The Future of Leading
We live in a world that is changing what it means to lead. In this gripping presentation, Anand Giridharadas draws on his reporting around the world, interviews, and analysis to reveal how old methods of leadership are being overthrown and replaced by new ways. He will talk about the shift from leading by doing to leading by catalyzing, from power over others to power with them, from top-down to bottom-up. He will explore the new leadership qualities favored in a multicultural world - empathy, both in thinking and speaking in multiple voices. And he will share reflections on what it means to think like a truly global leader, to go beyond a narrow Western lens. Are you prepared to lead in this new world?
Where Innovation Comes From
The reigning picture of innovation in people's minds is a couple of geeks with an idea in Silicon Valley, and a big, wealthy venture capital firm to back them. But the where, who, what, and how of innovation is changing, and the picture is becoming more complicated. Anand Giridharadas has traveled the world speaking with innovators and the people they serve. In this important talk, he argues that the most important innovation is happening far from the Valley, in developing countries, where people are inventing $100 heart surgery and refrigerators that require no electricity. He also speaks about social innovation, its promise and its limitations. He discusses the most urgent problems that need innovators but aren't getting any, including the challenge of innovating better conversations and better adjusted men. And he explores the new forces that are making it possible for anyone, anywhere, to innovate - with all the promise that implies and some perils, too.
The End of the West?
What is the nature of the present American - and Western - predicament, and what are the ways out? Is there hope still for the American Dream? Is this, as some suggest, the end of the West? Anand Giridharadas raises and addresses these questions and more when speaking on this subject.
Giridharadas on the West:
"Faith in perfectibility appears to have retreated in American life. It lives on in weight-loss programs and self-help books... But the belief that you might die in a markedly better existence than the one you came into is fading."
"Americans are becoming foreigners to each other. People in Texas speak of people in New York the way certain Sunnis speak of Shiites... What is creeping into the culture is simple dehumanization, a failure to imagine the lives others lead. Fellow citizens become caricatures. People retreat into their own safe realms. And decency, that great American virtue, falls away."
"If India does become as dynamic and powerful as China, then democracy, multiculturalism and the rule of law will continue to have a forceful champion, with or without America. So will free expression, irreverent newspapers, the separation of powers, elections that actually oust people, the English language as the medium of business, movies that end happily, reality television and the bedrock belief that the best things in a society happen uncoordinated on its streets rather than in its Central Committee. Many Indians believe they are the heirs to this tradition, that it is their special destiny to be a new America."
"Could America, that great nation of immigrants, become in harder times a nation of emigrants? Could the metropolises of China one day have Americatowns?"
The Digital Soul: Technology & Us
Technology daily changes how we live. It is invading our consciousness, remaking day by day what it means to work and love, reason and remember. But we tend to reorganize our lives around what features happen to be invented - when perhaps it ought to be the other way around. This is the theme of Giridharadas's lectures on technology and us. How can we consciously shape this new relationship with technology to align with our values, with the kind of lives we wish to lead? How can we seize its benefits to create personal brands and measure aspects of our daily life, all the while surrendering privacy for conveniences, while not losing ourselves? What are the choices to be made, and how might we make them?
Giridharadas on technology:
"Technology is of human making. But these days we contort ourselves to organize life around the tools and not the other way around. If the technologists sell always-on broadband, we end up being always on. If they invent a new gadget, we line up to buy it before knowing its uses. If email can reach us anywhere, we assume that it should... The offerings of technology are not inevitabilities but choices, and that we don't have to live in new ways just because they have been invented. It remains possible to determine first the kind of life you wish to lead, and only then ask how magnificent and hazardous arrays of ones and zeroes can be put to the task of making that life come true."
The Good Society Now: What It Means to Be "Modern" Around the World
In Anand Giridharadas's lectures on globalization and the world, a recurring line of exploration is whether India, China, and other emerging countries are replicating the Western model of the good society, or rather inventing their own definitions of modernity. In these talks, Giridharadas also speaks on issues of development, innovation and the cultural aspect of globalization.
Giridharadas on the world:
"In order to thrive again, Brazil had to depoliticize the quest for a better economy. Leaders had to move beyond their ideologies. Facts had to become more important than principles. And a kind of pragmatic right-left consensus had to emerge - namely, that both a bustling market and an active government are essential to durable economic growth."
"Around the world, middle classes ordinarily devoted to the pursuit of washing machines and flatter screens decided this year, more forcefully than in recent memory, that the world was their problem."
"The challenge for today's modernizers is to match the gains of the Me-centric society while somehow preserving the sense of community that development can so easily erode: restoring the sense, which came so naturally to our ancestors, that we exist for each other, and that to be free and unanchored, self-making and self-protecting, can also be profoundly lonely."
"As with Mumbai and São Paulo and other such cities, Lagos's expectations are now inspired by a life thousands of miles away, while its realities are a product of its own tortuous road to progress. The gap between what is wanted and what can be had grows wider hour by hour... The seduction of globalism is how easy it is for a country to become modern-seeming. The peril of globalism is that it can conceal dysfunction behind a charming veneer, and can, in that sense, become a substitute for real progress."
"Traveling in Norway some weeks before the attacks, I sensed a quiet anxiety in many of those to whom I spoke. In building their cathedral of order, they wondered if they had surrendered something of their former selves: had lost the daring and self-reliance of Isak, had removed themselves from the earth, had protected themselves so well from life's vicissitudes as to drain their vitality away. It sounds strange now, but many asked aloud if Norway had become too comfortable, soft - and whether greatness and invention were still possible amid such calm."