As all of Infosys prepares excitedly to host TEDx Bangalore at our campus on Sunday, May 29, I wanted us all to think once again, deeply, about the reasons why it's important to support initiatives like this. It is this very thinking that compelled us to bring the TEDx Anchor Program to India earlier this year.In four years, India is set to become the world's youngest nation with almost two-thirds of its population being of working age. "Bursting with youthful energy" is a great way to describe India. But what would be even better is when we script a future where we can alter that description to read, "Bursting with youthful creative energy". Now, that would be something! In fact, it is just the thing we need.
This notion of creativity means so many different things to different people. But a simple way to think about it is as the ability to create. The ability to begin to imagine a perfect remedy to a real need. Not just faster, better or cheaper versions of systems and solutions that already exist, but something that takes us closer to a highly desirable ideal. This first step is only limited by our imagination. The next step is to spot all the elements - that are likely not there - but need to be brought together to turn that imagined scenario into reality. This act of seeing unseen possibilities is uniquely human. And the task of creation is fully accomplished once the knowledge, skills and expertise, to fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle, are found and used to bring that which is imagined to life.
Today, there is little disagreement that this imagination, this act of creating is not really a thing that the systems and institutions that surround us actively encourage and nurture. Formal education with its many challenges has let this need remain grossly underserved. The mainstream culture of our workplaces, that then influences and shapes youngsters, predominantly focuses on gains in the 'here and now' often doing little more than rewarding adherence to best-practices and at best encouraging incremental improvements of all that has already been created. And yet, our desire to uncover the undiscovered survives. People hunger to continually develop. In fact, this is incurably human. That's why - not just in our schools and universities - but in our private pursuits and in our workplaces there is a great need to focus on a personal journey of lifelong learning, exploring and idea-building. Because only continuous learning and challenging the status quo can bring us the deep understanding with which we can imagine the potential of all that we might achieve. And initiatives like TEDx that focus on spreading ideas that matter - generated by the community for the community - present a compelling way to address this challenge.
When this focus grows in strength, talent at the core of our workforce will not only bring a variety of knowledge and skills, but more importantly, fresh ideas and creativity waiting to find expression. Given the right conditions and nurturing there is every possibility that from this set will blossom purposeful entrepreneurs - finding and solving the biggest problems plaguing their country. And this is more possible now, than it has ever been in the history of humankind. Because we live in these times of being digital.
Today technology has come so far in capability that the line between imagination and reality has started to fade. Digital technology has started to give life-like qualities through sensory capability and intelligence to inanimate things. Cars that drive themselves, offices and homes that 'know' us and our preferences, and mobile phones that are practically our digital twins, are just the beginning. As more and more devices acquire such capabilities and connect to each other, they will breathe digital life into our world of atoms. This will be a new paradigm where technology will allow us to go beyond merely improving the known and to effect incredible transformations that make the impossible possible. In fact, several creators at TEDx Bangalore promise you a glimpse into this exciting new world. Whether it is Saurabh Arora talking about his early work using Artificial Intelligence, Tirthankar Dash's introduction to his exploration of Design Thinking or Syed Sultan Ahmed's story of founding EduMedia, their tales of innovation and invention will leave you enthralled. Be there at TedX Bangalore hosted at the Infosys campus on Sunday, 29th May, or simply log on to the Infosys Facebook page to join the live webcast.
Because in the new paradigm, all that will matter, all that will set us apart from automations and digitally-enhanced things will be our ideas, our imagination and our ability to create. India must swiftly prepare her youngsters to enter this entirely new world awaiting us. We, at Infosys, want for all of us to not only be ready for it, but also do what we can to accelerate its arrival. Amplifying programs like TEDx is only the beginning.