If you ask a group of mechanical engineers to create a land mine detection system, they’ll likely develop a system which prods the ground. Electrical engineers might create a detector using magnetism. In contrast, the biologists at Aresa Biodetection are using a color-shifting, genetically modified plant to signal the presence of land mines:
In the presence of chemical compounds released by explosives into the soil, the Aresa plant turns pink. While there are certainly ecological and political barriers to implementing this solution, one has to admire its elegance.
If you’re a hammer, the world looks like a nail. Aresa’s plant is a wonderful example of how innovative solutions often arise when technical domains and professional disciplines collide. While you’re probably not creating landmine detection systems, you could be doing this today. For example, if your goal is to create an innovative, record-setting promotional campaign, why not add a nuclear engineer to your existing marcomm team? Mix some screwdrivers in with the hammers and good stuff will happen.