Tag Archives: Disruptor

Since our evening with Jane is tonight, we thought we’d share a blog post with you, to get you thinking.

 

Ambition is no longer the kiss of death for women’s careers. 

Just ask Sheryl Sandberg and the 1 million people who bought her book, “Lean In.” Sandberg should be roundly applauded for creating greater awareness of women’s work challenges, and for encouraging more conversation to emerge. But it’s important to realize the limitations of her message, which doesn’t translate in China, as Quartz recently reported, and in other Asian cultures as well. 

Here’s why:

Words, often the simplest ones, across cultures create confusion. For the Lean In movement, “ambition” and “family” are at the root of the cultural disconnect. 

Having facilitated many (predominantly female) workshops for multicultural and multi-generational teams across Asia, I can tell you that when the question of ambition comes up, which it often does, most participants felt the word and subsequent definitions to be blunt, boorish, and not reflective of their professional aspirations.

To ask, “How ambitious are you?” in Asia is fascinating. In China, women are more comfortable speaking about their ambitions than women in Japan, Hong Kong or Singapore, where the question is often met with silence or a detached shrug. For many women I encountered in Korea and Vietnam, ambition does not square with leadership, and instead has more negative than positive connotations. Being seen as “ambitious” still conjures a pejorative image for women.

Read the rest, here.

jane

Join us at our event, tonight.



I came across Women Media Networks when doing research for my own site, The Modern Bitch, in August 2012. At that point I thought it would be a dream to be part of WMN and eight months later I was given the opportunity to attend an event in celebration of International Women’s Day.
One thing that inspired me to create a site for young women in Hong Kong was a TED Talk by Tavi Gevinson, a teen blogger who discussed feminism and how she was still figuring things out. Feminism has always been something close to my heart and since I was a child, I’ve always looked up to women and had female role models whether it be lead singers in bands or successful women in the corporate world.
In the UK, where I grew up, teen pregnancy is high and many of my friends weren’t aiming high or thinking about their future. When I entered my early teens I started to become very ambitious and knew that a career was something I wanted and family would come later. By the time I graduated and an opportunity came along in the form of Hong Kong, I knew it was a calling and I had to push past my worries and fears. Two years on I have a stable job that I enjoy and continue to think about my future in terms of career first and family later.
The discussion started straight at the root, as the panel asked each other if women could really have it all? I personally believe that women can, but not everything will be in balance all the time. It also depends on the definition of  ’having it all’ as this differs for everyone. Most of the room agreed.
My version of having it all from a basic definition would be having a successful career while having a family at the same time. One thing I took away is that the definition is difficult to simplify because all kinds of complexities come into family and career such as, whether you have your own business – and how big it is – how big your family is, whether you’re a single parent… the list goes on.
Bobbi Campbell touched on the point that you have to be really good at what you do in order to have the right to tell people you’re leaving at 5.30pm and will be unavailable for certain hours. I completely agree. It involves years of hard work and staying late to work your way up to the top, which in turn makes you really good at what you do. This isn’t always easy for women who aren’t necessarily at the top and after doing a little research on Marissa Mayer and Yahoo!, it’s clear that having understandable employers who support your choice of working and raising a family is something that is vital in having balance.
Doubt is one of the biggest problems that I face while trying to succeed in work and managing my side projects. It was a relief when Mia Saini mentioned this and an even bigger relief when other women agreed. Confidence is something that I have struggled with from time to time and I had a lot of doubts when creating my website, especially over the name. I overcame this by using my instincts and asking myself, what’s the worst that can happen?
It was great to hear advice from Bobbi regarding checking a company’s culture before working there and she stressed the importance of being comfortable asking co-workers for help. It was reassuring to learn that some women have key influencers to aspire to, which helps them overcome the fear of asking.
Letting go of some control over your work and allowing others to step in was also a big talking point and Chris Bowers mentioned having to allow her staff to handle things for her after having twins. I thought about this and considered it a challenge in the future for me personally as I like to be in control of every little detail and think that other ambitious women might feel the same way. Bowers also mentioned that she met with personal development coaches to better herself in order to better her business. That is definitely something to take on board. Other people help you grow.
Towards the end of the discussion, Shea Stanley and others panel members talked about the future and what can be done now, to help change the stereotypical view of mothers. It’s important to educate children on equality and leading by example by sharing chores between the parents, so the mother isn’t doing it all and they don’t see just mum doing it all. There is also some advice for younger women in that they shouldn’t worry about the future or planning family. Just focus on pursuing something you love and figure out how family will fit in later on. Not only that, but do not doubt yourself. Just own it!
One of the main things that I can relate to and take away from the discussion is that women are still trying to figure it out. None of the women in the room that day had all the answers or a 101 on how to have a career and family at the same time. What I felt inspired by is that strong and successful women have come together to discuss this. I may have a long way to go in building a career for myself, but I learnt a lot during that discussion and I think it’s very important to expose younger women to these discussions to ensure the lives and roles of women continue to progress healthily.

Read more from Beth’s blog, The Modern Bitch.
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We don’t usually promote other people’s events on WMN, because we take care and precision over how we curate our calendar for the year. But there’s one debate which is really worth the attention and AmCham HK are running a breakfast event before our next, which should nicely inform and ripen our ideas before the day.

In our Careers Blog (members only access) I recently posted some background and interview with Anne Marie Slaughter, who says that we can’t have it all and that women are not supported to have a career and children, while continuing to support and raise their children throughout their childhoods.

The AmCham event is titled Male Female Differences at Work:

 

The ‘fit’ between gender and the different stages in an organisation’s ‘lifecycle’ will be used to illustrate that it’s very unlikely that the same individual will be successful leading an organisation throughout its entire ‘life’.

 

 

The implications of this research for corporate careers and corporate success will be presented, as well as some development implications.

 

 

 

 

 

On March 26th, we will host our next eventDeconstructing the myth – having it all.

 

In celebration of International Women’s Day, WMN HK are having a very special event. To those of you who went to last year’s exciting CASBAA event it will be a similar format and in the same fabulous Bloomberg auditorium.The panel discussion will feature WMN’s founder (and mother of two and the COO of The Red Flag Group) Bobbi Campbell, as well as guest speakers. It will be moderated by Mia Saini, a reporter for Bloomberg.

 

All too often we hear the words  ”you can have it all”, particularly when we see high-powered women, such as Marissa Mayer (CEO of Yahoo) claiming success in juggling both work and family. Is it true – can we really have it all, or are we really kidding ourselves? This controversial issue will be the focus of the panel’s discussions.

 

Please join us for our debate and share your ideas and thoughts with us before hand, on our social media platforms (#wmndecon)

 

@wmnasiapacific

www.facebook.com/WMNAPAC

LinkedIn group

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Our first event of the year was an exciting and fun one – which if you’re not morning person (I’m not), is just what you need. And I should mention, our kind hosts California Vintage did a great job with the menu (California breakfast muffin, yes please). Moreover, the topics and advice syncronised nicely with everything else that’s been going on in my life lately, both at home and at work.
The task for the event was Developing mindfulness, reliance and confidence, learning strategies and techniques to transform challenges and setback into opportunities.
Our speaker, Sally Dellow from Rock the Boat had promised a frenetic event with audience participation, which is what we got with our small but comfortable crowd.
“Are you dealing with VUCA? ” Asks Sally.
VUCA is Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity. The term was coined in the 90s for those dealing with the military issues. It’s likely that you’ve felt this at work or home recently. We live in a VUCA world, which isn’t going to change, so we have to manage our reactions.
We’re asked to put down our bags and phones (as if that isn’t scary enough?) and shut our eyes. This is a grounding exercise, so we tune out everything but place our feet on the footrests and consider that we are planted on the stool and the stool is on the ground. We bring the energy up from the ground and into our bodies. Sally asks us to feel connected and say: “I am grounded. I am open”. This is a good way to check yourself in the busy world; it will help give you resilience.
Ever seen anyone shake when they’re giving a speech? In our daily lives, our fight or flight response will blind us. But then when we need it, adrenalin kicks in. Yet constant adrenalin is bad for us too. This is Sally’s killer cocktail – adrenalin and cortisol, those stress hormones, which will literally give you a heart attack.
With a chart provided by Sally, we look at the world around us.
Meet SCARF
Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, Fairness.
Engagement and motivation will make us move toward a person, job or situation. But bad feelings will give a fight or flight response, where of course, flight takes over (see image at bottom).
Another slide shows that 65% of us are disengaged, un-energised – or worse – through our work. You might not think it, but those feelings and sentiments lead to feelings of stress (it’s not just complacency). High stress gives a 23% increased risk of a heart attack.
Meanwhile, a survey in Hong Kong shows that 74% of white-collar respondents experienced short attention span, memory loss and difficulty processing tasks. Our brains need a rest too.
There’s more than one reason why we need to give ourselves a break and put ourselves first. Ever flown on an airplane? The answer is yes, I’m sure. Think about how we’re told on flights to place our own oxygen masks before helping others. It’s for a reason. We need to breath healthy oxygen and have clear minds in order to think in order to act – in order to be of help to others. It’s an analogy also used in twelve step groups to show that it is ok to put yourself first; it is not necessarily selfish.
We naturally think it’s bad to put ourselves first, but it’s not. So here’s another exercise. Think of two situations where you need extreme self-care. It could be having a lie-in on Saturday. It could be making a delicious meal. Commit to yourself that you will do it in the next seven days. Write it down. Go on!
And when you’re getting stressed, remember to take a moment to come back down to earth. Because you need to be resilient.
Resilience will help you
  • Bounce back from adversity
  • Overcome the stress of threatening circumstances
  • Adapt successfully to challenges
Resilience is actually genetic – some of us really are more resilient than others, according to Sally. Those who are more resilient tend to be highly committed to the things in our lives. The more threads we have that connect us to our world – friends, family, hobbies, work, societies etc the less we will be rocked when one of those threads breaks. Our zone of control is less highly shaken.
When everything goes wrong, we can control our bodies, thinking and even our feelings.
Sally shares tips for feeling in control:
Permanence: To have a positive and resilient mindset, see negative events as temporary.
Pervasiveness: If one thing is going badly, focus on where things are going well and remember that you are the same person across those situations.
Fully acknowledge the things you can and cannot control.
And finally, forget the three pillars of happiness – some people don’t feel happy but there is something that can be more important.
The five pillars of wellbeing (PERMA)
  1. Positive emotion
  2. Engagement
  3. Relationships
  4. Meaning
  5. Achievement
In this exercise (PDF attached at the bottom), take two coloured pens and mark your score in those areas (each ring is 25% with the lowest percentile in the centre. Make a mark in the correct ring for you, under that category). Do one colour for you and another colour for work in order to see where you’re at.
How perfect is your circle? Now think about how to move towards where you want to be.
What went well
Here’s an exercise to do every night. When something scores low, think about what your wish would be to change it. Doing this will help you to get your ideas and sense of gratitude in order. While this exercise seems simple, let it become a practice and it will really help. It will become part of your natural approach to looking at things in your life; it breeds positivity.
Respond don’t react
Don’t let your emotions take control of your behaviour. If you’re afraid, it’s because you think you’re facing a saber tooth tiger. But you always control your breathing and your body, so take control and loose the fight or flight response. Breath, smile, deflect and decide.
(You don’t need to be unemotional – process your emotions).
Mindfulness exercises are plentiful
Shut your eyes and practice your smile without interruption.
Hormones can also help:
  • Connect with people and it releases Oxytocin along with sentiments of trust, loyalty and openness.
  • Laugh, serotonin gives perspective and stops you from muffling your words.
  • Be mindful, it lowers the stress hormone of Cortisol. Slow down, don’t get bowled along by life.
  • Exercise gives endorphins, which gives women a bigger hit than men. Just move around and feel more euphoric.
Well after an hour of inspiration, it’s time to STOP.
  • Sit
  • Take a breath
  • Observe
  • Prioritise

There’s a great list of short, tweeted takeaways here:
Please share and repost this blog and follow us
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This is a re-post from LinkedIn, which surprisingly doesn’t employ a proper infographic. But it ends with a good question, so I suggest we all meditate on that for a few minutes.

 

Throughout Change by Design, I tried to show that the designer’s skills can be applied to a wide range of problems—and also that these skills are accessible to a far greater range of people than may be commonly supposed. These two threads come together when we apply them to one of the most challenging problems of them all: designing a life. There is a big difference, though, between planning a life, drifting through life, and designing a life.

We all know of people who go through life with every step preplanned. They knew which university they would attend, which internship would lead to a successful career, and at what age they will retire. Unfortunately, this never works out as planned. And anyway, if you know the winner before the start, where’s the fun in the game?

Like any good design team, we can have a sense of purpose without deluding ourselves that we can predict every outcome in advance, for this is the space of creativity. We can blur the distinction between the final product and the creative process that got us there. We can learn how to take joy in the things we create. We can work within the constraints of our own natures—and still be agile, build capabilities, iterate. We can conduct experiments, make discoveries, change our perspectives.

Think of today as a prototype. What would you change?

Original article here.

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The Firebrand Blog shared their best ten blogs from over the year. Among them was this one. With such a headline, how could I resist reading it? Especially when Disruption is a topic so close to the heart of WMN.

Here’s the re-post:

If you want your company to beat the competition and be the place the best clients and people want to be in – then make sure you’re hiring black sheep. And sometimes be a black sheep yourself. Here’s why.

Too often we hire clones — worthy clones: hard working, ambitious, disciplined, compliant, well educated, often trained and proven in a competitive firm, appropriately groomed, etc. You know the story. Just look around you. Look at yourself perhaps.

To really succeed in a fast changing world where rules of old are being broken every day — as a business or as an executive striving for the most vibrant of career — we have to resist the usual and be brave.

 

Read the rest here.



“What does disruption mean?” asks Janine Stein, at the panel of experienced change makers to start off the discussion.

Sue Adams, Head of Learning and Development at Aldersgate Partners and Bamboo Businesses, began the round by differentiating change and disruption. “Change occurs every day, whereas disruption is big transition.” As many women in the room could probably attest, Adams explained that having a baby or moving to a new job is a disruption – it’s not an everyday change.

Jennifer Berthold, Vice President and General Manager of American Express Singapore, said  “From a corporate point of view, unanticipated change is disruption – change that’s not asked for but happens to be change you have to respond to.”

Charmaine Huet said philosophically that what is permanent and what isn’t has been contemplated for centuries by thinkers such as Plato – disruption can be both big and small. Huet is the former Communications Director for Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific and described how leaving Discovery to take care of her baby, then becoming the General Manager at La Barca Ristorante was a disruption she initiated to create more balance in her life. “For big decisions in life, balance is key” she advised.

 

For Abi Sekimitsu, General Manager at Reuters South East Asia and Pacific, disruption is changing what we’ve always done. It’s about getting out of our comfort zone and often comes with the big question: Are we ready to challenge ourselves?

 

The panel gave a three-sixty perspective on how disruption presents itself, how it can be dealt with and harnessed to bring about positive change and improvements to get head, both in our lives and in the global market.

The common theme of the morning was that disruption was necessary for growth, especially in this time over ever evolving technologies, market behaviour and personal choices. Encouraging innovation (“embedding it into the DNA of a company”, as put by Jennifer), soliciting collective buy-in from all stakeholders and employees from the top-down and bottom-up and changing our perspective of failure are vital when embracing and deploying disruption. A good method to move towards this is to give incentives, understand the fear behind resistance and create a forum for discussions.

Both eastern and western approaches to failure were discussed among the panel. The concept ‘fail fast, fail quickly and move one’ was introduced. Adams offered a coaching perspective that ‘win, learn, Change’ is a more positive formula.

Review and acceptance should be part of every organisation – failure should be taken out of the equation. Bad decisions are not failure, Sekimitsu added, because it’s a step away from where we started; the only failure is not trying. From an eastern perspective, Sekimitsu and Huet noted that failure equates with shame. Asians need to learn to separate failure with shame so innovation can be adopted.

Guests at the event also heard that women make fantastic change managers. Women are natural communicators and collaborators. Good managers ask questions, they engage. It’s an ego-free process where what’s best for the organisation is conveyed and the best outcomes happen when everyone is one board.

 

 


 

About the author:

Amanda Blum is a freelance writer, traveller and social entrepreneur. She was born in raised in London and spent the latter part of teen and adult life growing up in a small town in Florida where she studied English Lit, Anthropology and Environmental Science.

 

In the spirit of change and innovation, Amanda recently migrated to Singapore in search of new challenges, projects and eco opportunities.

www.amandablum.com



On November 1st, 2012, Bloomberg kindly hosted the Women Media Networks Media Disruptors lunch event, Changing the Rules of the Game.

With Moderator Mia Saini, News Presenter for Bloombergand panelists Emma Reynolds (Co-founder & CEO of e3-Reloaded), Joanne Ooi (Plukka.com) and Mariko Sanchanta (news presenter, Wall St Journal (WSJ)), we were set for an exciting discussion.

From the start, Saini disrupted the audience by taking a question and answer approach, creating audience interaction throughout. Saini’s wit and humour kept the conversation focused, fast-moving and entertaining.

 

 


 

“To engineer a disruption, the consumers will take time to catch up – be dynamic enough to roll with it, have back-up plans, re-iterate with your consumer,” advises Ooi near the beginning of the discussion.

 

 

“To keep innovating is to go back to the core of the disruptive mindset. Look at all areas, sales, engineering, consumer needs, etc. It’s an art, you cultivate it on a daily basis,” adds Reynolds.

 

 

“Yes, you have to throw your ego out of the window - you might have to throw great ideas away in being realistic, to keep a healthy directions,” adds Oi.

 

 

Coming from WSJ, Sanchanta has other comments. “Now we understand what our readers look at on our site, we’ve added a tool on the page to show how many people are reading which pieces. It’s push and pull, on whether it’s a core story that we’re promoting there or whether we want to up our reader numbers. The WSJ Asia team is quite autonomous, so we do try things out and when they don’t work out, we move on.” She describes an ego and agenda-free scenario.

 

 

We all know that in large companies, it takes a long time for new ideas to get to the top management - and by then, the world moves on. So what do you do? “You have to think like a small company,” says Reynolds.

 

 

Highlighting that is the fact that some of the best online or mobile payment companies are not headed by the main credit card companies, as you’d expect. Moreover, those payment companies cut out the middleman and have great interfaces, Reynolds observes. Her favourite example is https://squareup.com/, which allows mobile phones to take credit card payment.

 

 

As an executive, or someone less up-to-date with modern advances, what do you do when you’re left behind? Consultant Reynolds finds that sometimes her clients are those executives that have been left behind by disruption. “We can’t afford to wait around so we work out which companies we deal with well.”

 

 

Ooi reminds us of the danger of egos, getting in the way. “We have to be strong enough to walk away and move on. I don’t mean that some clients understand disruption immediately, but we can see if they’re open to it. Then we move forward and identify the problems. That helps the clients to open up and want to change. We focus on problems first not solutions, that keeps their interest. Things are different now, the power is with the masses, not the few at the top,” she observes.

 

 

Quantifiable statistics, defining working culture, looking at more realistic and regular performance reviews and crowd-sourcing ideas within the workplace are the kinds of activities that Reynolds works around.

 

“At WSJ, we’re always teaching our readers how to do things – many don’t know how to Tweet and so on,” explains Sanchanta. In Reynolds’ experience, men in their fifties are often strong ambassadors of learning new techniques and embracing modern technology and social media.

 

 

Disruption doesn’t come from the bottom, says Ooi. It comes from strong individuals – the power of the individual is vital. “If you can’t get that in your organisation, you hire people like Emma!” she quips.

 

 

Sanchanta says that as a woman in a male dominated industry, she is more of a disruptor, because she stands out at the meeting table.

 

 

Let’s look more closely at media. “As a traditional print media, we don’t easily embrace new technologies and people are sceptical. But we decided to do online videos, because it was something different,” says Sanchanta. “At first, it was awful but we got better and it works because most people are willing to go on camera.” Meanwhile, companies like Goldman Sachs have embraced Twitter, something that surprises former employee, Saini.

 

 

China has its own disruptive mindset. Saini’s husband travels to China for work regularly, and often, finds that her feeds are cut – the screen goes black a millisecond after she appears. But WSJ is one publication that has managed to remain online in China. “We don’t let it affect our content but if we’re reporting on a government we always make contact and ask direct questions,” says Sanchanta.

 

 

Being an entrepreneur in the disruption world doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be rich. Perhaps embracing the failures is part of the process? Reynolds’ first company, in the UK, went bankrupt during the financial crisis. “I lost everything,” she says, without regret.

 

 

Industries that might not have yet been disrupted yet,include financial advice services. One audience member thinks this will change in the next 5-10 years, but other changes have to happen behind that. Australia has already moved toward full disclosure; the UK has also made some changes.

 

 

Another main industry that needs change and disruption is education. Adult learning and life-long learning are key words here. Freer, low-cost education that’s internationally available seems like a dream. But education is getting more expensive year-on-year and good teachers and professors are still vital and need paying well. One audience member suggests that you can disrupt the system and still pay well.

 

 

Final words of advise
“I never thought ten years ago I’d do online video and Tweet. Just keep adapting, leaning and stay on top of the trends. We’re all so busy but I always try to read, learn and talk to people.” – Sanchanta

 

“Use the 4C DNA: Collaboration, co-creation, controlling, connecting. If you don’t see those four things, it needs disrupting.” – Reynolds

 

“Our inputs are very Googlised – we need to supplement that. Sip from the fire hydrant every day – eventually you’ll have a disruptive thought.” – Ooi

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m looking forward to being a guest on the panel at the WMN CASBAA Lunch on 1st November. The topic is Disruptors – Women Who Re-Invent the Game.

 

Disruption is a topic close to my heart. I believe we are living in the most exciting of times. Industries are being disrupted on a daily basis. For the first time in human history, the power is no longer with the few, it is with the masses. Through grassroots innovation, individuals literally have the power to upheave organizations, products, industries – even countries. We have entered a social and business revolution. It truly isn’t business as usual. Understanding and mastering ‘disruption’ in the 21st century is one of the most important skills needed to thrive. Cultivating a ‘disruptive’ mindset is just as crucial for individuals as it is for organisations.

Economically, technologically, demographically, sociologically – change is now the status quo. KPMG recently predicted that at its current pace, the world will progress 20,000 years in the next 100 – or 2000 years in the next decade. Wow.

Almost everything we do in the 21st Century is up for review. Everything that you or your competition can think of is being re-designed, re-thought, re-engineered. But here’s the more interesting thought. Everything will ‘always’ be up for review, all the time, permanently, forever and in real-time.

Disruption breeds innovation. In the past decade alone we have experienced some of the greatest disruptive innovations. Think iTunes, Amazon, Square, MPESA…the list goes on. These innovations didn’t come from within industry.

What does the next few years hold?

Will your industry be disrupted?

Will your job even exist in 2015?

Take a moment to really stop and think about that. Will your job exist in 2015? Is your product, service, industry or company the next target for disruptive innovation? Or are you at the forefront pioneering the next disruptive innovation?

Think about wow you can cultivate a ‘disruptive’ mindset. Here are my top tips – and of course I’ll share more on the panel.

 

  1. Challenge everything. Everything. Ask ‘why’ a lot. ‘Why do we do it this way?’ ‘Why should my job even exist?’ ‘When was the last time we re-thought this?’Be fearless. If you are disabled by fear, you won’t question everything and you’ll get left behind.
  2. Be curious. Never ever stop learning, reading, asking questions, meeting new people, travelling and immersing yourself in new cultures and surroundings.
  3. Think like a designer. In every area of your life, think about how things could be better designed. Whether a physical product or an experience, think how it could be designed better, to improve the user-experience. Practice this until it becomes a habit.

 

 

Here’s a challenge for you. Before we meet at the event on November 1st, think about what you do every day and ask yourself five ‘whys’.

Until the panel, take care and keep questioning everything.

 

Learn more here.

 


About the author:
Emma Reynolds is the Co-founder & CEO of e3 Reloaded. Emma has lived and worked in Australia, Peru, United Kingdom and Hong Kong. Aged 23, she started her first consulting business; at 25 a research business and at 27 moved to Hong Kong to build her third business, e3 Reloaded.

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In preparation for our upcoming CASBAA event about Disruption, here’s another interesting way of looking at society and life… and disrupting it and re-inventing the game.

This presentation is an original TEDex production, presented by artist Kelli Anderson. In fact, she describes herself as a ‘tinkerer’ as much as anything else, and this video will definitely show you why.

Kelli believes that the world is full of order that doesn’t necessarily deserve our respect. See what she has to say – and show.

 

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