In the twenty-first century, the focus has really shifted to the East with young economies of Asia making their mark globally with technological and economic innovation. India, Singapore, Indonesia, China, and the rest of Asia – all of us are poised to grow like never before.
We are geographically so close, culturally so similar, but do we really know each other in Asia? Our vision is to create a forum for leaders, entrepreneurs, technologists, etc., to connect and collaborate with their counterparts.
Recent statistics show that in spite of internet penetration rates of 19% and 47%, India and China alone make up for 747 million users on Social Media platforms. Just imagine the untapped opportunity for global brands if they can understand Asia better.
INK Asia will bring together leading thinkers from around the world to explore the challenges and opportunities unique to us. The conference will highlight innovative thinking across disciplines that is driving Asia’s growth, and the lessons we can learn from each other.
The theme for INK Asia 2015 is ‘Designing the future.’ The conference will take place at the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore on August 21, 2015.
Alok Shetty is Principal of Bhumiputra Architecture, an internationally acclaimed architecture and design firm based in Bangalore City. Operating across many scales, Shetty’s firm consistently works towards new built environments that improve the quality of life in emerging economies.
Alok started his practice at the age of 19 by completing a multispecialty hospital while still in architecture school. He later pursued his Masters’ degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University in New York where he was the youngest recipient of the Lucille Smyser Lowenfish Memorial Award for Design Excellence.
Notably, the work of Bhumiputra and Alok has been exhibited and published extensively by several international publications. Alok has been featured on the “30 under 30” young achievers list by Forbes Magazine, one of “India’s Future Leaders” by National Geographic Magazine, one of six “International Next Generation Leaders” by Time Magazine, one of ten “International Young Architects Changing Skylines Around the World” by Complex Magazine, one of twenty “Young Achievers to Watch in 2015” by Elle Magazine and was recently the awarded the “Top 50 Young Architects” award by Architect & Interiors Magazine.
Anand is a filmmaker, playwright and artist, deeply interested in philosophy, evolutionary psychology and sci-fi. His first feature film, Ship of Theseus, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it was touted as the ‘hidden gem of the year’. It has since gone on to win accolades worldwide – the only contemporary Indian film to be short-listed by the Critic’s Circle (UK) as one of 15 life-changing films of all time. Besides making films, Anand illustrates, writes songs, plays chess and dabbles in magic.
Ani Choying Drolma is an internationally reputed singer. Having been educated in a Buddhist nunnery, she studied Buddhist meditation, chants, rituals and ceremonies, and soon advanced to chanting master. Ani recently performed on MTV’s Coke Studio for a composition by A.R. Rahman that is said to have put a whole new spin to the term ‘world music’. The proceeds from her concert tours, CD sales and donations goes toward running a school started by her in the year 2000 called Arya Tara School.
Her school is committed to promote the advancement of nuns, not only for their own benefit but also prepares them to serve and benefit others. This desire developed in Ani, upon the passing of her master Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, a renowned meditation master. Watching him hold the nuns in the same regard as monks, Ani believed that creating more opportunities for nuns to study and to develop their own capacities for skillful and compassionate action is the best way she can dedicate herself to her teacher’s vision throughout her life.
On September 18, 2006, Anousheh Ansari captured headlines as the first female private space explorer travelling to and staying onboard of International Space Station. Back on Earth, as a successful serial entrepreneur, Anousheh returned to her job as co-founder and chairman of her latest technology company, Prodea Systems.
In her previous endeavor, she had served as co-founder, CEO and chairman of the board for Telecom Technologies, Inc. An active proponent of world-changing technologies and social entrepreneurship, in 2004 Anousheh and her family provided the title sponsorship for the Ansari X Prize, a $10 million award for the first non-governmental organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks. Currently Anousheh works to enable social entrepreneurs to bring about radical change globally, with organizations such as ASHOKA and X-PRIZE
Balakrishnan G. Iyer (Balki) is the Chief Operating Officer of Bharat Light and Power Group. He is responsible for driving growth and leads Operations of all BLP’s Renewable Power Projects in India. Previously, Balki led Business Development for GE’s Global Research Center, based in New York, with responsibility for driving new technology development in the Renewable Energy portfolio (namely Wind, Solar) & Smart Grid.
Recently, he worked in GE Capital as Senior Vice President, Business Development, where he had responsibility for developing and driving new growth opportunities by identifying new markets and product solutions for Working Capital Solutions. He is Six Sigma Black Belt certified and is a graduate of the GE Operations Management Leadership Program.
Balki is a Director at Iyer Educational Institutions that runs schools focussed on kids with Autism which he co-founded with his wife; he is a Strategic Advisor for Indus Pharmaceutical Services and is part of the Dean’s Strategic Advisors, Binghamton University. Balki also sat on the Executive Board for GE’s Asia Pacific American Forum, a diversity group focussed on Asian leadership talent within GE
World famous percussionist and new age percussion star, Bickram Ghosh is ranked amongst the great tabla players from India. Equally brilliant within traditional as well as experimental genres, Bickram has carved out a unique niche for himself in his diverse avatars as classical musician, new age artiste and composer. With over 50 recordings as soloist, composer and collaborator, Bickram has performed in almost every top venue in the world, and his performances have met with accolades in international circuits.
Bickram is the son of the great tabla maestro-Pandit Shankar Ghosh. Having learnt the nuances of carnatic percussion from Pandit S. Sekhar, he has performed for over a decade with the legendary Pandit Ravi Shankar on his Grammy award winning album ’Full Circle.
Charles Cadell is the President – Asia Pacific at McCANN. He has been working across the Asia Pacific region for the last 19 years, including time as CEO of Lowe Lintas India, and time in Hong Kong, China, Thailand and Malaysia, amongst others, with Leo Burnett. At Lowe Lintas, he became one of the only foreign CEOs in the history of the Indian advertising industry.
Choy Peng Wu is the Group CIO of Singtel, where she is responsible for the Group’s IT vision and roadmap. She has served as the Singapore Government’s Chief Information Officer, and has also held a range of IT management roles in the Singapore Civil Service.
Out of the multiple feathers in Wu’s hat, a few include — Deputy Chairman of IDA International Pte Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, Board member of the National University Health System (NUHS), Chairperson of the NUHS Information Technology (IT) Committee, and Board member of the Institute of Systems Science, National University of Singapore.
In 2011, She was named the “IDC-Enterprise Innovation Asia/Pacific CIO of the Year”. Before joining Singtel, Wu was the Group CIO of Neptune Orient Lines Group from 2006.
Devdutt Pattanaik writes on relevance of mythology in modern times, especially in areas of management, governance and leadership. Trained in medicine, he worked for 15 years in the healthcare and pharma industries before he focussed on his passion full time. He is author of 30 books and 600 columns, with bestsellers such as My Gita, Jaya, Sita, Business Sutra and the 7 Secret Series. He was a speaker at TEDIndia 2009 and spoke on Myths that Mystify, East versus West. His TV shows include Business Sutra on CNBC-TV18 and Devlok on Epic TV. He consults organisations on culture, diversity and leadership and also consults various television channels and filmmakers on storytelling.
Jose Thomas (J.T) is a 2nd generation entrepreneur with over 44 years of extensive experience in the world of business. He owns and is the Managing Director of the Choice Group of Companies and serves as the President of the Choice Foundation. His businesses include ventures into fields of frozen food and seafood, farming, shipping, construction and IT. The Choice Foundation, a non-profit initiative of the Choice group, includes the running of a school (The Choice School) & a center for performing arts (JTPAC). The Choice Group has a total global turnover of $250,000,000 USD.
More about Jose Thomas’ thoughts, ideologies and outlook can be found in his blog, www.josethomas.in
Marcelo Wesseler is the CEO of SingPost eCommerce, member of the Singapore Post Group.SingPost eCommerce serves more than 1000 clients and runs sites like adidas.com.my, levis.co.kr and muji.com.sg. The company is listed on the Singapore stock exchange with two main shareholders; SingTel and Alibaba Group.
Prior to joining Singapore Post, Wesseler was Head of eCommerce at RS Components Asia Pacific. During his eight year tenure at Hewlett-Packard in Palo Alto, he was responsible for development of their US eCommerce site and global direct consumer sales. He also established an entirely new eCommerce organisation in Singapore and Shanghai.
Wesseler started his career as a senior eCommerce consultant at KPMG Consulting in Switzerland and he was an early eCommerce pioneer when founded three retail businesses and helped establish sonystyle.com, mini.com, bmw.com as well as one of Europe’s first online shopping platforms, together with Deutsche Post in 1997
Marco Tempest is a cyber illusionist, combining magic and technology to produce astonishing illusions. He began his performing career as a stage magician and manipulator, winning many awards and establishing an international reputation as one of the world¹s most unique performers. His interest in computer generated imagery led him to incorporating video and digital technology in his work and the development of a new form of contemporary illusion. The expansion of the internet and social media provided more opportunities for digital illusions and ways of interacting with audiences and creating magically augmented realities.
Marco is a keen advocate of the open source community, working with artists, writers and technologists to create new experiences and research the practical uses of the technology of illusion. Marco continues to perform around the world, is a media consultant on the subject of magic and illusion and lectures at international conferences on the psychology of deception and creative thinking. Marco is a Directors Fellow at the MIT Media Lab
Melissa Kwee is the CEO, National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre in Singapore. She is a well-known social activist and volunteer leader who has served as Chair of Halogen Foundation, a youth leadership organization, President of UN Women Singapore, and is the co-founder of Beautiful People, a mentoring platform for girls. She is and Chairman of the investment firm for Capella Singapore and Director at Pontiac Land Group.
Melissa was recognised with the Singapore Youth Award in 2007, Asean Youth Award 2008, and has received several other awards for leadership and service. She was educated at Harvard College and was a Fulbright Scholar to Nepal.
Neal Cross is Managing Director and Chief Innovation Officer of DBS Bank and a strong advocate for innovation thinking and culture. Previous to DBS, Cross was at MasterCard, where he was responsible for driving innovation as Vice President of MasterCard Labs in the company’s Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions.
Parag Khanna is a leading global strategist, world traveler and best-selling author. He is Managing Partner of Hybrid Reality, Co-Founder & CEO of Factotum, Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, Senior Fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, and Adjunct Professor in the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.
He is co-author of Hybrid Reality: Thriving in the Emerging Human-Technology Civilization (2012), and author of The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order (2008) and How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance (2011).
In 2008, Parag was named one of Esquire’s “75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century,” and featured in WIRED magazine’s “Smart List.” Parag is regularly featured in media around the world such as the New York Times, TIME, Financial Times, and Wall Street Journal, and appears regularly on CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, PBS, and NPR.
He holds a PhD from the London School of Economics, and Bachelors and Masters degrees from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Born in India, Parag grew up in the United Arab Emirates, New York, and Germany.
He has traveled to more than 100 countries and is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
Peng T. Ong is a Managing Director at Monk’s Hill Ventures, a technology venture fund. He sits on the boards of YY Inc. and Singapore University of Design & Technology; and, also on the advisory board of the Chancellor of the University of Illinois. Until recently, Peng was also on the boards of SingTel and Singapore’s National Research Foundation; and, chaired Infocomm Investments. Peng founded Match.com (bought by IAC), Interwoven (now part of HP), and Encentuate (acquired by IBM).
The businesses he created now generate annual revenues that total more than US$1 billion. He has a master’s in Computer Science from UIUC and a BSEE from UT Austin.
Piyush Gupta is Chief Executive Officer and Director of DBS Group, as well as Director of DBS Bank (Hong Kong) and The Islamic Bank of Asia. Prior to joining DBS, Piyush was Citigroup’s Chief Executive Officer for South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. He began his career with Citibank in India in 1982 and over the years, held various senior management roles across Citi’s corporate and consumer banking businesses, including Head of Strategic Planning for Emerging Markets and Regional Director for Global Transaction Services for Asia Pacific. He has also served as Citi’s Country Officer for Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore respectively
Trained in classical neuroimaging at the Harvard-MIT-MGH Martinos Center and Stanford Medical center, Rohan started a company called BrainBot which helps people be more mindful through biology. His work is based on his first-hand research with sadhus and monks in the Himalayas, where he recorded their brainwaves and heartbeat patterns during meditation. This culminated in a forthcoming consumer wearable device for increased calm and emotional self-awareness
Sanvar Oberoi is the Co-Founder and Director of Finance and Digital Technology at Bombay Hemp Company (BOHECO), a hybrid social enterprise transforming agriculture in developing economies. BOHECO is South Asia’s pioneering help company and is working with governements, scientists, farmers, industry and consumers globally to build an end-to-end ecosystem and self sustaining model which unleashes the supercrop’s tremendous socio-economic and environmental benefits at large scale.
He leads the BOHECO Innovation Lab, the organisation’s moonshot and fundamental research and nanotechnology domain. He has always been deeply affected by the growing number of farmer suicides and their state. He has mafe it his life’s mission to reinstate the status-quo of farmers, women artisans and producers in society and develop interventions to continually and sustainably improve their quality of life significantly. He’s a Ph.D research scholor in Business Economics and has been awarded the INK, Rajeev Circle and Ashoka Fellowship
Ghatam Suresh Vaidyanathan is a top ranked Ghatam and multi-percussion artist internationally acclaimed and respected for his in-depth knowledge of Indian rhythm and technical supremacy. Working in the company of renowned drummers and musicians in world music and jazz genres besides carnatic music for many decades, Suresh has acquired the rich experience and authentic knowledge of the International music systems.
Suresh has had his tutelage under illustrious gurus like Shri T R Harihara Sharma, Sri T H Vinayakram, Sri T V Gopalakrishnan and Sri Umayalpuram Narayanaswamy Iyer – all legends in their own respect.
As a Ghatam player, Suresh has gained preeminence and Star value with his unique fingering techniques, sound modulation in robust solos and aesthetic accompaniment. He is also proficient in a variety of Indian percussion instruments like, mridangam, kanjira, tavil, konakkol and morsing and a few Latin percussions.
In 2011, along with a friend, Tushar Vashisht conducted a lifestyle experiment living at the government-stipulated poverty line of Rs 32/day. The experiment and its documentation gave scientific voice to the poor, creating empathy amongst India’s privileged, and providing concrete policy solutions to the government. It also inspired him to co-found HealthifyMe, the world’s first Indian nutrition and calorie tracker for healthy living. HealthifyMe has gone on to serve 15 million users and has raised $35M in equity capital.
Prior to this, Tushar worked as a banker, and also helped initiate the Indian Government’s Unique ID project.
Uma uses genetic data to understand the history, present and potential future of populations. Her early research explored how choosiness for mates impacts genetic variation, and the relationships between African click-speaking hunter-gatherer groups. Uma now applies her research to wildlife, using non-invasive DNA sources (like poop!) to investigate tiger population sizes over the last 200 years, connectivity between populations, and how species came to the Indian subcontinent, given their recent arrival to Asia. She is a National Board for Wildlife member, Ramanujan fellow and DAE Outstanding Scientist.
Prof. Venkatesh is a Research Director at IMCB, and an adjunct Professor in the Department of Paediatrics, National University of Singapore. His research areas include comparative genomics and genetic diseases. His group uses comparative genomics approach to better understand the structure, function and evolution of the human genome. More recently, Prof. Venkatesh has been using the next-generation sequencing platform to study DNA variations underlying rare human genetic diseases with the objective of understanding the biology of such diseases better, potentially leading to novel therapeutic targets.
Prof. Venkatesh obtained his PhD from the National University of Singapore. He subsequently pursued post-doctoral studies in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Dr Sydney Brenner at the Medical Research Council (MRC), Cambridge, UK and returned to Singapore in 1992 to set up the Comparative Genomics Laboratory at the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB).
In 2004, Prof. Venkatesh was awarded Singapore’s prestigious “National Science Award” (now the President Science Award) for his work on comparative genomics. He is an elected member of the Human Genome Organization, a chairperson of the ‘Genome 10K’ – an international project which aims to catalogue genomes of 10,000 vertebrates, a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at the Centre for Human Genetics, Bangalore, India, and a Senior Advisor to China National Genebank, BGI, Shenzhen, China.
Vicky Roy ran away from home as child and became a ragpicker to earn pocket money. He found refuge at a NGO for street children where he met a photographer that changed his life. Despite his turbulent past, Vicky pursed his passion for photography in which he was selected to photo document the reconstruction of the World Trade Center in NYC. Today, Vicky focuses on helping the disadvantaged by giving them a voice through his photography.