“At the heart of every great business is a creative solution to a problem,” is Time (10-15-18) magazine’s way of introducing its first annual list of “50 Genius Companies.” The global network of editors and correspondents who compiled the list failed to recognize one major, obvious entry. But first, here are some less obvious choices:
WHERE’S THE BEEF — The goal of Impossible Foods is to make meat obsolete. Why, the biochemist who created the meat alternative explains, because “the most destructive technology on earth” is livestock rearing, which uses about 80 percent of the world’s agricultural land and produces more greenhouse gases than all transportation. This unique, plant-based meat substitute looks and tastes like beef and is already available in 3,000 locations worldwide, including White Castle.
PAY IT FORWARD — With more than 350 million account holders, Paytm is India’s biggest digital-payment platform. Its launch in Canada this year and plans for Japan give currency to the philosophy, “Built in India, built for the World.”
KEY TO WATER SAFETY — The Israeli company Lishtot produces the $50 TestDropPro, which is small enough to fit on a keychain, but has global health implications. By scanning water’s electric field for contamination levels, the device gauges water safety with the touch of a button.
DEFENSE AND OFFENSE — Known for massive military defense projects, Lockheed Martin is also taking the offense for how we understand climate changes. It’s visionary, next-generation weather satellites are providing remarkably high-resolution images from space — like those of Hurricane Florence — to help us make decisions on Earth.
As for the genius the Time network overlooked? It is at once surprising and understandable due to the inherent humility associated with its function.
NOW HEAR THIS — What is the most creative solution of our time? Here is a hint: Shut up. Truth be told, better listening is the solution to humankind’s timeliest and most destructive of problems. We’ve talked ourselves into corners of distrust, discontent, intolerance and hatred. The only way to diffuse conflict, earn trust, and find healthier, purposeful common ground is to listen to one another.
When we listen, we feed our mind information. We learn, more than we think we know.
This ingeniously creative solution requires nothing more than self-control … and reverse-engineering our senses so that we talk less and listen more. And we ask questions; not just to reply, but to try to understand and empathize. Why, you ask? To elevate political discourse; to moderate the influence of technology and social media; and to improve personal, intergenerational, workplace, race and gender relations.
This said, it is listening, relentlessly, that will improve the world today and invent a better future.