The London Innovation Society are proud to be working together with Engineering Minds at The Green STEM Festival – Our Planet. This inspirational event organised by Engineering Minds and supported by UK Science Festivals Network and ARM. The event aims to empower children and families understand how our actions impact on the future of Earth, how we can live more sustainably and environmentally responsible, and how Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths can help us to protect our Planet.
The Festival supports the UK Clean Growth Strategy, focusing on Improving Our Homes, Delivering Clean, Smart, Flexible Power and Enhancing the Benefits and Value of Our Natural Resources.
Children and families will experience hands-on activities that illustrate how engineering and science can safeguard our Earth, and will encourage them to think about how can they lower their carbon footprint. We aim to offer children, families and schools from South-East London the opportunity to receive information and identify local organisations that can continue to offer Green STEM opportunities.
Around 20 eco-conscious organisations from London will exhibit and demonstrate earth-friendly Science and Engineering activities. In the main hall, each stand will have live demos. The festival will offer at least 10 free interactive workshops that will take place in separate areas, where children and families will be involved in STEM demonstration and activities such as Building Solar Robots, LEGO Robotics, Introduction to Carbon Literacy, How to create solar-powered solutions for homes, schools and events, Recycle & Waste Prevention, Introduction to Local Environmental Quality, Waste Electrical Recycling and many more. There will be local entertainment, STEM related face-painting and arts & craft activities.
The London Innovation Society will be running a workshop about Superpowered Organisms: Genetically modified organisms for a Sustainable planet. We will explore how genetically modified organisms are made, prevent crop devastation, develop new foods, and apply biotechnology to remove pollution from our environment. Design your own GMO to solve human and nature’s problems.
Date: 8th February 2020, from 10am to 4pm.
Location: University of Greenwich, Queen Anne Court , Old Royal Naval College, Park Row, Greenwich Peninsula, London, SE10 9LS
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.