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My experience at the Link Festival: a conference about design, technology and social change.

Last week, a third year undergraduate Commerce student, Blair Gao, had the opportunity to attend the Link Festival, a one day Sydney conference and event for people who are passionate about design, technology and social change.

Like many students, despite completing a B Commerce degree, Blair was curious and passionate about design and how design can be applied in order to change society. So she jumped at the opportunity to follow her curiosity and passion and undertake an activity for GLP points – realising afterwards that the content was also equally important for her own future and career …..

Link Festival was inspiring and educational. For me personally, some of the highlights were hearing from;

Dr Jordan Nguyen, a biomedical engineer who spoke of his ideas around emergent trends and divergent technologies, told his story of creating robots to assist people with high-level disability and shared his incredible thoughts on the future of human race.

Sally Ann Williams, from Google who analysed how technological development has changed careers in our society, and how computer science will continue to influence the job landscape in the future with the high demand for professionals with computer science skills. She explained her corresponding concerns that despite this, statistics suggest that the enrolment numbers at Australian Universities for corresponding STEM degrees (science, technology, engineering, math) are still worryingly low for women.

Felicity Furey, who discussed with us the lack of diversity in the engineering profession and how that impacts its community. She passionately encouraged young women to participate more in STEM careers.

Kyra Maya Phillips explained her Misfit Economy theory which explores what we can learn from pirates, thieves and people smugglers with regards to their innovative approaches to their respective “businesses”.

Justin Jonesy talked about how he and his friend Cas paddled across Tasman Sea using a Kayak and how they conquered a hiking trip to the South Pole for first time in human history!

There were many other speakers as well who discussed various topics in design, technology and social change. As a finance student, I’m quite unfamiliar with these topics but I found it really interesting and inspiring to be immersed in a different (but still very relevant) world for a day.

But the Link festival was just a beginning for me. The world is changing dramatically and there is so much change taking place and so much to explore. There’s no doubt that the future world will be built based on computer science, and will affect all of us – no matter what we study or what our profession is. And I recognise that to become a future leader, I need to do much more than just seek inspiration. I need to experience, to meet and network, to explore and understand, and to keep up with the pace of technological development, so that I can be informed and aware and see where I can make and impact to contribute to changing the world. And that’s what I took away from this experience, and what I bring back to my Global Leadership Program.

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