Innovation is an Infinite-Sum Game
Innovation Creativity

Innovation is an Infinite-Sum Game

Sahil Thakkar

Have you heard the concept of a zero-sum game? Basically, it means a lose-lose situation. It means that if someone is getting an outcome of +1 in a certain situation, then the other person must certainly be getting an outcome of -1, thus leading to the term zero-sum.

However, this is absolutely the wrong mentality to have in life. We are conditioned to have this mentality as we are raised in a hypercompetitive world since our very birth. The movie '3 Idiots' elaborates on this very powerfully. We are told that life is a race, more specifically a rat race. And there is nothing to do in it except win, win, and win. This mindset is solidified in us in school and college as well, where everything is always some sort of competition. Quiz, debate, elocution, sports, and so on and so on. There is one clear winner, two runners-up, and everyone else by default is a loser.

This belief is now starting to be challenged in schools as more emphasis is given on participation and showing that in truth everyone is a winner and all that matters is that you tried. But the damage has already been done for multiple generations.

How do we counteract this? The natural answer is, of course, by showing that we are stronger together, and that as a whole we are stronger than the sum of our individual parts. The biggest way that this is done is through innovation. There can be no 'you' or 'me' in innovation. There is only 'us'.

Innovation is truly a process that is for everyone, by everyone. There are countless stories from the very beginnings of humanity to now that show that it is our trademark as humans. From the invention of the wheel to the invention of the iPhone, it's the one thing we've always done best. And more importantly, the one thing we've always done together. Rather than a zero-sum game, innovation is in fact an infinite-sum game, because when we truly come together and put our hearts and souls to the task, the possibilities are utterly limitless.

So, in conclusion, always remember — when it comes to innovation, it's not 1+1 = 0.

It's not 1+1 = 2 either.

In reality, it's 1+1 = ∞.