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CREATIVE IDEAS FROM INK CONFERENCE

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January 2011
CREATIVE IDEAS FROM INK CONFERENCE Lakshmi Pratury chatted with filmmaker James Cameron about his interest in science, the environment and Indian mythology. Educator Anand Kumar spoke about his novel Super 30 project in Bihar. Journalist Anand Giridharadas and science writer Anil Ananthaswamy, who both came out with books recently, shared their insights and stories. Mansukhbhai Prajapati talked about his ingenious contraptions, including an affordable fridge that doesn’t need electricity.

Where did all these speakers gather? At India’s first INK (Innovation & Knowledge) conference, held last month in the planned hill station of Lavasa in Maharashtra. Like TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), which is a partner, INK is a nonprofit organization that promotes the spread of good ideas. Spearheaded by Pratury, INK can be seen as an idea lab that fosters stimulating conversations, networking and creative solutions. Other participants included, among others, Deepak Chopra, cartoonist Matt Groening (of The Simpsons fame), anti-trafficking activist Sunitha Krishnan, Wired magazine founder Kevin Kelly, and actress Deepti Naval.

There was also entertainment from the likes of the Raghu Dixit Project, a band which fuses Indian classical sounds with Western pop rhythms, and musicians Shantanu Moitra and Swanand Kirkire. Pratury hopes to make this three-day talk fest an annual event in India.

Speaking of ideas, Foreign Policy magazine has released its list of top 100 Global Thinkers of 2010. Agree or disagree, their picks are bound to be intriguing. The list has nine Indians, including Shiv Shankar Menon (18), India’s national security advisor, and Kishore Mahbubani (92), Singapore’s leading policy wonk. Economists Raghuram Rajan (26) and Sendhil Mullainathan (58), commentator Fareed Zakaria (27), entrepreneur Vinod Khosla (63), and physician Atul Gawande (72) are the five Indian Americans on the list. That leaves two other Indians: entrepreneur Nandan Nilekani (43) and sanitation expert Kamal Kar (84).

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