Week 3 – New York module

Week 3 – Sustainability and innovation

By the time we arrived to the last week my ability to absorb the huge amount of information was rather limited. Nevertheless, this was one of the most surprising and interesting part. Even though I did not spare energy, time and expenses to discover most of the attractions, the charm of New York could not convince me about a potential future life there. I appreciated the colorful and hugely business oriented capitalism, but to me something was missing – maybe with more personal connections to the city would have changed my feelings.

The variety and diversity of the program was unexpected and the additional presentations by Ilona (real estate) and Bob (war prevention) gave another level of depth to the experience. But I do not want to jump so far ahead…

The first presenter of the week was Andrew P.; I really liked his new phrasing for organizational development – clean fish, clean ocean. By emphasizing the importance of innovation of human capital he brought in a completely new perspective. As far as I can remember none of our classes or presentations during the three weeks was focusing on innovation from our – people’s perspective: we touched innovation through entrepreneurship but innovation is badly needed within any organization and the work starts here and now with us.

Daniel Planko’s introduction to the new disruptive education model was also interesting. I have the feeling that this idea is sort of “back to the basics”. As in the days of the older generations – one learned a profession, started a career within that industry, practiced it, became a professional, sustained a life and supported a family. But today most people are pursuing a career and trying to secure an excellent working place by having multiple but general diplomas. As so many examples show that this might not be the right, sustainable way.

As I already mentioned one of the highlights of the whole module was the Real Estate presentation conducted by Ilona and two other industry specialists – an attorney and banking professional from Citibank. Despite of the usefulness and the depth of the event, the additional complication of finding the right place to live in New York as well as the difficult and time consuming procedure made me even more skeptic about moving overseas. Nevertheless the preparation of the speakers were more than satisfying – the audience was actively listening for more than two hours without break. Thanks for organizing that!

As final destination, WeWork’s office was one of the strangest company visit, we had. Who would have thought more than ten years ago that the fancy skyscrapers of Wall street will be occupied by young professionals in hoodies, with take away coffee and a Macbook in their hands? If this is the future the world is changing much faster than I ever thought. Anyway the company model is very smart and brave – penetrating in areas where no one else did – both physically and as company profile.

With still the loud noise and vibration of New York in my head I respectfully said goodbye to it and headed back to good old CEE, where all the collected seeds of useful inputs will be planted.

Experience for a lifetime!


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