The WSIE Boston Conference

Presentations on “Innovation Diplomacy”, “Smart Cultures” and “Women of Science” by Professor Salim T S Al-Hassani, President of the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilization (FSTC).

In late September 2012, Professor Salim Al-Hassani, President of FSTC, participated in The World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship WSIE 2012 in Boston. The WSIE 2012 brought together the world’s most riveting people to plot the new frontiers of the smarter innovation economy. The forum provides a meaningful setting that engages the world’s most amazing people to transform our economies, societies, and the environment.

Professor Al-Hassani contributed to and gave several speeches on different panels, relevant to various themes such as Innovation Diplomacy, Smart Cities of 2022, Smart Cultures, Applied Science and Applied Women, and finally Women of Science in Muslim Heritage. We present below the related texts and abstracts of the contributions made by Professor Salim to this important forum.

Contents

  1. Overview
  2. The Innovation Diplomacy Panel
  3. Challenge: Speech by Prof. Salim Al-Hassani
  4. Panel on Smart Cities of 2022
  5. Presentation by Prof. Salim Al-Hassani on Smart Cultures
  6. Panel on Applied Science, Applied Women
  7. Comments by Prof. Salim Al-Hassani on “Women of Science in Muslim Heritage”
  8. Election of Prof. Salim Al-Hassani as one of the E100.

Professor Salim T S Al-Hassani, President of The Foundation for Science Technology and Civilization (FSTC), invited to participate in WSIE
For the full web photo album please visit theWSIE Facebook

1. Overview

Professor Salim T S Al-Hassani, President of The Foundation for Science Technology and Civilization (FSTC), was invited to participate in WSIE.

The WSIE 2012 brought together in September 26-28, 2012 the world’s most riveting people to plot the new frontiers of the smarter innovation economy. The WSIE is by-invitation only. It provides a meaningful setting that engages the world’s most amazing people to transform our economies, societies, and the environment.

There were 600+ innovators, 168 speakers from 50 nations. Collectively, they explored some of the world’s most positive innovations. They seeded new partnerships to alter the way they learn and live… create and innovate… invest and lead. They shared the inside stories of what makes their communities and their businesses the home to smarter innovations to transform our future.

2. Innovation Diplomacy Panel

Professor Salim Al-Hassani was invited to be a challenger at the “Innovation Diplomacy Panel”.

2.1 An Overview of the panel session:

Diplomacy and war are as old as civilization. While innovation in warfare fills tomes and museums, diplomacy has not been known for innovative use of new ideas, smarter technologies and open models for collaboration. Now, sustainable designs, citizen-centric solutions and open connection technologies such as social media software, text messaging, mobile and GIS offer the possibility to change how diplomats think, learn, work and collaborate to improve policy outcomes.

  1. This session brings together a dynamic line-up of futurists, diplomats, technologists and skeptics to tease out the possibilities and pitfalls on the road to Innovation Diplomacy.
  2. Will future forms of citizens’ engagement disrupt or complement the future of diplomacy?
  3. How can technology help policy makers understand real-time social data to inform policy and interventions?
  4. What are the most innovative organizational models reinventing the notion of citizenship and power?
  5. How are connection technologies shaping the delivery of government services and communications?
  6. How can new relationships among the diplomatic, academic and entrepreneurial community lead to “smarter innovations” that ensures a healthy, secure future for us all?

2.2 Moderator

  • Jed Willard, Director, The Public Diplomacy Collaborative, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

2.3 Discussion Leaders

  • On Smarter Diplomacy Jamil Mahuad, Former President of Ecuador; Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
  • On Smarter Organizations Richard Boly, Director, Office of eDiplomacy, U.S. Department of State
  • On Smarter Communications Voytek K. Siewierski, Partner, Rogers Venture Partners
  • On Smarter Leaderless Revolutions Carne Ross, Executive Director, Independent Diplomat
  • On Smarter Open Government David Eaves, Open Innovation Expert
  • On Smarter Sciences for Diplomacy Lars Aukrust, Science Counselor, The Royal Norwegian Embassy, USA

2.4 Challenged By

Salim Al-Hassani, President, Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilization

Professor Salim T S Al-Hassani, President of The Foundation for Science Technology and Civilization (FSTC), invited to participate in WSIEFor the full web photo album please visit theWSIE Facebook

3. Summary of Prof. Salim Al-Hassani’s Challenge

A Challenge to the Panelists (Innovation Diplomacy)

by Prof. Salim Al-Hassani, President of Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilization, UK (FSTC)

“Good morning everyone

I wanted to set the foundation for a view – a perspective or even a provocation, if you will – that I really want to bring to this discourse.

Listening to the presentations and looking at the Summit program, there seems to  much energy focused on how innovations will shift and shape the future and trying to understand how those processes and the processes of diffusion happen. It seems to be all about how to use innovations to shape things, at least partly for our own benefit, in the future.

Essential though these understandings are, I want us to look perhaps a little above these premises at what is, I believe, the most important common cause of all – the future.

It is our legacy to all of our children and theirs too, wherever they are in the world, whatever race, color, culture, religion, sex or age they are. I am interested in how innovation and entrepreneurs will help to develop tools to help us all unite to work together towards this common cause.

Every day we hear warnings about how difficult the future will be for all of us in one way, shape or form. We must start to find ways of working together that are not the same as the ways that have created the situations we see every night on the news. Einstein said that you cannot solve a problem using the thinking that created it.

This is where I want to see real innovation – in how we perceive, how we think, how we relate, how we grow, how we communicate, how we change, how we learn. Together. All of these things must be done together. Let me just say that list again. How we perceive, think, relate, grow, communicate, change and learn. Together.

These are seven things that I do not see in many curricula, anywhere in the world and yet they are the basic things we need to be really good at, if we are to work together towards that ultimate common cause of a better shared future – for all.

I feel these ideas resonate with you all. But the questions hanging in the air right now are all about how will we do this, where do we start, how do we overcome the barriers of culture, religion, politics and history.

These are big issues but they are precisely the reasons why my Foundation was formed some twelve short years ago.

I would like to give you a premise, which I hope will be helpful.

As human beings each of us work in the present moment to try our very best to build the best future we can for our dependents and ourselves. Yes? That seems to be what connects us all together that is what we do. When each of us look at a particular situation, in the present, we will all see different issues, different causes, different problems to overcome, different solutions, different resources we can apply, different blockages, different ways through. Because we are all different – this is a reflection of our identity, which is unique for each of us. So we try to build the future, in the present, through – and using – our identity.

So, where does our identity come from? Well, it starts with where and when we were born. From that moment, and even before, our identity is shaped by the culture which surrounds us, our family and friends, our education, the media we are subjected to, the religion we are introduced to and so on. These things form our identity. We can choose to change some of these things as we mature – we can’t change where and when we were born or those early influences though. And so when we work in the present to build that better future we all seek, we do so through our identity. Which is formed in the past.

It is through the eyes of the past that we look at the present and towards the future. We all have different pasts, some of which are in conflict, but those pasts cannot be changed, they are fixed and immovable. I want to start my role as challenger by challenging that very statement – that the past is fixed and immovable. I contend that it is not.

The reason FSTC – the Foundation of which I am President – was formed, was to address what we refer to as 1000 years of amnesia. Here in the west – certainly in the UK and Europe – we are taught that, before the Middle Ages the Greeks and Romans (and maybe some Chinese and maybe some Indians) did all of the thinking and making. And then during the Middle Ages not much was going on and, suddenly, almost out of nowhere, the renaissance happened and within a magical 50 years or so many inventions and discoveries were made that have produced our modern world. And then there is a continuous history until today. This is simply untrue.

During those Middle Ages whilst not much was happening in Europe, important discoveries were being made, the knowledge passed on by the Greeks and Romans was being built upon and all of this was done in a civilization that stretched from Spain to China and included more or less all religions, all cultures. So many of the basics of our modern world were given to us by the civilization that focused all of this knowledge, invention, discovery, literature, poetry, medicine, and entertainment. And yet we are not taught this.

So we think of us in the West as the source of all of our culture. A little while ago, we worked with the Royal Society in London to look through their archives to see if there were links to the Giants upon whose shoulders Sir Isaac Newton stood to help him see further. You find what you are looking for, it is said.

And so it was – there in the oldest scientific institution in the world we found the links back to some of the scholars, writing in Arabic, whose knowledge was passed on.

This might all seem unimportant. But if you look at what we have found, with an open mind, we suggest that you will see a past that is not what you thought it was, that did not include so much culture from, for instance, the Muslim civilization, or the Chinese, or the Indian and so on – all of whom have contributed to our modern world. And then, to get back to my short argument, you find that we share part of our pasts with people a lot of us think of as ‘not us’. And so we find that at least part of our identity is shared with those who we might think of as threatening or adversaries.

But, if we all have a partly shared past then we have a partly shared identity. Our identity becomes enriched and so, when we look at the problems of the present, we can do so through a different identity, one that is enriched with a shared past and so we can work more effectively in the present to build that so important shared future.

So, here is the crux of this premise. If we are to work together in the present towards a better shared future we should start by looking at our shared past. If we do not do this, we will continue to talk with each other from adversarial entrenched positions. We have to move to a space above and beyond our differences – for that is what is needed for our future.

The most common shared space of all is that of Science. If we focus on religion we will clash, if we focus on politics we will clash and look for domination. But if we focus on science, we can work together as scientists always have. This is why no less a person than Condoleezza Rice called our focus on science a ‘new space for dialogue’. And indeed it is.

Now, if we can accept the above argument, the next questions are still about how to work together. We have some thoughts about this too. Any tools for dialogue and working together must be systemic – they must have at the core the notion that everything is linked with everything else in some way.

In the UK, we keep hearing the expression ‘systemic failure’ more and more when something fails in the public or private sector. Tools must also be inclusive, not exclusive – they must include, or allow the inclusion of all people, not just an elite of some kind.

They must deal with the complexity of the present and the increasing complexity of the future. They must be recursive in the nature – this is a tricky one. By this I mean that they must be capable of dealing with issues on a local or global scale and all points in between. And they must be usable by ordinary people as well as highly skilled negotiators, facilitators and such like.

This combination all sounds unachievable, but I do not believe this. There are tools out there now that have all of these characteristics and are available. They are real innovations in how to work together in the present to build a better-shared future.

There is not enough time for me to go into them in this short talk – which is already close to being too long, but I will very briefly share a couple of them with you.

The first is our own Be The Future! Program, developed by Ian Kendrick.

This was designed to enable us to show how people can use our content about that 1000 years of amnesia to work together, regardless of their background – age, experience, education, culture, and religion. It addresses those seven issues of how to perceive, think, relate, communicate, learn, change and grow. It can be used by anyone, in almost any context. It works for an individual, a team, an organization and so on. It contains many powerful tools within it. Its starting point is that we all see the world through our own mental model, which has been built by us over the years and through which we see all of the issues before us, and using which we make and implement our decisions.

BtF shows people that, however perfect they may think it is, their model is flawed, incomplete, out of date and inaccurate. For almost everyone this is a shock to their system. Once that is done we then show how to improve their mental models by re-perceiving their world. We show that from this they can choose what attitude they should have.

The key word here is ‘choose’. Many of us do not think of attitude as a choice but Victor Frankl with his experiences in the concentration camps showed us so vividly and undeniably that, in his words, it is perhaps the one freedom that cannot be taken away – the freedom to choose one’s own attitude. Once this is done BtF shows how to communicate in different ways that will engage fully. And then how to organize. Again in highly innovative ways, Ah – back to innovation again.

The key innovation here is how to help people re-perceive so that they can break through the barriers that separate them and meet in that space above and beyond difference with a positive and open attitude.

BtF is a vital part of our educational initiative.

The second tool I want to share with you is the World Model and the World Game (WG). (These were invented by our good friend Anthony Hodgson, one of the world’s most experienced systems thinkers and an advisory board member, of our Foundation. He was described by Peter Senge (Sen-ggee), author of The Fifth Discipline, as ‘The Master Facilitator when he helped with the formation of the Society for Organizational Learning.

The World Model is something which needs much more time than I have here to describe it, but it consists of looking at a set of 12 interlinked dependencies that we all have to balance and work with when we try to make our villages, towns, cities, countries work and be in harmony with their environments. That is just one application of this very powerful model.

The reason it is also usable a ‘game’ is that it has been designed as such so that anyone can use it without much prior training and to break down the barriers when we interact. It shows not just those 12 dependencies, but how they are linked together and affect each other.

The World Model/Game has been used around the globe, including Athens, Herat, Edinburgh and many others. It has also been used in, for example, an extensive study on the affect of climate change in many countries on the UK – i.e. the interlinked dependencies of climate change in one country on others. We are currently planning a World Game from Manchester – our home, office and the location for the Industrial Revolution and the home of computing.

So, it is time for me to conclude. My challenge to this conference and indeed to myself, is to ask how can we renew our approach to working together in the present moment to build a better shared future. If we apply our knowledge of innovation and entrepreneurialism to that most important of common causes, we can all build the best legacy we can.

Thank you for your time.”

Prof. Salim Al-Hassani also participated in the Smart Cities Panel by giving a presentation on Smart Cultures.

4. Smart cities. What will it look like in 2022?

4.1 Overview

While today’s economic crisis is devastating for many cities, it is creating tomorrow’s opportunities for the world’s Future Capitals: the innovation cities and places that are generators of the next business boom. This session invites you to envision the world’s next great innovation cities and the qualities and values they share, (a) Where talented people want to live, learn, innovate and raise families, and (b) Where businesses can strive and thrive.

4.2 Welcome Remarks

  • On Entrepreneurship and Diversification Abdullah Al Darmaki, CEO, Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development

4.3 Moderator

  • Bryan Davis, Founder and President, The Kaieteur Institute

4.4 Discussion Leaders

  • On Venture Capital and the City Hugo Van Vuuren, Partner, The Experiment Fund
  • On Telepresencing, Mobility and Freedom Tom Ryden, Chief Operations Officer and Co-Founder, VGO
  • On Health and the City Gordon McCauley, CEO, Allon Therapeutics
  • On Cross Cultural Communications Jani Penttinen, CEO and Founder, Transfluent
  • On Learning That Matters Lizbeth Goodman, Founder and Director, SMARTlab UCD and Innovation Academy Executive
  • On Smart Cultures, Tolerant Cities Salim Al-Hassani, President, Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilization
  • On Living Labs, Livable Cities Jarmo Elukka Eskelinen, CEO, Forum Viruim Helsinki

5. Contribution by Prof. Salim Al-Hassani

The contribution was in the form of a  PPT presentation on “ Smart Cultures: Identity and Tenable History”

Due to increased population, future cities will have to cope with compactness. Most cities will be located near water resources. High rise buildings as we see today, house numerous number of people. Yet people hardly talk to their neighbors.  Each person although located in a particular geographical zone, has a cyber community that he/she identifies with. Hence the issue of identity becomes a serious issue. Individuals will always appreciate being distinguished and respected. Which culture and which zone will define a person’s nationality or culture or identity? There will be an increasing need for individuals to exhibit their roots and aspire to present their identity through positive contributions he/she made or more important his/her ancestors made to modern civilization.

Unfortunately the present educational system has a 1000 years amnesia as shown by the slide. This amnesia neglects the contribution of non-European cultures to science and technology. It engenders superiority complex amongst Europeans and Americans but at the same time it produces inferiority complex in the other neglected cultures.

Professor Salim T S Al-Hassani, President of The Foundation for Science Technology and Civilization (FSTC), invited to participate in WSIE
www.MuslimHeritage.com

It is essential that this gap is filled so that future generations can refer to their ancestors with positivity and thus create a connection between people within the space of the cultural roots of science.

Professor Salim T S Al-Hassani, President of The Foundation for Science Technology and Civilization (FSTC), invited to participate in WSIE
www.MuslimHeritage.com

Our Foundation for Science, Technology and civilization has been doing that through exhibitions, publications, conferences and workshops. The most recent edition of the 1001inventions book is published by National Geographic.

Professor Salim T S Al-Hassani, President of The Foundation for Science Technology and Civilization (FSTC), invited to participate in WSIE
1001 Inventions Books

National Geographic have also just published a Kid’s version.

Professor Salim T S Al-Hassani, President of The Foundation for Science Technology and Civilization (FSTC), invited to participate in WSIE
1001 Inventions Educational Materials

This combination all sounds unachievable, but I do not believe this. There are tools out there now that have all of these characteristics and are available. They are real innovations in how to work together in the present to build a better-shared future.

There is not enough time for me to go into them in this short talk – which is already close to being too long, but I will very briefly share a couple of them with you.

The first tool is “Be The Future! (BtF!)” Program, developed by Ian Kendrick.

This was designed to enable us to show how people can use our content about that 1000 years of amnesia to work together, regardless of their background – age, experience, education, culture, and religion. It addresses those seven issues of how to perceive, think, relate, communicate, learn, change and grow. It can be used by anyone, in almost any context. It works for an individual, a team, an organization and so on. It contains many powerful tools within it. Its starting point is that we all see the world through our own mental model, which has been built by us over the years and through which we see all of the issues before us, and using which we make and implement our decisions.

Professor Salim T S Al-Hassani, President of The Foundation for Science Technology and Civilization (FSTC), invited to participate in WSIEwww.CE4tF.org

BtF shows people that, however perfect they may think it is, their model is flawed, incomplete, out of date and inaccurate. For almost everyone this is a shock to their system. Once that is done we then show how to improve their mental models by re-perceiving their world. We show that from this they can choose what attitude they should have.

The key word here is ‘choose’. Many of us do not think of attitude as a choice but Victor Frankl with his experiences in the concentration camps showed us so vividly and undeniably that, in his words, it is perhaps the one freedom that cannot be taken away – the freedom to choose one’s own attitude. Once this is done BtF shows how to communicate in different ways that will engage fully. And then how to organize. Again in highly innovative ways, Ah – back to innovation again.

Professor Salim T S Al-Hassani, President of The Foundation for Science Technology and Civilization (FSTC), invited to participate in WSIEwww.CE4tF.org

The key innovation here is how to help people re-perceive so that they can break through the barriers that separate them and meet in that space above and beyond difference with a positive and open attitude.

BtF is a vital part of our educational initiative.

The second tool I want to share with you is the World Model and the World Game. (These were invented by Anthony Hodgson, one of the world’s most experienced systems thinkers and an advisory board member, of our Foundation. He was described by Peter Senge (Sen-ggee), author of The Fifth Discipline, as ‘The Master Facilitator when he helped with the formation of the Society for Organizational Learning.

Professor Salim T S Al-Hassani, President of The Foundation for Science Technology and Civilization (FSTC), invited to participate in WSIEwww.CE4tF.org

The World Model is something which needs much more time than I have here to describe it, but it consists of looking at a set of 12 interlinked dependencies that we all have to balance and work with when we try to make our villages, towns, cities, countries work and be in harmony with their environments. That is just one application of this very powerful model.

The reason it is also usable a ‘game’ is that it has been designed as such so that anyone can use it without much prior training and to break down the barriers when we interact. It shows not just those 12 dependencies, but how they are linked together and affect each other.

The World Model/Game has been used around the globe, including Athens, Herat, Edinburgh and many others. It has also been used in, for example, an extensive study on the affect of climate change in many countries on the UK – i.e. the interlinked dependencies of climate change in one country on others. We are currently planning a World Game from Manchester – our home, office and the location for the Industrial Revolution and the home of computing.

To summarise my premise …

“How can we renew our approach to working together in the present moment to build a better shared future for all? How do we ensure that we do this in a way that is inclusive, systemic, deals with complexity at any level and can be used by ordinary people?

I firmly believe that if we apply our knowledge of innovation and entrepreneurialism to that most important of common causes – the future – we can together build the best legacy possible for ourselves and those who come after us.

One way our Foundation is adopting is to integrate innovations in all of the areas of the WG and see how they re-enforce or cancel each other and to explore unintended consequences and emergent properties…

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to present some of the innovations that our Foundation is making and contributing to “Smart Cultures”.

6. Panel on APPLIED SCIENCES, APPLIED WOMEN

6.1 Overview

Today’s cities and enterprises have not been fair to “Applied Women.” Winning organizations require effective leadership that will not only absorb the existing supply of capacities of Applied Women in pursuit of innovation, but also learn how to contribute and create a new pipeline of women engineers, technologists and executives to disrupt existing business models.

This session portrayed a full picture of the gap in demand versus supply of Applied Women. The cast will examine new and smarter solutions that can close such gap to achieve superior growth and innovation performance.

6.2 Moderator

  • Jane Griffin, Executive Advisor, Deloitte Analytics Canada and Americas Leader

6.3 Discussion Leader

  • On Women In Defense Lynne M Schneider, Global Business Services Strategist, IBM
  • On Women Leading Health Education Piya Sorcar, Founder and CEO, TeachAIDS
  • On Women and Financial Leadership Gloria Cordes Larson, President, Bentley University
  • On Women Scientists Changing the World Marta Gonzalez, Scientist, MIT Media Lab
  • On Women In Investment Banking Chele Chiavacci, President and Managing Director, Mistral Capital International

7. Comments by Prof. Salim Al-Hassani on “Women of Science in Muslim Heritage”

During the discussion, Professor Al-Hassani added a short contribution on how different was the case with Muslim Women social development from that of the women in the West.  Women in the West had to extract their right from men through struggle, lobbying and women liberation movements. Over the past 200 years he status of women was raised from almost nothing to what is at present and they are still in their struggle to obtain equal status in many parts of society. The time line graph of their development is continuously rising.

Professor Salim T S Al-Hassani, President of The Foundation for Science Technology and Civilization (FSTC), invited to participate in WSIEwww.MuslimHeritage.com

However, the situation almost the reverse in the development of Muslim women. Their status rose rapidly with the advent of Islam treating them with equal rights and they reached high office posts in government and social status. For example, Omar the second Caliph appointed a woman for the post of Health and Safety Executive (Minister with independent Judicial powers) over the capital city of Medina. Women became religious scholars and delved in teaching, research, medicine, management and trade. We see the first university in history built and project managed by a 23year old Fatima al-Fihri in Fez year 859 CE, Morocco. We see Al-Ijliya form Aleppo becoming an established engineer designing and constructing Astrolabes (Astronomical mechanical computers) and we see Sutayta Al-Mahamli, a great mathematician becoming an expert witness in courts using Algebra and Trigonometry to work out disputed shares in unfinished buildings, dissolved partnerships and in inheritance.

They continued to have active role in society for a few hundred years. Their decline coincided with the ransack of Baghdad, then capital of the Abbasids, by the Mongols from East Asia and the 100 years invasion of the Crusaders from Europe.

Their decline continued till recent years when we notice signs of improvements. Hence the timeline of the social development of Muslim women is almost the opposite mirror image of that of women in the West. Women in the Middle East and the Muslim world do not need to  take example from Western women, the only need to refer to examples from their own tradition.

8. Election of Prof. Al-Hassani as one of the E100

Prof. Salim Al-Hassani was selected by Entovation International, Global Knowledge Leadership Group as one of their E10.0

Professor Salim T S Al-Hassani, President of The Foundation for Science Technology and Civilization (FSTC), invited to participate in WSIE

Organizer: Entovation.com

Date: September 2012

Name: Salim T. S. Al-Hassani

Affilate: Emeritus Professor University of Manchester, UK, President. Foundation for Science, Technology & Civilisation (FSTC)

Country: Manchester, UNITED KINGDOM

  • “Innovating how we see the past leads us to a more open attitude in the present, through which we co-create a better future for all”… ‘Be the Future’ (BtF)
  • “Most STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) only refer to European and Western scientists and inventors. Consequently, there is a gap of 1000 years [gap represented the science and invention of the Indian, Chinese and Muslim cultures during 700-1700 CE], usually embracing the Dark Ages, Medieval and Middle ages. By looking at history through the lens of science, as against the lens of politics or religion, we see inter-cultural respect and appreciation.’”
  • “To-date, we have a successful small, non-profit company, with subsidiaries including, Curriculum Enrichment initiative, a block buster touring exhibition, award winning film, a fast selling book, huge presence in internet space and social media.”
  • “We could do with a society that embraces social cohesion and inter-cultural respect through balanced and tenable knowledge which engenders positive attitudes to enable people of diverse backgrounds co-create a shared peaceful future.”