Sci & Tech

TedxTehran Packs Punch

TedxTehran Packs Punch
TedxTehran Packs Punch

The latest TedxTehran event packed out the Iran University of Medical Sciences' Razi Conference Center this Friday with a list of speakers that included some of the hottest names in Iran's design and technology industries.

The one day event, dubbed "The New Paradigm", was aimed at building on the prior successes of the previous TedxTehran events that focused on the field of introversion, intuition, thinking and judgment after the removal of western sanctions on Iran.

However, hoped it would move to the next stage of what comes after the opening of Iran's economy to the outside world–a kind of confidence-building measure.

The first event held in 2013 was intended to share new ideas and broaden horizons; two years on the job has become more difficult as the economic and technology landscape continually widens in competition and ideas.

Most attendees were either local Tehranis or those traveling from nearby cities, while a growing number of expatriate Iranians also flew in from Europe and North America.

High profile speakers of the event included Alireza Tahmasebzadeh, co-founder of BLOCKS smartwatch, Leila Araghian, an architect responsible for Tehran's award-winning Nature Bridge, and Nasser Aghdami a local scientist, to name a few.

Although the event was pegged as a leading center of thought for the future of Iran's economy, some audience members thought too many of the speakers focused on nationalistic tendencies.

Other speakers at the event adopted cultural tones, with copyright issues and food trends becoming hot topics as Iran opens up to the international environment—and also tourists.

Sassan Behzadi of Parspake Digital solutions, a local technology and web design company, urged his compatriots to not copy western techniques and styles outright, and instead innovate locally derived designs.

Behzadi said too many local designers and technology people often relied on others to come up with creativity, which is detrimental to the local creative scene.

His speech also hinted that sooner or later when Iran comes back into the international fold, copyright issues are likely to be a larger concern for designers and creators facing a community that habitually overlooks the legality of infringing on copyrights.

This year's event did attempt to push at boundaries on its previous iterations. However, as some noted, speeches this time were focused on beefing up national industries rather than breaking the glass ceiling in terms of new ideas. One branding director attending the conference said, "It remains to be seen how well these projects and ideas shape up in the near future in the face of foreign competition."