The Mauritius Research Council (MRC) organized a full-day seminar on Innovation and Technopreneurship to commemorate the International Day for Creativity and Innovation. I received an email on the 13th of April 2016 from the Mauritius Research Council with the invitation and draft programme attached. Shortly afterward the Chairperson of the ICT Advisory Council, Avinash Meetoo, emailed saying that the Mauritius Research Council would like to have us as panelists for a discussion on creativity and innovation among youth. It was decided that three members of the ICT Advisory Council will be among the panelists, Loganaden Velvindron, Avinash Meetoo and I; while Avinash will also chair the panel.
We needed a group presentation and the great thing about email brainstorming is that it did not require us to meet personally to decide what to present and how. I proposed I’d need a 5-mins quick presentation to talk on creativity and maybe we could have something just running in the background. Avinash proposed a few slides with quotes to just run there while we’d present. He prepared the slides. A Great touch, that work was.
How to manage a full-time job with community activities?
If you’d read this page on the website of the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation, you’d notice that on the council I represent the interests of consumers, purchasers and users of ICT services. Being a council member isn’t a full-time job neither a paid one. It’s more a voluntary activity that you accept for the sake of sharing ideas that could shape the ICT landscape of the country. I deliberately say “could” and not “would”. More on the “functions” of the ICT Advisory Council can be found under Section 35 of the ICT Act 2001. Attending the meetings of the council and related activities/events requires time. How to manage? Support from one’s employer helps a lot and I thank La Sentinelle Digital for granting me permission to attend to such activities; be it government or community related.
The seminar happened at the Mauritius Sugarcane Industry Research Institute (MSIRI), Réduit. I could only reach there by 13h00 since I had some work-related activity in the morning. When I arrived at the MSIRI, Mr Moonegan from Ceridian Mauritius was presenting “innovation in the ICT sector”. The presentation was reaching its end. Right after that there was the lunch break; but I already had lunch, so I only looked for a bottle of water and met a few people around. I met Jay, an old acquaintance from the education & professional training sector; maybe we were meeting after years. We had a nice chat. Then I saw Elizabeth from Turbine Mauritius and we had an interesting chat on entrepreneurship and the local culture. As we were still exchanging ideas, Jessica joined the chat. That was great, I was meeting a lot of cool people after quite some time. Arnaud Meslier, another cool fellow from Microsoft Indian Ocean & Microsoft Student Partners was there and we talked about the recent Global Azure Bootcamp. I also met Vincent and Louis from ICT.io. In short, networking was fun. :D
Then just as we would resume the workshop, Avinash and I discussed a bit about how we’d proceed with the panel discussion. Yes, we were next.
Avinash projected the slides, we had no more than four, and started the discussion about having fun in what we do; while sharing a quote by Einstein that says “creativity is intelligence having fun”. He turned to me and asked how do I have fun while working? My answer could not be brief. Being a Linux System Administrator, it often comes to me that I have to explain to people the nature of the work. I replied I started having fun with Linux more than 10 years ago without ever thinking it could have anything to do with my career. Then I find myself landing on a Linux career path and I am still having fun as I did years ago.
Avinash was a good sport as he hosted the talk and triggered discussions in the right direction while we moved through the next three slides with quotes by Steve Jobs, Linus Torvalds and Sheryl Sandberg. I also got to speak about the Linux User Group of Mauritius.
Having an appointment at 16h00, I left the workshop after the panel discussion. It was fun to be there and great to network with fellows.
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