Indians have often been pulled up for not being creative enough and the newest person to snub at our lack thereof is Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. While some blame the Indian education system, studies show that we, more often than not, rely on others to get through our days.
Apparently, we are “dependence prone” because we will take help from others even if we know we can operate perfectly well on our own.
Wozniak – the man who single-handedly developed Apple I – the first desktop computer by the company, has rued the fact that Indians are usually driven by a sheep-like mentality. He drew parallels with a culture that is prevalent in Singapore, where all they know is how to work hard, study harder and get an MBA.
In an interview to The Times of India, Wozniak or ‘Woz’ (as he is famously called) said that Indians lack creativity and that he does not believe that there will any big tech company in India similar to the size of Apple, Facebook or Google.
When asked about the global tech companies that could emerge out of India, Woz cited the example of Infosys, but added that he did not expect the company to join the league of global tech giants anytime soon.
Speaking about the tech innovations in India, he said that the culture in the country is such that success is based on academic excellence. However, according to Woz even though people study and work hard, they lack creativity.
Here’s what he said:
The culture here is one of success based upon academic excellence, studying, learning, practicing and having a good job and a great life. For upper India, not the lower. I see two Indias. That’s a lot like Singapore study, study, work hard and you get an MBA, you will have a Mercedes but where is the creativity? The creativity gets left out when your behaviour is too predictable and structured, everyone is similar.
During the interview, Woz also talked about the importance of teaching how to code in school. He strongly advised against teaching how to code to kids before the age of 12, as the brain doesn’t get the ability to reason before that age. “Some people get there early, but most people at 12, and that’s why algebra can’t be taught till you are that age. And programming can be taught only when you are ready for algebra,” he added.
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Interestingly, while Woz critiqued India’s ‘creative culture’, he also doled out a life lesson while explaining the importance of learning programming.
The real advantage of learning how to code is that you learn how to solve large problems with a lot of steps. The steps add up to a solution. That’s true of everything in life.
Meanwhile, Indian industrialist Anand Mahindra launched a scathing reply to Woz’s statement saying that it was a stereotypical statement that Indians would love to prove wrong. Here’s what he said:
I love it when such comments are made. Nothing like a sweeping stereotype to get our juices flowing & prove it wrong. Thanks @stevewoz Come back soon. We’ll make you sing a different tune… https://t.co/Zy4QemamQJ
— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) February 27, 2018
Interestingly, Tweeps had a mixed reaction to the Woz’s statement. While some agreed with Woz’s assessment, others were mocking the great Indian ‘jugad system’. Here’s what they had to say:
A bitter truth, @PrakashJavdekar Sir BJP needs to bring reform here, before Ram mandir.
— Aniket Chatterjee (@Aniketchaterjee) February 26, 2018
When students are taught how to pass exams, and not how to use and apply the knowledge, there is no surprise in it.
— Kiran Kulkarni (@kpbullet) February 26, 2018
Our concept of success is limited to marks, degrees, & certificates without scope & support for skill & creativity. The thought process is always constrained within the known laws of science!!!
— Anonymus (@Anonymu71327468) February 26, 2018
Creativity is killed by the competition to do well in exams as 50% or more of the meagre opportunities are reserved for already 7 decades and counting
— Surender Nath (@surendernath_r) February 26, 2018
Rightly pointed out. It’s a tight slap on our job hiring and education system. People are selected based on their educational degree only. One who inspite of not having that degree is capable of doing same task even with more proficiency is never recognised in general.
— Sudhir Parmar (@sudhirgparmar) February 26, 2018
Another biggest factor in the system – the caste based reservation, then how can one expect creativity and productivity.
— Sudhir Parmar (@sudhirgparmar) February 27, 2018
He is 100% correct all these people care about is getting degrees and stagnant jobs.
— Soviet Bear (@SovietBear6) February 26, 2018
Obviously he hasn’t seen and experienced great Indian Jugaad!!
— Manu Sharma (@ManuSharma2207) February 27, 2018
Sir, it is absolutely brilliant creativity! Indian jugaad is ingenious in a way the world doesn’t know yet.
— Anti-stupid (@AbhimanyuKohli) February 27, 2018
And he said, India lacks creativity. pic.twitter.com/WXI5Yvh6ca
— Pushkar Trivedi (@beingnotorious2) February 27, 2018