Getting the Creative juices flowing
I have known James Piecowye for some time now (a little more than 5 years). I had, of course, heard him on the radio (Nightline) and had, for a time, co-hosted with him and my friend, Sherif Abaza, a weekly segment on interesting stuff to do around town. An ardent TED fan, James had been speaking all the way back then of a smaller community event that would create dialogues and involve local people more. So I went along to my first Creative Morning Dubai (though I have been getting the emailers since the first one) and not surprised to learn that he is behind them. So here in his own words the reason behind Creative Mornings.
Why Creative Mornings in Dubai?
James Piecowye: In 2012, I was at TEDActive in Palm Springs, it was 3am and I was working on a TEDYou presentation, when I stumbled on a CreativeMornings video and thought this is something I would love to be part of. At this point, I was very involved with TEDx events at Zayed University, Abu Dhabi University and motivating high Schools in Dubai to start doing TEDx events.
But I was also starting to feel that TEDx was not meeting my needs, too much bureaucracy, too much of a push for scale, too much of a global push. I still love TEDx but I wanted something that was smaller, closer to a particular community (the creative community in this case) and would fit the time I had available. CreativeMornings was a win, win, win!
The format is simple: Its in the working week, in the morning before the day’s work begins, small, one speaker, Q&A, breakfast, this was what I was looking for.
2012-2014 is a long time but there was an application process, I could not go it alone and I was still stinging from a bad experience working with others who in the end had very different expectations when putting together a community event.
Paul Kelly and I have been doing a radio show on Indie Music for 3 years and with his work building a creative agency and my work with education the relationship had been built and tested. We both had our strengths and weaknesses and realised we could work together. We also made it clear upfront, what we could and could not do and what our expectations were.
In 2012 we started the application process and sat on it for 9 months asking the simple question, do we want to do this? We both decided YES because Creative Mornings was something we wanted to attend.
What is the line-up so far?
James Piecowye: We had talks on Crossover in October, Chance in November and Education in December. In January, the theme is Ugly.
What will the community get out of the events and being part of it?
James Piecowye: There are a lot of lecture/motivation/innovation events in Dubai and that is not including the conferences out there.
Creative Mornings Dubai is the event I wanted to go to each month as a form of professional development that wouldn't break the bank, wouldn't interfere too much with work as in I could go to my job after attending and I could meet like-minded people. And I think this will appeal to a lot of people out there that would like to experience the TEDx time atmosphere without spending a whole day on it.
I love the fact that the fee for getting out of bed is a great breakfast, like-minded people and a great talk where you can get up close and personal with the speaker.
I have to admit I like the format too. It started on time, and finished within the stipulated hour. I had to option to spend as little or as much time as I needed (after the presentation) based on my personal schedule.
The list of speakers so far have been quite good but got lucky that the first one I attended had the very clever Samar Jodha, who is truly creative in using his talents to give back to the community. I have to admit I had first seen him in TEDxDubai – so I was a bit familiar with his work, but the Creative Mornings format was a bit more informal and allowed me to get a few minutes to have a chat with him personally.
I like the idea that as part of the community, I can suggest speakers to the organisers – James, Paul Kelly and Haifa Al Rasheed - and the speaker would need to suit their monthly themes, it would be someone I would be able to meet easily and help me learn and grow not just as a person but as a member of this community and who knows as a businesswoman too.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up and get the updates and join them for the next one in January (22nd) 2015. Help to spread the word around.