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Leap Frogging to Pole-Vaulting: Creating the Magic of Radical Yet Sustainable Transformation – By Raghunath Mashelkar and Ravi Pandit

Despite a deluge of information, views, insights, books, talks, conferences, conclaves most of us have serious questions, doubts and even more confusion about our ability to understand, leave alone find answers/ solutions to our current dilemmas about India’s ability for inclusive and sustainable growth.

Despite much path-breaking progress in almost every field, why is the gloom over the future of life on earth, future of civilizations, future of jobs, future of safety, future of food security, for example, so dense, not just in India but across the world?

Despite visible progress in all fields why is the confidence of common people in their leaders’ ability to find solutions to vexing problems so weak?

Perhaps all the above questions are because very few experts are able to articulate current problems such as very high inequality, massive job losses, threats from technology, automation, threats to privacy and climate change intelligently and intelligibly. Their ability to offer workable solutions on how to address them is even worse. Whatever solutions that are floated around are usually ambivalent, insincere and incoherent. No wonder peoples’ anxiety is at its peak. This is showing up in mass protests, suicides by farmers and mass migrations across the world.

Fortunately, Raghunath Mashelkar and Ravi Pandit’s book Leap Frogging to Pole-vaulting: Creating the Magic of Radical Yet Sustainable Transformation, have attempted to address all the above questions sincerely with facts. The book is a virtual compendium that has gone into great detail to explain a problem area without losing focus on the larger picture.

The book is also a strategy manual for leaders – corporate, political, social and academic – on how to view the current challenges in such a way that they could get motivated to find solutions to most intractable problems.

Pole-vaulting Tools

Their seminal contribution is not so much in explaining current problems lucidly but how to adopt a pole-vaulting mindset – not a leap-frogging mindset – to take the challenges head on. They forcefully argue how only a pole-vaulting mindset will be able to address deep problems such as poverty, climate change, inequality – all in the next two decades or earlier. They warn that if the world does not act now, and in haste, a World War II like situation that currently looms, could endanger whatever we have achieved so far.

“The direction in which we place our next steps will determine the future of the human race and the earth that we call home. These times call for a thorough understanding of the root of the problems. This is also a time to reflect on the levers that can change the course of mankind.”

However, their book is not one that is simply holding out a threat. Being acclaimed scientists, entrepreneurs and social transformation leaders, they have come up with tools that can be applied to make 10X impact instead of targeting a simple 2X or 3X impact that most organizations or nations are attempting to achieve. The tools they have propounded seem simple, actionable and scalable.  

This book is also for those who simply want to learn about different views on current debates – will artificial intelligence, robots, take away jobs; will the world be left with swathes of unemployed people; is Universal Basic Income a viable solution and is it practical? What kind of balance does the world needs in addressing many challenges without taking extreme positions?

If you are in the urge to pole-vault your career, your ambitions, or simply get excited about the potential that exists within our reach this is a book you cannot miss.

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