How standardisation sparks innovation
Imagine you’re designing your dream house. You have picked out all the cool stuff — the right curtains, matching furniture, the works. But then comes the little headache of making sure everything fits together. Like, will the screws for your bookshelf actually screw in? Thanks to standardisation, they will. That’s because there is a common rule for how screws should work: it’s called the ISO Metric Screw Thread.
It’s a small thing, but it’s a big deal because it means you do not have to worry about the fit; you can just build or buy with confidence.
Now, think about plugging in your new fancy lamp. Imagine if every plug in your house was different. What a pain, right? We kind of get a taste of this when we travel and have to use all those different adapters. But back home, standard plugs mean we don’t sweat it — we just plug in and go. We take for granted how these common standards make life easier, allowing us to focus on what we want, like how cool our lights will look, instead of worrying if they’ll even turn on.
The cool thing about standards is they give us a shared starting point. They’re like the base of a Lego set. With a common base, you can build whatever you want on top, and it’s going to fit together with the other pieces. This means you can think about the fun part — the building and creating — and not get stuck on the boring stuff, like wondering if one piece will snap onto another.
Standards are everywhere, even though we do not always see them. They keep things safe and running smoothly. Think about it: standards make sure our appliances don’t zap us, our cars can handle a bump in the road, and our personal info is safe when we go to the doctor.
When it comes to tech, standards are super important. Thanks to a bunch of agreed-upon tech rules, our smartphones, wi-fi and Bluetooth gadgets all get along, no matter who made them. This is great because it means you can mix and match all kinds of devices, and they just work together.
Global trade is another area where standards are key. They mean that something made in one country can be sold in another without any hassle because they match up to the same quality and safety rules. For businesses, standards help make things faster and cheaper to produce, which can also make them cheaper for us to buy.
And let’s not forget about the planet. There are standards for keeping the environment clean, such as rules for companies to follow so they don’t pollute too much.
But, here’s the kicker: we have to keep updating these standards to keep up with new ideas and inventions. Think about electric cars and solar panels. These are new kids on the block, and they need standards that can keep up with all the fresh and exciting changes happening.
In a nutshell, standardisation is not about holding us back or making everything the same; it’s about giving us a solid place to start. It’s about making the basic stuff so reliable and worry-free that we can all focus on being creative and coming up with new ideas. It’s about building a world where our wildest inventions can take off, knowing that the basics will always fit perfectly.
• Christian Chin-Gurret is a Bermudian writer with a Master of Science in Innovation and Entrepreneurship and a Bachelor of Science in Product Design, who offers a unique perspective on shaping the future of business through innovation, disruption and technology. He can be reached at https://www.linkedin.com/in/christianchingurret/