TEDx Bangalore Change – Ideas for a Positive Change!

TED is a non-profit organisation which focuses on Ideas Worth Spreading. TED champions  propagates ideas that can have a global impact. Every year TED brings together across the world   thinkers, doers, activists – who present their thoughts, their learning, their ideas and views.

TEDx is a programme of local, self-organised events that offer a TED-like experience, where speakers get audiences to think, understand and engage. The x stands for independently organised TED event. 

TEDx Bangalore change was all about Positive Disruptions. This cross-disciplinary event organized by Akshara Foundation, focused on the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the whole world across a wide range of sector. The event was held on 4th of April 2013 at the Bangalore International Centre Auditorium.
Most often disruption is unwelcome, but sometimes disruption can spur positive spin-offs, cast a fresher look at the old, obstinate issues and precipitates change. The speakers for the event were  Sean Blagsvedt, SrikanthNadhamuni, V. Ravichander, Dr.Rukmini Banerjee and Dr. G.K. Jayaram.

 Rethinking Privacy, Sean Blagsvedt

Sean Blagsvedt is the Founder of Babajob.com, a job search site that make use of the power of digital social networking for India’s poor. His talk on Rethinking Privacy is of great relevance at a time when personal data is increasingly public property. Individual privacy, though not nearly at its languishing end, is at threat,and must engage in a non-zero sum interaction with the systems it is pitted against, so that there are no losers, only winners. It is a trade-off, Sean Blagsvedt argued, a few freedoms for the security and safety of being in a collective. Trust is key he reiterated. The poor get done in because they have no identity, no trust. Babajob.com is built around the principles of access and trust which can get better jobs for people who have little or no access and contact to worlds outside their own. 

Disruptive Technology for a Billion People – Srikanth Nadhamuni

In his talk,Disruptive Technology for a Billion People, Srikanth Nadhamuni, CEO of Khosla Labs and previously Head of Technology, Unique Identity Authority (UID), stated the case for technology, how, harnessed and channeled, it can erase some of India’s major problems. The country has witnessed a dramatic growth of technology. In short e-governance would improve quality and eliminate corruption. The railway reservation system is a case in point – from the  days where queues and chaos were an integral part of getting railway tickets to the online efficiency of today.  The Architecture of Good Governance begins with the computer, a fair, dispassionate deity, neither swayed nor influenced, and incorruptible. A technology-driven apparatus of a centralized system and a “data repository” simplifies life, distributes access and allays the travail of ordinary Indian citizens. A ration card will work at any public distribution outlet anywhere in the country. A weekly National Rural Employment Guarantee entitlement is available almost instantaneously as cash from any village micro ATM. Technology eats into the heart of corruption. It changes the landscape of governance.

Co-Creating Cities, V. Ravichander

In his talk, Co-Creating Cities, V. Ravichander who has 32 years of experience in Research and Consulting, began by sketching the grim picture of runaway urban growth, mismanaged,characterized by sloppy governance, skewed priorities and lack of vision. He called for collaboration between business and government. A good, functioning, well-provisioned city means good business. It boosts bottom lines, and so business, with its resources and proven delivery track record, should come up with engagement models. Ravichander highlighted the role of City Connect, a civil society movement strengthened by business participation, that believes in the professional, outcome-based management of cities. A striking example is its work-in-progress mission for Bangalore roads. And since we live in the Age of Garbage in this city, Ravichander proposed the responsible, sustainable and decentralised disposal of a festering problem. In an impassioned conclusion, he said that we as citizens must change to be able to do something about the way our cities are going.

Disruptive Learning in 45 Days, Dr.Rukmini Banerji

Dr.Rukmini Banerji has been an active member of the core team of ASER, the Pratham-facilitated Annual Status of Education Report, since 2005 and currently heads ASER Centre. Her talk, Disruptive Learning in 45 Days, was illuminating,engaging and thought provoking. In an anecdotal way she made telling, hard-hitting points on the state of learning in India. The genesis of ASER lies in a small experiment Pratham began many years ago with children who were left behind and could not read – in school maybe, but nowhere on par. Dr.Banerji and hundreds of people like her wrought a miracle with village children, turning those who stuttered and stumbled over letters into confident, fluent readers of sentences. All in 45 days, using a specially designed tool, a simple reading expedient that went on to become a rallying point not just to teach children how to read but to engage communities. It moved to the next dimension of a village report card and a learning survey of children, and ASER had begun, in embryo form. Its reading and Mathematics statistics are always cause for dismay and concern. Dr. Banerji called education one of India’s biggest problem areas and urged people to engage groups of children in reading, using appropriate material. Two hours a day for thirty or forty days. If hundreds and thousands of us can do it India will change forever, she said.

Transcendental Leadership, Dr. G.K. Jayaram

Dr. G.K. Jayaram is Founder Director of the Institute of Leadership and Institutional Development. In his talk on Transcendental Leadership,he enunciated the need for leadership in this era of reduced opportunities and dwindling expectations. An era of crisis, as it were – 8.1 million children in India who do not even see a school, poverty still stalking, people going hungry.  It is a time for leadership everywhere. Dr.Jayaram enumerated the qualities of a leader. Integrity and character are the very foundation, in an environment of falling values, lack of probity and moral decay. Intelligence and intuition, like courage and intensity, passion with purpose, are vital attributes. A leader needs to be self-aware, have empathy andinter-personal wisdom. India needs leaders who, while retaining command of the present,are able to envision the future, strategise for it, he said.