientist Benjamin Franklin, his curiosity needed to be proved right that lightning was actually electricity, and he validated it by conducting kite experiments, thus demonstrating to the world that lighting was indeed electricity. But without Franklin’s curiosity and inventive nature, electricity may never have been discovered.
- Similarly, the discovery of penicillin in 1928 by Alexander Fleming was caused by his burning desire and curiosity to get the better of germs killer. The invention of the pasteurization process by Louis Pasteur was in response to his curiosity to win over disease after losing three of his beloved children to typhoid, which compelled him to create cures for human diseases to save future human lives.
- Another great curiosity-driven inventor was Alexander Graham Bell who is credited with inventing the modern telephone. Bell became curious to know about signals, and the telephone protype was born in 1876. His scientific curiosity led him to creating the photo phone, improved versions of phonograph, and even his own flying machine.
Nothing ventured (through curiosity), nothing gained (in inventions)
Nothing ventured is nothing gained, and the precipitating factor for venturing is indeed curiosity, awareness and drive. If all our famous inventors, scientists and creators rested on their laurels and refused to venture and conquer, armed with nothing more than burning desire, curiosity and the will to succeed, most of the blueprints of modern inventions would have only been gathering moths on their drawing boards, shorn of any public utility, or humanistic use. It is indeed the undefeatable curiosity of their inventors and their innovativeness that brought inventions right from their design boards to the drawing rooms of users.
Curiosity is indeed the stepping stone of invention since if there were no curiosity, imagination, inspiration, drive and burning desire or motivation to succeed, there would indeed have been no inventions, since everyone would be satisfied with their status quo, complacency and resistance to beneficial change. It is man’s constant urge to improve his lot, succeed where others have failed, continue trying until the success is attained, create, sustain and build modernity. Curiosity is indeed the whetstone on which the knives of creativity, innovativeness and improvements are whet and sharpened.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shirley Burrill working as a professional writer, in an online service that provides writing tips for students. Many students are approaching this online service for clarifying their academic related doubts.