Many course-altering inventions, paradigm shifts, movements and breakthroughs have come about because some savvy thinker(s) set out to solve one glaring problem and accidentally laid the groundwork for solving several more, altering the course of human history.
Making a spectacle
Originally invented in the 13th century to help scholars experiencing vision problems, magnifying lenses went on to completely change the course of humanity.
Magnifying lenses eventually became a powerful tool in telescopes and microscopes which allowed giant leaps in biology, medicine, space exploration, genetics, soil regeneration and more.
You may even have a couple little magnifying lenses sitting on your face right now as you read this!
Wearing the revolution on your sleeve
After a garment factory tragically collapsed in 2013, discussions ignited in major news outlets, among popular influencers and even with celebrities about the state of the modern garment industry.
Then, armed with new knowledge about the human rights, environmental, and health issues involved in making clothes, consumers started demanding more sustainable practices from fashion companies.
A couple years later, the sustainable fashion movement hit the mainstream.
Now, many consumers expect fashion companies to have more sustainable practices, like
- Fair, safe working conditions
- Earth-friendly fibres like hemp and organic cotton
- Regenerative programs like fixing rivers damaged by garment factories or tree re-planting initiatives. Fashion Revolution
- Give-back programs to support developing economies
Big Impact of Mail
In the early 1900s, rural areas of the United States were upgraded to a free mail delivery service. The goal was to help reduce isolation for farmers and others in rural areas and make it easier to distribute important information.
The plan worked, but it had some unintended side effects:
- The Rural Free Delivery accidentally disrupted local brick-and-mortar stores as people started ordering products to their homes out of catalogues.
- It also forced the government to improve roads to make it easier for postal workers to reach the rural towns and homes.
- Then thanks to the better roads, it became easier for farmers to send their kids to school which improved rural education. TIME
“When a complex system is far from equilibrium, small islands of coherence in a sea of chaos have the capacity to shift the entire system to a higher order.” – Ilya Prigogine, Nobel Laureate