On the 26th of February IMT Dubai had the privilege of hosting its first TEDx event -TEDxIMTDubai based on the theme ‘The Lateral Perspective’. TED and TEDx events have been instrumental in sharing ‘Ideas worth spreading’ around the world and this year IMT Dubai joined this journey of community learning.

Eight speakers from different walks of life, shared interpretations of ‘The Lateral Perspective’ relevant to their line of work with the eager audience, who included a mix of industry professionals, students and academics from across the city. The event was broken into four slots of two speakers, each separated with conversation breaks to give the audience an opportunity to chat with the speakers in the specially designed ‘IMT Guest Lounge’.

The first speaker Phil Bedford started off the event with aplomb with his fascinating speech ‘Lessons from 32000 BC’. Phil champions a unique yet intuitive way of doing business by capitalizing on one’s own social networks. He spoke about how this method originated right from our forefathers’ time and facilitated the development of society as we know it today. Phil was followed by the second speaker Ramkrishna NK, founder of Rang De, India’s first crowd-funding platform for low income social entrepreneurs. Ram broke down the different options available to social entrepreneurs today and busted several commonly accepted myths about delivering service to the poor. He surprised many by declaring that there was in fact, no fortune at the bottom of the pyramid and anyone trying to address issues pertaining to the poorest in society needs to use more holistic models than those currently being used.

Dr. Alaa Garad, Director Emirates Center for Organizational Learning, was the third speaker at TEDxIMTDubai and spoke on ‘What do we learn about learning’. Dr.Garad is a proponent of the 70:20:10 method of learning and explained how organizations, individuals and groups can learn and retain better. This talk was complemented by the next speaker Dr.Fayeq Oweis’ speech on multiculturalism and belonging. Dr.Oweis is an Arab American linguist, calligraphist and poet with a passion for Islamic art. Having lived in different parts of the world, Dr.Oweis expressed his feeling of lack of belonging in any place and the fresh perspective it had given him.

The third slot at TEDxIMTDubai was kicked off by the very talented Ebin George. Ebin is a twenty two year old engineer who holds world records for playing the most number of musical instruments in an hour. Ebin talked at length about the passion one needs to truly play music and demonstrated several of his own unique ways of playing the guitar and the flute. He won everyone’s hearts with his humility and raw talent. Dr. Mahender Singh, Rector, Malaysian Institute for Supply Chain Innovation, took the stage after Ebin and shared with the audience his ’Three Stories of Creative Thinking’. Dr. Singh was an exceptional orator and had the audience captivated right from his first line. He shared with the audience several different incidents where a little clever thinking had gone a long way in making a huge difference.

Shreyas Srinivas, co-founder NH7, India’s largest platform for indie music and local talent, followed Dr. Singh with his talk ‘Front Seat at The Independent Movement’. Shreyas exuded energy and his obvious passion for the work that he was doing was apparent to all. He spoke at length about the small things that have contributed greatly to making his ventures a success, be it clean toilets at music festivals or allowing dogs in to induce a wholesome and friendly atmosphere. He urged the audience to find their passion and get to work on it, with the very solemn advice that there will always be one more person in the world who cares about something as strongly as you do. Serial entrepreneur and traveler Karl Haddard followed Shreyas with a poetic presentation on the troubles he’s seen at the different places he’s visited all over the world. Karl used photographs he had taken on his travels to drive home the intensity of the issues our less fortunate peers deal with on an everyday basis, and how the small efforts he’s made has led to significant changes in at least some of their lives. With this thought, he beseeched the audience to go out into the world and impact someone else’s life in whichever way they could.

TEDxIMTDubai was very well received by all those who took time out and spent the day at IMT soaking in all the new ideas and discovering lateral perspectives of their own. The hand-made props and stage design also received a lot of appreciation from the speakers and guests. The individual portraits of the speakers made by a very talented IMTian, and presented as mementos ensured that this experience will be remembered by them for a long time to come.

For the organizing and volunteering team who put in their blood, sweat and tears into this event, the response they received has been incredibly gratifying and it with great pride that declare that they successfully pulled off TEDxIMTDubai.

– Karishma Hans

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