Specially aimed at the School’s entrepreneurial students, on 29th November, EAE Business School organized a TEDx event. Isaac Hernández, the Country Manager for Iberia at Google, James Keppel, an entrepreneur, Sonia Díez Abad, the Director of the Colegio Internacional Torrequebrada, and Javier Sirvient, a Technology Evangelist, were some of the 10 speakers who took to the stage in the auditorium of the Madrid Architects’ Association, as well as two former students of the School, Sara Alvarellos and David Usón, who recounted their experiences as entrepreneurs.
“At Google, we are looking for brilliant minds to tell us what to change”
The afternoon got under way with Isaac Hernández, the Country Manager for Iberia at Google, whose presentation was entitled ‘The Perfect Storm’. In his talk, he explained how the world is changing, particularly highlighting the trend towards mobile devices. Social media, mobility, big data, cloud and artificial intelligence are markets that are triggering the almost compulsory digital transformation of all companies. With over 20 years’ experience in leading companies such as Microsoft and Vodafone, the guest speaker emphasized that this transformation “is not linear, but rather it causes a disruption”. Google, the company that Hernández currently works for, also “embraces the need to transform, with a commitment to innovation from each and every employee”.
Hernández focused part of his presentation on people and technology, both elements that can generate innovation. “Technology takes on a key role in the transformation but, without a doubt, the essential factor is the people: they create the technology that companies need”.
He also discussed their approach to talent management at Google, a company that is well-known for its famous selection and interview processes when there is a vacancy. “We aim to take on brilliant people, not to tell them what needs to be done, but rather so that they can propose the changes that need to be made”. Embracing the concept of “collective talent”, he emphasized the need for collaborative teamwork supported by cloud services. “There are no companies that innovate without making a mistake”, explained the first of the guest speakers, advising the attendees to learn fast and cheaply from their errors.
“I would like the next digital revolution to be led by diverse teams”
The students on the Master in Project Management at EAE Business School, Sara Alvarellos, was the second guest speaker at the TEDxEAEBusinessSchool event. She combines her academic pursuits with her job as a Business Consultant at Everis. Moreover, Alvarellos describes herself as a self-taught and restless person, and the entrepreneur behind the maker community in Madrid and the Mujeres Tech initiative.
In her presentation, Sara Alvarellos shared some personal, academic and professional experiences in response to the question “Will young people change the world for all society?”. After carrying out various projects at home, the EAE students realized that they needed a place to “materialize ideas”. As a result, with her team, she set up the maker platform in Madrid.
“One day, I reflected on the profile of the people who formed part of this platform and I came to a realization: only two of us were women”. In contrast, Alvarellos emphasized the importance of diversity and leadership when originating ideas. “I would like the next digital revolution to be led by diverse teams”, and this is where the concept of Mujeres Tech came from, an organization with the main objective of changing the situation of women in the technology and digital sector.
Learning on your own initiative by trial and error, sharing your knowledge, ideas and discoveries, and being aware of your limitations were some of the recommendations that the students gave to the audience. “Take all of your ideas and get them up and running, not just to change the world but to leave behind a better society”.
“All dreams fit on to a blank sheet of paper”
Daniel Landa, a journalist, documentary maker and ‘travelling adventurer’, gave an emotive and fun presentation of this experiences and the importance that a blank sheet of paper can have for an entrepreneur. “70% of young Spaniards want to be civil servants or work in a multinational because these situations are comfortable. I am here to speak about the remaining 30%”.
After being made unemployed, Landa took a blank sheer of paper and wrote down what he would like to do: “drive around the world in a car and make my own documentary series”. To make this a reality, he found a team of two people to accompany him on the “adventure of their lifetimes”. After four years working on the project, they achieved it.
However, the journalist went on to explain what happened after the trip and the production of the series. “The distributor robbed us, broadcasting our content in Australia without us knowing. I learned that the market is ruthless”. After this experience, Landa took another blank sheet of paper and once again wrote down his idea of recording a new documentary series around the world. He formed a new team and set off on the adventure. When they came back, the same thing happened again.
“They may take your excitement from you, they may take your work, but they will never take your time”, explained Landa, stating that success and failure do not exist, but rather it is a case of happiness or unhappiness. The time that he and his team worked in both documentary series and the experiences they had on these journeys made it all worthwhile, despite the difficulties to make it a reality and the bad experiences on the market afterwards. “I believe that, when you reach the end of your life, you´ll have to look back and ask yourself, not whether you have been successful or not, but rather whether you have been truly happy”.
“You have to start building your own future to improve the future of all society”
The entrepreneur James Keppel was the first of the two international guest speakers to take part in TEDxEAE. From San Francisco, James describes himself as an “entrepreneur, designer and an experienced orchestrator of complex projects”. He gave an overview of his own case, focusing in creating experiences that awaken all five senses in open public places where people come together. “It has to be memorable, intellectual and emotional”, he added in relation to these experiences. To achieve this, Keppel emphasized the importance of meticulous planning in which you not only know the space you are working in but also what surrounds it (museums, squares, establishments, car parks, etc.).
“An experience-based curriculum rather than an academic one”
Showing the audience a small seed at the start of her presentation, Sonia Díez Abad, the Director of the Colegio Internacional Torrequebrada, explained that it will depend on certain circumstances to grow, such as the amount of water, sun or soil. Drawing a parallel to childhood, in which children are the seeds that schools cultivate, she showed that, despite the differences in the realities that children live, the cultivation is always the same: a teacher, four walls, a limited class time and similar teaching methods.
The Colegio Internacional Torrequebrada, of which she is the Director, decided to develop a more innovate type of education. “We designed an experiential curriculum rather than simply an academic one. Each student’s life record presents the candidate to the employment market with experiences, leadership, team work, volunteering projects, responsibilities, etc. In short, her presentation was based on the principle of lifelong learning.
“Plants have adapted to survive in space”
On the International Space Station (ISS), Javier Medina worked on research into the behaviour of plants in atmospheres and settings other than those that we have here on planet Earth: with no gravity or light. “Life is simply the performance of a series of biological functions put into confrontation with an environment”, explained the expert, reflecting on our behaviour when faced with factors other than those we are used to.
The objective of the research is to understand how plants manage to adapt, in order to learn from them. “It has recently been demonstrated that normal adult plants can be produced on the ISS, which proves that they adapt to survive in space”, concluded the researcher. Faced with an environmental challenge, plants have to be mankind’s travelling companion, “Understanding the adaptation mechanism is now one of the challenges we face”.
An analogy between a marathon and a professional career
“42,195 metres is the distance you have to run to complete a marathon”, explained David Usón, the Director of Marketing at Enappy Group and Nappy.es and former student of the Executive Master in Marketing at EAE Business School. However, as well as being seen as a personal goal, this long-distance race can also be used as an analogy for a professional challenge. A few years ago, Usón embarked in his own professional marathon: setting up his own company.
To achieve this, the former student explained that kilometre 30 is critical, both for marathon runners and entrepreneurs, “Everything I have achieved is what I really wanted to do, that I have prepared for and fought to attain”, emphasizing the importance of preparation.
“Personally, I believe that it impossible to be the boss of our own future because of the number of variables that surround us”, admitted David Usón. However, he underlined the need to try to control these variables, preparing ourselves for the employment market, training in the latest trends and finding a way to stand out from the competition.
“Strive to feel passion for what you do”
Gemma González Andrés, an Executive Coach and CEO at Konnectare, reflected on the idea of a human being as a lone wolf who is only concerned about their own interests. “I like to think of a person being generous and embracing solidarity, wanting to contribute value to society. As such, I believe in a more human world”, she added.
In a world revolutionized by technology, we need the presence of “neuro-leaders” capable of developing their brain’s potential in order to inspire others. To achieve this, González also recommends doing physical exercise first of all, as well as learning how the brain works, in second place. “Taking on the responsibility for building the future that you want, being your own leaders, was his third recommendation. Learning to meditate and tackling life with resilience, a positive approach and neuro-leadership in the digital transformation were the last two pieces of advice that he gave. “Understanding how your brain works will enable you to develop the skills required in the 21st Century, where we need a healthy leader who builds collaborative cultures and where diversity is welcome”.
“The power of sound”
Kristen Lueck, the Director of Strategy at Man Made Music, was the second of the international guest speakers. In her conference, she focused on the emotions created by music. The power of sounds and what they make us feel was the main topic that she covered for the students of EAE Business School.
“Music triggers emotions, even though you don’t speak the same language, even though you don’t know these people”, explained the guest speaker. However, she did not only refer to music and sounds, but also the lack of them: silence. “It all depends on the environment and experience that we want to convey, making use of sound and silence to tell stories”.
“Robots will take the boring, dangerous and dirty jobs off our plates”
Javier Sirvient, who refers to himself as a Technology Evangelist, introduced himself by revealing his passion: telling companies how and when they are going to die. In his presentation entitled ‘YoTubeTrabajo’, he started by reminding us that technology has been giving us work for 100 years but, with digitization, the product has become a service. By way of example, he mentioned the famous and well-researched cases of Kodak, video clubs and encyclopaedia.
“Robots are going to take work off our plates”, or at least that is what they have been saying in recent years. Sirvient agrees, adding that “any boring, dangerous or dirty job will be done by a machine”. He emphasized the importance of “relearning” and striving to get a job that cannot be done by machines, many of which do not even exist yet. “Do whatever you like in the future, but do it with passion,” advised the Technology Evangelist.