London Innovation Society launched a new event series “Building Castles in the Sky”, aiming to enable entrepreneurs and investors in London. “By hosting academicians, entrepreneurs and professionals in the events, the objective is to bring investors and entrepreneurs together and enable them” stated the President of London Innovation Society, Dr. Suleyman S Demirsoy.

The event series is supported and hosted by Level39, the infamous co-working space where many startups are founded and located such as Revolut, and the future events will be held in the main lounge of Level39.

The first event was titled “Building Castles in the Sky: Inspiring Conversations on Entrepreneurship” and the presenter was Dr. Fahri Karakas from Norwich University. Dr. Karakas, a senior lecturer and consultant on Business and Leadership offered a rather creative presentation on innovative thinking, business ideas and entrepreneurial skills.

Attendants had a chance to network during the event as each task required them to work in a different group of people and enjoyed the venue after the presentation.

You can follow the upcoming events from related landing page

Creativity: Combining two unrelated ideas

I am working at the University of East Anglia, and I also teach at the University of Cambridge during the summers. I am interested in creativity, design thinking, and entrepreneurship. I teach creativity and personal development courses. I will start with a Hackathon. This is what I start my lectures at the University of East Anglia. These are the exciting things that I have learned and stumbled upon. So here was the challenge: I wanted to keep learning and distract myself, and I decided to spend at least 2 hours every week to learn about exciting new things and to share them at the start of my classes. It was a promise that I made to myself, and as a result of the process, I ended up learning things to distract myself every day. I stumbled upon these, for example, guess the average daily media consumption of an adult in the United States of America. It is 10 hours and 39 minutes. This is much more than sleep.

We live in a hyper-connected, noisy, contact-saturated, advertising-dominated era. And there is an overload of change, technology, innovation, speed and the most precious thing is our attention. That is why they call this the attraction economy. Brands in this era are trying to curate adventures and surprises, journeys of enchantment. Story-telling and story-doing are rooted in humanity. Daniel Pink, in his book A Whole New Mind, says that the future belongs to these creators, entrepreneurs, advertisers, story-tellers, meaning-makers, artists, big picture makers and designers. These people will shape the future. And we need 6 right brain capabilities: Design, story, symphony, empathy, play, meaning. These are the right brain capabilities for the conceptual age. And the business landscape is changing rapidly, it is shifting. The future of business is in of course innovation entrepreneur cultures, creative cultures, and startup cultures. So every company is becoming like an incubator, it looks like a hackathon, and we need to disrupt and hack ourselves continuously in this new era. We need to consider re-designing our lives. In an IBM survey, they asked CEO’s what will be the most critical leadership qualities over the next five years and at the top was creativity; 60% think that creativity will be vital. 

Becoming an entrepreneur is a very tough journey, and it requires a certain level of being crazy. And I really want to congratulate you guys for having the courage to dream about possibilities and starting a new journey. I will be talking about three rules at the start. The first tool is disrupting yourself. We need to spend at least half an hour or one hour every day for all learning and developing skills based on our interests, and share that with our friends. We need to use that time to go out of our comfort zones, develop new skills, solve a challenging issue and really invest in our abilities. The second tool is morning pages. Last week I attended a workshop called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. She says that when you get up in the morning, the first thing you should do is write up your morning pages. Spend half an hour and write non-stop for three pages. This will be your stream of consciousness. Whatever comes to your mind, just write it up. No censor, but a free flow. It will help you to gather your thoughts and focus. If you have some worries, anxieties, you can not concentrate on your work. You put all of them in paper, and it helps you to go deeper, to really send signals to the universe on what you need to do on that day. Always carrying a journal, note-taking, recording your ideas is very important. The last tool is a creative date with yourself. Do this for 2 to 3 hours every week. Spend time with yourself. This has to be alone to be receptive to the signals of creativity. So do something that you love. You can go to the cinema or an artistic event. Go to a library or perhaps a museum. Have fun, pursue your interest, get inspired. It will be your luxury hour. What if you have deadlines? Do this anyways. Some people say that if you have a lot of deadlines, double the dates with yourself because you will be more energised and more inspired.

What are the specific visions in your life and career that you would love to see happen? In particular, what are your entrepreneurial dreams? Make a list of them. The more we write these clearly, the closer we are to bringing them to reality. That’s why note-taking is very critical. Always write down your goals, dreams, visions, etc. We want to do this because we want to reach resolutions. Creativity is about combining two unrelated ideas together. It is all about connecting separate things together. 

Design thinking is becoming the new engine of innovation in companies. It is about creating new ideas, experimenting, making mistakes, having fun, thinking outside your comfort zone. The human centred design is frequently used. Many businesses such as Google and Apple are using design thinking to innovate. I will give a small example of how it is used in Stockholm. The public government in Stockholm wanted people to use the stairs more often instead of the escalator for public health and exercise. Using design thinking, they made a sound system for the stairs which would create piano melodies whenever someone steps on them. They called it the fun theory, and it worked. The methodology to that is design thinking. So, the last challenge is to apply design thinking. You start with empathising with your customer, what they are thinking, how they are feeling and then you define the more significant problem. You generate a lot of solutions, you prototype and you test it. You don’t have to have sophisticated technological ideas to become an entrepreneur. It’s all about going after your passion and doing the thing that you do really innovatively, creatively and sharing your passion with people. I wish you the best of luck in your entrepreneurial journeys. Please pursue them and do not give up.

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