Published on October 23rd, 2015 | by drkkr


ICIM 2015

For a few it was “motivating”, for some it was “inspiring”, but for most the insights and learning gained at the third edition of the International Conference on ‘International Marketing in Asia Pacific – Issues and Challenges’ (ICIM 2015) held in Coimbatore on September 18 and 19, “would last a lifetime”.

The conference with the theme “Globalisation, Innovation, Leadership”, proved to be a prized takeaway in terms of business, entrepreneurship, education, media, strategy, and social awareness.

Since it was hosted by GRD Institute of Management and GRD School of Commerce and International Business, the majority of the participants were students from the host institutions.  Though there were corporate and institutional participants, the 16 keynote speakers from abroad and various parts of India, made it a point to focus their talk at the youth.  And that was the reason why the students were truly motivated and inspired.

The aim of the conference to serve as a platform to share latest research findings and also brainstorm new research ideas about the divergent issues emerging in the aftermath of globalisation, was more than justified.

Delegates had travelled from the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Taiwan, Maldives, and the United Arab Emirates, to speak, present papers, join in panel discussions and also witness video conferences.

There were a host of experts from the industry who spoke on business, entrepreneurship, and media, such as Gibson G. Vedamani, former Chief Executive Officer, Retailers’ Association of India, Mumbai, who impressed upon the participants that retail sector was one of the most productive sectors in India.

There were Subramani A., Senior Editor, The Times of India, Chennai, who elaborated on global media trends; Rahul Narvekar, the Chief Executive Officer of the NDTV Ethnic Retail, who traced his career graph to bring out the trends in ecommerce; Hiren Vyas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Sayona Education Systems Pvt. Ltd., Gujarat, who spoke on entrepreneurship; Kim Owens, President, Phoenix Performance Group, and Senior Consultant, General Motors, Australia, who spoke on finding one’s passion; and Sanjeev Sinha, Director PwC, Japan, who brought out the huge untapped potential in India-Japan relations.

There were also experts from education who shared their perspective on business and entrepreneurship, such as Chinnam Reddy, Dean, Faculty of Management, Gujarat Technological University, Ahmedabad, who pointed out what India had to learn in financial innovation; Zafaran Hassan, Professor, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, who highlighted the enhancement of flexible marketing, and Ivan Coste Maniere, Professor, Skema Business School, France, who traced the growth of luxury products globally.

And, then there were two authors.  Ketan Bhagat, author of the novel Child/God, and brother of acclaimed writer Chetan Bhagat, who asked the audience to put aside their education and start thinking like a child.   Dheeraj Sinha, the Chief Strategic Officer of Grey Group, and author of upcoming book ‘India Reloaded’, who said the country was still denying many opportunities to the youth.

Offbeat included the talk on the aim of gamification to make systems, services or activities more enjoyable and motivating, by Tobey Hayden, Communications and Business Consultant, Canada. Another one who fitted the offbeat bill was actor and entrepreneur Veera, lead actor of ‘Nadunisi Naaygal’, and ‘Rajathanthiram’.   Speaking about his journey as an actor and how he landed a lead role after a struggle of nine years, Veera effectively traced the path to entrepreneurship.

On innovation there could have been no better person than V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, inventor of EMAIL, to speak on.  He highlighted the fact that inventing something could turn into something ugly when the copyright of the invention was stripped from someone based on race and ego. His demand was that the innovator should be acknowledged for his work.

And, then last but not the least were the two protagonists who packed a punch in the social awareness arena.  Describing his Kairos moment – the moment within a moment, that supreme instant when a drastic change takes place – Sam Cawthorn, Chief Executive Officer of ‘Empowering Enterprises’, and a motivational speaker, who lives with a bionic arm, said that this brought a paradigm shift in his personality and made him strive to be a “greatest leader that one could possibly be”.

Ben Atherton-Zeman, Spokesperson for the ‘National Organisation for Men against Sexism’, spoke on violence against women and men’s responsibility to end it.  He brought out this powerful message not only with his words, but also the use of two finger puppets, which he used during his awareness creating sessions.

It was undoubtedly a veritable blend of the practical best practices of business and psychological, simple aspects of everyday life.  That this touched a chord in all the participants was a given.

This is how Dr. K.K. Ramachandran, Director, GRD Institute of Management, who was the Conference Chair, liked to sum up the conference:  “When you give someone Rs. 100 and that person returns the same amount, the net result is nothing.  But when you put forth an idea to a person and that person in turn puts forth another idea, then there are two ideas.  And, that is what ICIM 2015 was all about.  It was nothing but a platform that was used to multiply ideas.”

According to him, all the speakers had takeaways for the student, teacher, researcher, entrepreneur, and corporate representative alike.  That was because each speaker was chosen with a purpose.  And, that purpose was served when they went beyond their role description and personalised their speeches to reach out to the target audience.

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