$$News and Reports$$

May. 28, 2015

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TEDxBGU: Breaking Barriers took place at BGU earlier this month. The event was led by the Bengis Center for Entrepreneurship and Hi-Tech Management of the Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business & Management. TEDxBGU, a nonprofit event, was voluntarily organized by BGU students under the guidelines of the global TED organization. The event followed the mission of supporting world-changing ideas by bringing people together to share a TED-like experience. More specifically, TEDxBGU is an essential factor of the Bengis Center’s plan to expose the global world to Israel’s barrier-breaking & innovative culture, using online platforms. This is in line with the Center’s activities, that the Israeli experience in innovation can be duplicated and shared with other countries.

Participants arrived for half a day of inspirational talks revolving around this year’s theme of “Breaking Barriers”, shedding light on innovative people, including leaders of the hi-tech field, scientists, students and others. These figures showed that it is possible to break barriers and succeed in their missions against all odds. They exemplified the national entrepreneurial spirit, proving that Israel can use its scarce resources to break global barriers.

TEDxBGU began with opening words from Prof. Dafna Schwartz, Chairperson of the Bengis Center for Entrepreneurship & Hi-Tech Management. Later, Mr. Arnie Bengis greeted the audience as well, addressing the unique innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of Israeli society and culture.

Eight speakers took the TEDxBGU stage, including leaders of Israel’s Hi-Tech industry, giving short talks under 18 minutes in length. Dov Moran, inventor of the DiscOnKey expanded on this in his talk “The Innovation of Anything”, showing participants that innovation is all around us and talked about success and failure. MK Erel Margalit, founder of JVP, shed light on this topic as well, focusing particularly on Israel’s critical role in promoting innovation with a start-up revolution. His talk discussed the importance of shifting from a start-up nation to a start-up region by empowering the assets of different regions, leading to the advancement of the country as a whole.

Two speakers focused on innovation as an essential requirement for organizations to succees. Yoav Abrahami, Chief Architect at Wix.com, brought forward a new model for organizational innovation, initially implemented by Wix.com. He expanded on a model for distribution of responsibility among employees, recommending its enforcement by organizations. Approaching the subject in a different angle was Jonathan Simon, an eighteen-year-old programmer who touched on the underestimated value of small technical security flaws in large companies – which may easily get noticed by younger minds.

BGU Professors also took part in the event …spoke at TEDxBGU as well. Dr. Ya’akov Gal, from the Department of Information Systems Engineering, approached “Breaking Barriers” in terms of today’s available platforms for education, taking the audience through possibilities of the much-needed technological revolution in the field. Prof. Shaul Shalvi, from the Department of Psychology, spoke of breaking psychological barriers, discussing the implications of ethical bullying and ways of overcoming the issue.

Ms. Kay Wilson, a British-born tour guide, presented a shocking talk, describing her traumatic past. Kay delicately and beautifully described what she has had to overcome in order to move forward with her life after surviving a brutal Machete attack in December of 2010. The final speaker of the evening was a BGU student, Roxanne Pomerantz, who had won a BGU student competition to speak at the event (Click here to view the top contestants’ talks).  Roxanne enlightened participants on the impact of language in shaping our minds and behaviors. She connected language barriers to barriers of society, claiming we can reduce these by learning multiple languages as children. Entertaining the audience throughout the evening was comedic actor Dan Pundak, who performed as the TEDxBGU host.

Altogether, TEDxBGU “Breaking Barriers” was a successful event, with very high audience engagement. After hearing from numerous inspirational speakers throughout the evening, audience members gained knowledge and insight on various “Breaking Barrier” topics. The TEDx talks will be presented on the official TEDx YouTube Channel, globally promoting Israel’s culture of innovation.

For more information and picture gallery

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