Saturday, October 30, 2010


When Orange is called as ORANGE, why not Apple is called as RED, …. This is a query by a 4 year old to a Ph.D, the Ph.D was stunned by this question and unable to answer (one of my colleague told me during a dinner conversation).

These kind of questions like this 4 year old are very curious, no assumptions made, boundaryless and no fear to ask any question. I think manytimes, innovation / invention comes out of curious thinking (why, why not, how…).

Does a child like thinking motivate innovation? May be “yes”, a boundaryless thinking without any preconcived notion helps I suppose. Don’t think you and me would have asked this question. What is your view? Do you have examples of this child thinking kind of behaviour at work/business led to innovation?

I also want to take this topic from a parental side of things. I am sure many parents would have faced, curious and sometimes tough questions. As I parent, I have faced these kind of questions many times (like “why railway tracks also coming along with us”, “when Tata can make salt, why not Honda can make sugar”, “why pilots are not called as plane drivers”, …..), I am sure you would have faced questions like this from little ones. How many times we would have attempted to give correct answer to the child.

Keeping a direct and honest approach helps and paying attention to the child’s unique level of understanding and also knowing when the questions have been answered without crossing the fine line of too much information (for questions like “why I did not come out from daddy’s tommy”). At the same time parent should never be afraid to tell a child they don’t know an answer, but should be willing to research and find answers to the questions asked. When you have discovered the answer you have given is incorrect, the child should be informed which will enable the little one to develop the culture of admiting mistakes.

I am curious to know what are the questions your children asked, how tough was it to answer, how interesting was it?

By the way, I did some serach for the Orange question and got two versions; not sure of the real answer though

- Orange derives from Indian, tamil naranthai to Sanskrit nāraṅgaḥ "orange tree", with borrowings through Persian nārang, Arabic nāranj, Spanish naranja, Late Latin arangia, Italian arancia or arancio, and Old French orenge, in chronological order. The first appearance in English dates from the 14th century. The name of the colour is largely derived from the fruit, first appearing in this sense in the 16th century

- ORANGE is split in Tamil as AARU(no 6)and ANJU(no5). When Orange is split half - half you find most of the time 6 pieces on one side and 5 pieces on the other side.