Changing the World with Creativity and Innovation

Our second Technology Trends Speaker Series event, Changing the World with Creativity and Innovation, started off a week of inspiration and discussion. Run as part of Techweek and open to all members of the public, we were treated to a fantastic panel of speakers that discussed the importance of a creative and innovative mindset, and how they can be used to improve the world.

Our panelists included Dr Michelle Johannsson from Black Friars, Associate Professor Suranga Nanayakkara from the Auckland Bioengineering Institute and director of the Augmented Human Lab, Christine Losecaat from Little Dipper, and Dr Deb Shepherd from The University of Auckland and Soul Capital. Black Friars provides opportunities for Maori and Pacific youth by giving them a platform to share their stories through theatre and by providing coahing and mentoring support for them in their lives so they can fulfill their dreams. Suranga and his work as an innovator, aims to  “humanise technology” (making more direct person-technology interaction), inspired by his own experience of having to learn about computers without knowing English. Christine focusses on exploring the overlap between creativity and technology, being involved in many creative initiatives in From her base in the United Kingdom and across the world. These varied backgrounds and creative focusses provided diverse perspectives to creative innovation.

The large number of questions from the audience demonstrated their enthusiasm and provided a wide range of topics for discussion. With Deb acting as host of the panel and coordinating the questions, our panellists went into depth about  their experiences and shared advice along the way. Topics discussed included the importance of soft skills such as communication and confidence, how to convince others of the value of creative industries, the mindset of different innovators, and how businesses can foster creativity even in their structured environment. Michelle emphasised the importance of support and community for building the courage to ideate, particularly for youth. Suranga highlighted the value of observation for coming up with ideas, while Christine demonstrated how we can learn from our mistakes. The panellists’ own experiences and perspectives really helped put these ideas into context and showed attendees how creativity can be utilised in any situation.

Networking and further discussion ensued after the event, accompanied with food and drinks. The energy from the panel continued long after the event, with many attendees inspired to share their own ideas to change the world!

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