I have the privilege of serving on the Board of the Ontario Science Centre. As someone who was born and grew up in Toronto, I, as many of you, used to visit the Centre regularly while in elementary school. These visitations decreased steadily through high school, and then only occurred in adulthood when friends with children were visiting from out of town.
Over the last twelve years, Lesley Lewis, the current CEO, has done an amazing job of re-vitalizing and collectively re-envisioning not only the mandate of the Science Centre, but also implementing strategies to become further embedded and relevant to the surrounding neighbourhoods.
The professional and ethnic composition of the Board of the Science Centre is testament to the fact that Lesley and Mark Cohon, the Chair of the Board, are truly making this path-breaking institution inclusive and more representative than ever before.
Earlier this week I visited the Centre with some friends visiting from Mumbai, India. Harikrishna Kalyanasundaram and Vidya are a leading bharatanatyam dance guru and Carnatic vocalist, respectively; and their four-year old son, Chaitanya, is already showing signs of being a child prodigy. Chaitanya was very excited to visit the Science Centre to experience the Harry Potter exhibit- which is outstanding, and truly engages children and adults alike.
But most intriguing was how much time Chaitanya spent in making paper airplanes, in the Weston Family Innovation Centre, and how engaged he was at the various interactive exhibits, especially those that included a musical element.
In his young mind, you could see the creative wheels turning about how the experiences he had could lead to further explorations when he returns to Mumbai; and he was already asking his parents when he can visit the Science Centre again!
It is at this earliest of ages that we must engage young minds to experience as much about scientific exploration and artistic endeavour as possible, so that as they grown into teenagers and adults, the awe and wonder they feel about the world around them propels each of them to pursue the dreams that they hold most vividly.
The recent article by Anne Golden, CEO of the Conference Board of Canada, was very lucid in articulating the challenges that we face in Canada to commercialize the great technologies we produce. A significant element that I believe is the intangible quality that allows great success to happen is imagination.
As Albert Einstein famously stated:
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
Hari is a seasoned entrepreneur with over a dozen years of experience in building and exiting businesses in Canada, US and India.
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