Our SDGs classes for high school students, which we run every Friday, have resumed. This week was the last week for many high school students, and we asked them what they thought. The high school student who came up with the idea to solve hearing voices by attaching a Bluetooth microphone from a $1-shop to a mask had some interesting things to say.
What was interesting about his idea was that he cut off the ear part of a Bluetooth earphone and used only the microphone part, which was quite technical and not easy to make—his approach a great idea, and very cheap -- Frugal innovation.
He said that the best thing about our class was that it made him think outside of the idea. As I tell our staff, ideas are worth almost nothing. Even if you think it's a great idea, there are probably 10,000 people in the world who have come up with that idea. What's important is that he turned it into an activity. He bought a pair of Bluetooth earphones and tried to make a real product out of them. And he realised that actually making things happen and managing them was a lot harder than coming up with the idea. So he was able to have respect for the products that existed.
Doing a little bit of work is the most beneficial thing you can do. If you just think about it, you don't know whether you can do it or not, or whether you like it or not. That's what I learned from this book. It's the book I picked up when I was finishing my PhD at Oxford and wondering what career path I should take.
I think it's the repetition of "just do a bit" that helps you find your way. Sometimes people say, "Takeshi is lucky to live in Bali" or "He is lucky to get a full scholarship from Oxford University", but there are many things that I tried a little bit to get that luck. I've done it all over again, and here I am.