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Do 'set paths' & sense of duty stop Asians from taking risks?

GOA: The concluding day of the twelfth edition of Goafest presented a knowledge seminar that partially revolved around the East's resurgence in its potential to (soon) surpass the West as the dominant game-changer in terms of 'creativity'.

Speaking widely on the topic, AKQA's executive creative director Eric Cruz highlighted a few factors that could soon play a crucial role in ensuring so.

The 'ideas and innovation company' executive cited how one of the superpowers, China, began its quest for excellence through creativity over 4000 years ago. Soon, the nation turned into the Innovation Valley of Asia. He argued that, over the past few decades, the East merely became a consumer or follower of trends, instead of impacting the world through its own creations. From search engines to social media platforms, most inventions have emerged from the West, and Asians have merely been the heavy consumers of these trends.

Cruz emphasised on China's role throughout its history on spearheading the creativity phenomenon and impacting the world as we see it. Through graphs and statistics, Cruz demonstrated the rapid growth in the need of technological presence in every necessity of life. With the metaphor that the future is much like a tsunami, Cruz identified the early obstacles in understanding this phenomenon. "We are living in a world where creative history is being made. And, the question of the hour is ‘Are we Asians creative enough to invent our own world?’" asked Cruz to the room filled with enthusiasts.

The root problem as identified by him, was the way Asians have evolved. The academic structure, values and cultural environment leads to the loss of creativity, added Cruz, and more often than not,  the sense of duties and set paths thrust upon Asians prevent them from exploring the creative field entirely. "The perception globally is that Asia is posed to follow, and not innovate. We are known to be fast followers but not innovators," stated Cruz.

New world tools like Automation and AI are necessary steps towards evolution. Automation will help humans rid of menial processes and AI will enable  to enhance the creative process.

Cruz ended the talk a hopeful note that since 50 per cent of students in the West are Asians, there is a new generation which is learning from the West to implement change and innovation in their respective countries. China, Korea and India will be the centers of innovation in the years to come.

The following speaker was all of 11 years old, but came with an abundance of wisdom and quick-fixes. Youngest Indian TED Speaker Ishita Katyal addressed a pertinent topic of discussion -- Encouraging creativity. She started off by asking valid questions, “Why are kids not encouraged to be creative or ask questions? Why are they forced into fixed streams of academics?”

She went on to elaborate, with the help of her personal example, how creativity is ageless. When she wrote her first book at the age of eight, she faced tremendous prejudice from publishers and others, but her determination and support from her parents helped her pursue her dreams and the book was published to roaring success.

One of the biggest obstacles one faces while trying to fulfill their dreams is fear, and this little girl mesmerised the house with a simple story of how you can beat your fear by simply moving closer to it. The more closely you encounter your fear, the smaller it becomes. She ended by saying, “We the children are the future, and if you want us to build a beautiful world, give us the answers to the questions we ask.”

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