Published: 27th August 2019
This Dutch filmmaker shot an entire docu series on India's innovations on his iphone. Here's how
Andreas van de Laar spoke to several innovators, entrepreneurs and politicians as part of his project 'One Point Seven'
Like most foreigners, Andreas van de Laar had a stereotypical idea of India — that it's a country desperately trying to catch up with the western world. That was, until, he set foot here. Immediately, his assumptions cleared. Andreas noticed that India was developing at a rapid rate. All around him, things were being built and created. Innovation seemed to be part of the lifestyle here.
The realisation took Andreas by surprise, because it was so different from what he imagined it to be. He decided to come back to start a project on innovation in India. "India was much bigger and more adventurous compared to the Netherlands, where I'm from. I like the lifestyle here. I came across the word jugaad a couple of times and was curious to know what it meant. One day, an American lady I met told me that all these little inventions that Indians do are going to become very important in the future. I was really interested in these progressive creations that increase life quality like jugaad inventions. So I went back to the Netherlands and saved up," says Andreas.
In 2017, Andreas returned to do the project. He started meeting the innovators. He tested the waters with big politicians and entrepreneurs to see if they would be interested to join the project. To his surprise, he got positive replies from people like Shashi Tharoor and Narayana Murthy. The problem was he had the appointments but he didn't have the resources. However, he decided to stay on course and filmed the whole series with just his phone.
His documentary series 'One Point Seven' refers to the population of India by 2030 - 1.7 billion. "I focus on how India is innovating and why it needs to keep innovating in field like education, health and agriculture," says Andreas.
One of the innovations he talks about is a breathing device for babies, created by NXL, a healthcare innovation company based in Bengaluru. "In India, you have to make innovations that are suitable for any condition. The creators went to a hospital and sat outside the emergency room and noticed at least 20 babies who were completely blue. The nurse said that it was because there's no electricity in the ambulance and babies run out of breath ans don't make it on time. So NXL built a mobile breathing device which runs on battery. It's a very smart and affordable solution," says Andreas.
But the most beautiful thing about India, Andreas says, is that not only will innovation be the driving force of this country, it can also innovate for the world. "Because anything that works in these conditions - monsoon, flood, different stakeholders, no electricity, no wi-fi -- it could be used anywhere in the world. India is the benchmark of what innovation can be and what it has to be," he adds.