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USA: Opening speech at technology seminar

Speech by Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess at the opening of the seminar Advances in Technology and Innovation, University of Stanford, May 8 2013.

Professor Kelley,
Professor Seelig,
Ladies and gentlemen, 

Many years ago, I visited the Bay area together with my husband for the first time. He wanted to show me his “home away from home” and UC Berkeley, where he studied in the 90s. Later – on the same trip, we came here to Stanford. I fell instantly in love – with a university where students are surrounded by Rodin sculptures…

I am convinced that these affect the learning conditions in their own unique way. At least they made me want to study here!

In addition to the beautiful compound, there is a warm, including atmosphere that we, as visitors, instantly feel. Stanford has always been at the forefront – and generously shares its greatness with other likeminded pioneers.

I would like to thank Professor Kelley and Professor Seelig for hosting this seminar – and President Hennesey for receiving us.

I have been particularly looking forward to visiting d.school – this amazing hub for big dreams and innovation. In my opinion, d.school does exactly what we need much more of in the world today:

You tear down hurdles by combining methods from engineering and design with ideas from the arts, tools from the social sciences, and insights from the business world.

By combining expertise from different fields, d.school finds solutions to complex, real life challenges. Two concrete results of this way of working are now deeply appreciated in the developing world: The Embrace Blanket, which is a low cost incubator – and the solar powered LED light called D.Light, which is used in rural areas with lack of electricity.  

In so many fields of life – and on all levels – we often struggle to think outside the box. D.school is definitely a place to be shaken out of one’s habitual thinking.

On the poster right above our heads, we read: “Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail. There’s only MAKE”.  In her book titled “What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 ”, Professor Seelig writes beautifully about the importance of failure. She describes repeated failure as vital steps towards success. If we’re afraid of failing, we are not likely to accomplish much.

This is a wisdom I know many of you who are gathered here today are well aware of – because this is a true entrepreneurial experience.

I am accompanied here today by a fine selection of Norwegian entrepreneurs.

Some of them have developed impressive problem-solving initiatives in the fields of Educational Technology (EdTech), Sensors and Robotics – and IT Security. One example is the company We Want to Know. They produce the game DragonBox, which secretly teaches kids algebra in a fun and playful way.

I believe there is great potential for mutually beneficial collaborations between Stanford and Norwegian entrepreneurs. Stanford’s broad range of areas of excellence and d.school’s design thinking methodology could well be coupled with Norwegian expertise within advanced technology.

I would like to encourage you all to continue to think new and to think big.

I will end by quoting the American artist John Cage who said:
I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.

Thank you.

 

08.05.2013

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