What Poverty Teaches Us About Creativity

Photo by Sam Mohan from his "Autochthons of 16.233305/74.599995" project: http://adobe.ly/1clkgQJ.

Photo by Sam Mohan from his “Autochthons of 16.233305/74.599995” project: http://adobe.ly/1clkgQJ.

It was a beautiful day as I slowly meandered through the alleys in one of Bangalore’s slums.  A mechanic was putting together an old motorcycle engine while the owner intently stood watch over him.  An old man was wearing a look of extreme boredom as he sat next to a mat with some refurbished toys he hoped to sell.  A small group of children were chasing each other around in bare feet as women in saris busily went this way and that carrying pales to fill with water, bags overflowing with grain and baskets containing fruit to sell.

In a strange way that moment felt almost idyllic.  I knew that virtually everyone I saw lived in abject poverty, yet they filled me with hope.  They did not seem beaten down by their circumstance, but rather appeared to have carved out a sustainable life despite it.  I felt like I was witnessing a parallel existence – one I was aware of as a young boy living in India thirty years ago and had rediscovered after reading “Creating a World Without Poverty” by Muhammad Yunus.  I already knew the next few hours would evolve my understanding of social responsibility, but I had no idea how a chance encounter with a mother and her son – who had nothing but a TV and a VCR – would change my understanding of creativity.

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David Wadhwani, Senior VP and General Manager, Digital Media Business Unit

As senior vice president and general manager of the Digital Media business unit, David Wadhwani leads Adobe's development of solutions for content publishers, digital artists and storytellers, and application developers. He oversees the full range of the creative products from core content creation for photography, imaging and video to interactive media to efficiently and richly target the increasing number of mobile devices and Internet-connected televisions. Wadhwani is also responsible for end-to-end media solutions for digital publishing and video distribution and monetization. Wadhwani is a member of the Fine Arts Museums’ Board of Trustees and sits on the Brown University Advisory Committee on Computing and IT. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from Brown University.

David Wadhwani, Senior VP and General Manager, Digital Media Business Unit