The preceding speaker, Neri Oxman, set the stage perfectly by commenting that science must evolve to “think more like Leonardo da Vinci.”
I speak at innovation conferences around the world and was surprised and delighted by the Tijuana event. The program unfolded over the course of 2 weeks and included presentations by former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore, Mexican president Felipe’ Calderon, communication pioneers Jimmy Wales and Biz Stone and Nobel Laureate Robert Auman, among many others. The exhibition center offered a glimpse of the wide-range of innovative endeavors originating south of the border, including new technology for customized orthopedic braces, marvelous wireless headphones and other leading edge audio equipment, and high quality wines from Baja.
My strongest impression of the event was the genuine curiosity and enthusiasm of the participants. I met many students who expressed a passion for learning and a desire to apply innovative thinking in order to be successful. Of course, before I departed a number of friends cautioned me about the drug-inspired violence and chaos that have characterized most of the media reports on Tijuana. Although problems persist, there has been considerable improvement over the last 2 years. I felt safe throughout my visit. And, I was truly inspired by the positive energy, optimism and hope for the future symbolized by this extraordinary event.