“Creativity is an act of defiance.” ~ Twyla Tharp

In the opening plenary at the 2016 Nexus Global Youth Summit, a 14 year old scientist blew the audience’s minds… or at least mine.

A tiny figure with a cute voice, almost lost in the middle of a big stage, revealed once again the power of one of the greatest human capacities: the ability to image a new future and create it.

This young man named Max Loughan, is exploring ways to make electricity without burning fossil fuels, just as Nikola Tesla did 75 years ago when he studied how to re-use free energy from the atmosphere.

Now, in 2016, in the boiler room in his parents’ home, Max created an energy-harvesting device built from a coffee can, wire, two coils, and a spoon… for less than 15 dollars.

If there is one human capacity that excites me the most, that is the ability to create. It gives me the same sensation of being in-love: no sense of time, butterflies in my stomach, and the belief that everything is possible…

And this is my takeaway from Max’s talk. It’s not even about the artifact itself. It’s about the attitude about life.  This young man made me remind that the world is not given, that our systems and societies, and structures, and technologies are something that we have designed, therefore, these designs can be tweaked, hacked, re-envisioned…

I truly believe that as human beings, as part of this world we need to feel empowered, and have a sense of agency over the things that surround us.

We don’t need to be all physicists, or mathematicians, or Nicola Tesla… everyone has their own vocation, their own power, their own art and magic. We just need to remember our incredible capacity to imagine new possible realities, and as Max beautifully said “To make the world a better place, to invent a future where people can be happy and safe.”

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