Innovator’s Field Day — Learning from Nature

Nature furnishes a wealth of examples of the nature of ‘relationships’ that leads to chaos, complexities, emergence, uncertainty and transformations — embraced by the Rapidinnovation model. 

In this post we would discuss one of the fundamental laws that relates two fundamental terms quantitiy and quality. We observe in Nature that quantity changes the quality of an emergence. Even a small quantity can produce a dramatic effect on the output quality or create a dramatic emergent pattern. This would give innovators a clue as to what we might we use to create new relations, new systems, new products or simply solve nagging social and business problems. 

For instance, let us examine the relation between the different kinds of electromagnetic waves and their frequencies, that is, the speed with which they pulsate or vibrate at a given energy level.

Maxwell’s work showed that electromagnetic waves and light waves were of the same kind. However, at a later date, Quantum mechanics proved that the situation is much more complex and contradictory, but at lower frequencies, the wave theory holds good.

It is interesting to note that the properties of different waves is determined by the ‘number of oscillations per second’ or Hertz (the technical term used in the study of vibration).

The difference squarely lies is in the frequency of the waves, the speed with which they pulsate or the frequency of vibration. Hence it is quite clear that the property (or quality) of the waves changes (an emergent property) when the frequency (or quantity) changes. This change of property implies a change of behavior too. That is to say, quantitative changes give rise to different kinds of signals that differ in quality.

Translated into colours, red light indicates light waves of low frequency. An increased frequency of vibration turns the colour to orange-yellow, then to violet, then to the invisible ultra-violet and X-rays and finally to gamma rays. If we reverse the process, at the lower end, we go from infrared and heat rays to radio-waves. Thus, the same phenomenon manifests itself differently, completely depending on the frequency of vibration (higher to lower frequency). And this is determined by the quanity of energy we add or substract.

Interesting to note that as we move up the frequency ladder the emergent behavior changes from ‘fields’ to ‘waves’ and then to ‘particles’. This is an important insight, the significance of which we would understand in a moment.

Thus Quantity changes into Quality.

Refer the Electromagnetic Table below.


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