Experience and thoughts of an ambassador at Innovfest Unbound 2019!

Updated: Feb 20

❗️ Access to Unbound 2019

❗️ Exclusive interactions with speakers

❗️ Being involved with behind the scenes planning

Early this June, I chanced upon this opportunity to be an ambassador of Innovfest Unbound 2019. Being pretty fresh to start-ups, I found this to be a rare opportunity that was hard to come by. Thus, despite my tight Summer break schedule, i went on to slot myself in for an interview. And I am glad to have been selected to be part of the social media team!

My job scope was mainly to speak to start-ups, get to know more about their products and ideas. At the same time, I attended fireside chat sessions and kopi chat with speakers.

It was truly an experience for me, being able to hear inspirational start-up ideas from a myriad of industries such as technology, manufacturing, finance and others.

The vibe and energy at the event was particularly palpable!

In case you missed the event, fear not! Here are some takeaways I personally got from Unbound 2019!

“Technology has far revolutionised our world thus far”

Over the years, technology has successfully changed the way we live. It’s scary how fast the change has happened and is still happening. Of course, there’s the good and the not so great side.

Not just in the aspect of communications, it has also changed the way we think through introducing high intelligence robots to humanity.

Various countries all over the world have similar goals in wanting to become smart nations. People are actively looking for ways to apply technology to improve lives, increase productivity and efficiency.

Ask your parents about their job search experience. They probably went hopping from company to company, attending endless interviews only to find themselves being deemed as unsuitable candidates. Fast forward to today, we make use of sites such as LinkedIn to post our resume and communicate with companies we are interested to be part of. Employers who see potential in us can then invite us down for an interview. The process has evidently became so much more convenient and efficient.

Personally, I feel reassured knowing companies are making use of technology in a good way instead of committing vices.

Building an ecosystem for innovation

In today’s digital age, companies who are looking to stay in the loop and be updated of whats in the known ought to constantly put themselves out there, knowing what the other companies are investing in, daring to be part of the innovation ecosystem to challenge and integrate.

One of my takeaways at the panel discussion, from the government standpoint, is that they are trying to build a partnership with the private sector as they believe it’s a collaborative model and it is the way to go.

Innovating responsibly

One of the reasons why companies are sustainable is through practicing corporate responsibility. This includes employer, environmental and fiscal responsibilities.

One example is a household name that we are all familiar with, is Google. Google is still viewed as an employer of choice even after many years, with other firms coming up.

Google strictly follows their firm’s philosophy, “you can make money without doing evil.”

Their $1 billion commitment aims to create more opportunities for everyone. They believe that technology and innovation can make an impact in three key areas of education, economic opportunities and inclusion.

What stood out to me was particularly the area of education, where Google makes use of technology to create an open-sourced platform for translating books.

‘Education is the movement from darkness to light’ as said by Allan Bloom.

But there are many children out there without enough reading resources available in their native languages for them. This results in certain countries still lagging behind and unable to keep up.

Pratham Books’ StoryWeaver, supported by Google, is a free and open source technology that allows openly licensed stories to be translated, remixed, or newly authored to expand the diversity of storybooks available to children, especially in native languages.

It is an online platform that connects readers, authors, illustrators, and translators to create free stories for children around the world. Teachers, literacy organizations, and parents can easily find resources that fit their students’ reading abilities as well as their language preferences. In less than a year, Storyweaver has expanded to offer books in over 60 languages.

It is not just the company or government job to drive this agenda, in fact it is individually, everyone ought to do their part.

(Read more from: Google.org)

Disruption innovation for a good cause

What pops up in your mind when I mention the word ‘innovation disruption’?

Go-Jek? Uber?

Over the years, Go-Jek has evolved from a purely transportation industry to a multi-faceted one where even I question, ‘What industry is Go-Jek in?’ General mobility? Transportation? Food delivery?

Go-Jek was started based on a simple visualization of the flooded traffic in Jakarta. Jakartans are famously said to spend 10 years of their lives in traffic, as 2 to 3 hours of commuting time is common. The best way to avoid the traffic is to hail a motorcycle taxi. However, flagging one down was a challenge! Motorcycle drivers were often seen haphazardly strewn around the city, in the corner of the streets or in the carparks.

Nadiem Makarim, CEO of Go-Jek thought that they could be earning more money if they are more productive. The reason for them moving on from purely ride hailing services to food courier services was because the latter alone would not generate sufficient network effects to be sustainable, much less to scale. Thus, to keep drivers occupied and increase demand for their services, Go-Jek also offered a courier service, Go-Send and food delivery service, Go-Food in the same year of the start of Go-Jek.

Terms such as AI, Big Data and Cloud were once so foreign to me, and now it’s becoming so common, appearing in conversations not just during networking events. Even in the train, on my way home.

Perhaps this is strong evidence of how increasingly technology-integrated our lives are.

Thank you Innovfest Unbound 2019, for the enjoyable and fruitful experience! 😁

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