National solutions for global problems — From WEF

I worked at WEF (World Economic Forum) held in Davos. My role was to help a Japanese TV crew as a coordinator, mainly to make appointments with those people whom the journalists wish to interview. One of the people I coordinated was Dr. Fareed Zakaria, Editor of Newsweek International.

The interview was inspiring. I almost jumped from the floor when his words hit my long-lasting question; how we overcome limits of the nation states systems?

He said; How do you bridge this gap, between the global problems on one hand and national solutions on the other?

The phrase was a concluding remark of a discussion about the way to build a new world system to overcome the present global problems, especially financial problems. He discussed the limit of national solutions and need for global co-operation to overcome the limit.

To summarise, we live in the world where a problem happens in one part of the world spread out over the world, climate change, terrorism, epidemic disease, etc. If we stay focused on national solutions for global problems, that wouldn’t work for the world. He proposed a global cooperation, as an alternative to un-coordinated national solutions.

The issue of national vs global benefits is not new to me. My professional experience in the past convinced me that fragmented regulations across countries is a loss; to companies, to customers, and to our society. Though my experience was as a government relations manager in the telecommunications industry, exactly the same was true.

To be realistic, I am not sure if politicians and business people could co-operate for the global benefits, leaving national and personal interests aside. However, I cannot think of a better solution. It would take a long time for the world big leaders to co-operate in their financial regulations and economic policies, but it is the only way to go.

Technology for Society — From WEF

I’m just back from Davos, the 40th World Economic Forum. Though my work was always behind the scenes, I met stimulating people and enjoyed many stimulating thoughts.

What’s nice is that WEF posts most of the sessions on the web.

Please share with me, thanks to technology, the session “Technology for Society” (29 Jan, 2010):

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google; Google makes available technologies that allow us to help others –> YK: True! All of its services, i.e. mails, maps, etc. are tools for social networking, knowledge transfer and more.

At the aftermath of an  earthquake in Haiti, Google flew a low altitude airplane and took aerial photos as precisely as possible to help the rescue teams on the ground.

Please find discussion of Google and the CEO of Ushahidi, Google on China and  more –> Technology for Society, 28 Jan. 2010

Is it true? – DIY in air travel

Airlines say that self-service is the way to go. It makes customers travel easy. Customers want it.

Is it true? May be, but with limits.

Automated systems, such as online booking  and self-serve checking-in, are programmed based on a set of assumptions, based on a hypothesis that all the things go well throughout a travel.

Travel however is full of irregulars. Each travel is different. In addition, passenger convenience is very personal. Self-service check in is stressful for me when traveling with 2-3 bags and luggage (This is a normal travel style for a woman traveling a long distance with connecting flights). There is no space to put a handbag. This requires me to do some complicating maneuver to pick up a reservation record from the bag before typing a booking number in a kiosk in front of me. The process is more complicated for a parent traveling with two young children.

I can go on to list other experiences of this kind. The same is true for aged passengers who don’t understand languages spoken by airline staff, or who are not familiar with doing things on computers.

Airlines are moving on toward “contact-less” travel.

The idea sounds good and logical to airlines, but I wish it doesn’t go too far. In reality, air travel is a complex activity as it involves a number of small but important events, from booking, checking-in, flying, changing flights to picking up luggage at the destination airport.

Self-service will work only if it is accompanied by a carefully organised safety net, as passenger requirements are so varied that one can’t  take them into account in self-service systems. I hope airlines listen to customers carefully, in preparing the way forward of “DIY” or Do-it-Yourself in the air travel process.

People, Technology and Design – Lift conference in Geneva, May 2010

I’ve registered in Lift conference to be held on 5-7 May, 2010.

Before registering, I thought if I would wish to attend it again. I have participated in the conference three times in the past, 2007, 2008 and 2009. I organised a workshop in 2009, as I have wished to benefit from unique mix of thoughts of the Lift participants.

Nevertheless, I’ve asked to my heart if  I wish to attend four time in a row, paying the registration fee from my pocket. After some thinking, however, I have concluded “Yes”, again. Lift is indispensable for me as I enjoy a shower of healthy and dynamic inspirations in the packed three days.

Stephanie wrote a comprehensive and well organised opinion about Lift in her blog, so I’d suggest you to take a look.

Lift is about people in a society where information technologies are underlying infrastructure of life. At LIft conferences, I enjoy meeting with people who are technology savvy but who are also trying to go beyond. I think such power would ultimately make people’s life better. At Lift conference, participants are indispensable resources. I observed ideas sparkling between participants and speakers. This is what Lift attracts me.

An important clue to enjoy Lift is to talk to people as many as you can. Leave your shyness aside for three days, and  talk to people next to you. You will not regret.

Why? — You will understand it by starting the Lift experience by clicking here –> Lift 2010

Passion that has made a dream come true

The Gift from Beate” is a documentary film that describes a series of facts of women’s fights to establish human rights since the end of the WWII. Helping its screening in Switzerland and all over Europe and beyond has become my passion since 2005.

In 2010, School of Orientall and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. will present the film “The Gift from Beate”, followed by a symposium on the strategies and challenges of modern women to move forward to make human rights for women better built-in society.

The event is a result of a lot of work done by my friend in London, Rela Iwano. After meeting Ms Beate S. Gordon in Paris in March 2009, Rela started working to make her dream to come true; “I want to have Beate to come to London to talk to us”. She is a freelancer. She had no connection with sponsors for the event. She walked all the way through.

I organised a presentation of “The Gift from Beate” for the first time in Switzerland in Geneva in May 2006. I knew nothing about what should be done to organise a film event without a sponsor or budget. I had no professional knowledge on the film industry or events. None. I worked from scratch with Ryo, a good friend of my in Geneva, who shared the same passion for the film.

Passion was the key word, for Beate, Rela and myself, and many other women & men who worked to present the film in their own cities.

I have seen the film unleashing energy of women in all the cities where the film was presented in Europe and beyond; in Switzerland, Italy and Morocco.

“The Gift from Beate” is non-commercial and has to be presented by citizens’ volunteers or municipalities since its release in Tokyo in 2005. The messages of the film is always fresh and has power.

In fact, the film has been initiated by a group of Japanese women chaired by Ms Ryoko Akamatsu, who had wished to create a documentary film to record the facts of women’s fights to make their human rights recognised and built-in in Japanese society. Passion was the key word that motivated the group, later named “The Gift from Beate Film Committee”.

What is “The Gift from Beate”? What in the film inspires us so much? — If you wish to know it, let’s meet at SOAS on 9 March! I’ll be there. Look forward to seeing you there,

YouTube and Prometheus

I know many people are not necessarily high on YouTube. It violates Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), it has thousands of silly video clips jut to kill time, etc. These were my perception of  YouTube in the past, too.

I’m changed. I think YouTube is Prometheus in our century. It is true that the site has a number of short videos, which may help to kill time but not many other things other than that. However, I have discovered that YouTube  has videos with passion, as well!

Without YouTube, I wouldn’t have been able to hear voice of Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank and Nobel Peace Prize lauréat.  I was impressed by his passion and thoughts as an economist by watching a video in which Yunos talks to a group of students.

I understood better the underlying emotion of Ms Beate S. Gordon, thanks to the video of her speech at Middlebury College (the US), posted at YouTube. She is indispensable in my life. Thanks to her, who drafted in 1945 the Article 24 of the Japanese Constitution that set out the equality between women and men, I had high education, that had paved a way through to my life as a professional in Geneva today.

Above said, I appreciate that IPR is important to protect value of thoughts and ideas created by people, art, music, scientific inventions, business ideas, etc. I am aware that there are many people who live on their good ideas and imaginations, such as artists, novelists, scientists, innovators and more.

A dilemma is that IPR works to prohibit us from enjoying full benefits of technologies.

YouTube in one aspect plays a role of Prometheus in our century. We should work to go beyond IPR so that all the people could enjoy benefits of technologies that allow sharing of good ideas and useful knowledge, while people who live on quality ideas will be rewarded for their contributions.

I spoke at IGF

I sopoke on mobile web for the development at IGF, held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on 14-18 November, 2009. I’m really happy to find by chance that Shelley Russell caught my key words in her blog post about the session on Mobile Web. Shelly, your blog power reached me!

I talked about policy and regulatory implications of mobile web. Mobile web is at the crossroads of existing policy domains. For example, e-health is located in the overlapping area of public health and telecommunications policies, e-learning, education and telecommunicatons, etc. A major role of policy makers are to facilitate people to enjoy benfits of technologies. To do so, co-operation beween relevant policy makers based on creative and open mind sets are essential. For more, please see my presentation.

Someone has kindly taken a video of all the speakers, including mine. Thank you!!