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It was during a session being conducted by Mr. Prashant Dhawan on Biomimicry, one of our courses in the Fellowship in the first term, when this word ‘feedback’ stuck a cord with me and I understood the importance of feedback. I could suddenly relate everything around me with this term and also realized how constantly I was giving feedback for things unconsciously.
Private organisations have been using this tool for quite some time now, and some have even aced this art by using feedback to improve their organisation, their product line up and services. Human evolution has thrived on feedback and our response to it. Our fellowship program, for instance, has been asking for feedback at every step on the way. I agree, not everyone enjoys spending 15-20 minutes of their precious time to evaluate and respond but I’m more than certain that this single initiative by itself has the power to make this fellowship as one of the best programs in the country, if not the world.
Obviously, there’s a flip side to this as well. Not all feedback is helpful or constructive but that only means that the process to use this tool has not been amended to meet the set needs. As a friend of mine pointed out, a star rating or a mere yes or no does not suffice as helpful feedback. This is a common practice followed by cab companies such as Uber & Ola. We select our government on this mere YES or NO. What if the policy makers, the bureaucrats, the elected politicians were given access to our feedback on them and vice-versa? Imagine the possibilities of this constant engagement rather than a vote of mere ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ once every five years.
Just like we humans respond to things around us, so does nature. After staying for two months in the hostel (Ahmedabad), we had a 15-day break for Diwali for which I decided to head back to Delhi, my home town. Up till then I hadn’t realised the importance of fresh air, which I had been enjoying in the outskirts of Ahmedabad. It wasn’t the case back home. In Delhi, I would get headaches after stepping out; visibility was so bad that it felt like it was peak-winter already.

NEW DELHI – Rashtrapati Bhawan lost in the midst of toxic air.
(Picture Credit – Altaf Qadri | Associated Press )

The air felt as if I was sitting in a gas chamber and I couldn’t do anything to feel any other way. People around me probably got so used to living in this environment, just like I had when I was staying in Delhi, that their bodies had got accustomed to surviving in this. My body was in a way giving me feedback that I was not comfortable breathing this air and likewise my environment was giving me feedback that our (humans) actions are not being well received by mother nature. There are a number of factors that contribute to pollution around us but built environment & means of mobility are one of the largest contributors to this.
If we as a community do not change our conventional and unsustainable methods of development, then all this feedback that we are receiving from our body and nature will eventually lead to SYSTEM FAILURE. Feedback can only be helpful if we take a cue from it and make amends, otherwise all responses just stay as mere pieces of information. By Archit Thapar