I was very excited about IAF Innovation lab right after I heard about it. It was my first Europe trip. As I had attended another FNF Conference before, I knew it was going to be an amazing experience for me. The visa and immigration process was friendly. The academy is an amazing place to be in. The infrastructure is very well designed. I was not expecting a full-fledged hotel experience in the academy but it was more than amazing. The program was designed with ample breaks so one can sync with the home office easily.
Liberal Impressions: Being in a room with 20+ participants where a big portion are politicians from different parts of the world, it is very normal that you will learn about different political views and norms. What I have learned liberalism is: it means freedom of choice, freedom of thinking and freedom of lifestyle. It is not forced to anyone but open for everyone. This openness attracts people, especially youth.
Lessons learnt: The session was a very amazing learning experience. We learned about business model canvas, mood framework, design thinking, organizational structure for innovation and many more. I had already conducted several sessions on business model canvas and design thinking in past. But this was a great unlearn and relearn process. What we also learn about innovation is it is not a magical formula but a process and culture. The instructors were amazingly influential. The participants were equally knowledgeable and experienced.
Germany beyond Gummersbach: Germany is a great place to live. The people are very friendly and welcoming. The culture is rich and open. I loved the atmosphere of Gummersbach. The country is very clean the air is very fresh and energetic. We have visited Cologne which is a 2000-year-old city. We were lucky to get some glimpses of the famous Cologne Carnival. The carnival is very colourful and an interesting festival. Thousands of tourists visit the city for the carnival every year.
Shared experiences: As I already mentioned, the participants, instructor and FNF officials were amazing. We had group tasks in almost every session. It is always great to work with people from different countries, different sectors and different experiences. After a few sessions, you feel automatically synced with people with similar passions. You feel more connected and empathetic. The unconference session gave ideas about the personal expertise of the participants. I hosted two sessions in unconference with my fellow participant Aida who is from Mexico. The discussions at coffee breaks, the bar, at the restaurant brought the group closer to each other.
We also celebrated International Mother Language Day in the academy. The day got high significant in the lives of Bangladeshi people. I, with my fellow participants of the academy, created a tribute AV for the day. They were very supportive of the cause.
Personal and Official enrichment: Entrepreneurship is a tough life. This kind of mixing up with people of similar passion always boost up the confidence level and inspire you to keep doing more. One of the things I personally learned is how the academy works. Everything is very well planned, well designed and well-executed. I have the intention to build something similar in Bangladesh someday. I have also enjoyed being a speaker in the failure experience sharing session (Fucked Up Night). Fellow participants appreciated and enjoyed the session a lot. I will also cherish the memory of winning the first task of the academy as a captain of my team and winning gifts for that.
I am lucky enough to be a part of many global level conferences in my career. This IAF experience will always be something special to me. I am looking forward to staying connected with fellow participants, instructors and FNF officials in the long run.