For me, the experience of studying in the U.S. was decisive in me gaining self-confidence, and that forms the basis for a person to feel the strength and motivation to change the world for the better.
Serbia is a country that has a lot of potential when it comes to innovation, admittedly like any other country in the world. We have a long history of innovation, from Tesla and Pupin onwards. Innovation is born in various forms: in sports, science, business, etc. Novak Đoković is an innovator – he revolutionized tennis with his speed of shifting movement from shot to shot. He is today studied and copied by younger generations. Branko Babić, the founder of PhiBrows, is an innovator, and he’s here in Serbia. He can provide a lot of advice on this topic. Just like Mate Rimac in Croatia.
Firstly, I think the key is in the ambition to change the world, to leave our mark on humanity, to ensure our children have the self-confidence to feel that they can do it. Nothing motivates people more than the opportunity to make an “impact,” to change the world for the better; to offer something that’s differentiated, better than what exists, and that’s in high demand. For children to have a passion for what they choose to do, for them to have the ambition to be “worldly.” And to believe they can do so. Novak and Branko are good examples of that.
Secondly, it would be good for our successful, wealthy people to invest as venture capitalists in new companies devised and pushed by kids. That would help those children become “worldly” with the provision of capital, advice, and their own connections.
Thirdly, the education system should also be transformed into one that instills a sense of self-confidence in people, and not the other way around, as it has been to date, filtering children from elementary school onwards. For instance, I only gained academic self-confidence in America. Growing up in Novi Sad, in our education system, I thought I was extremely limited. I’m sure that every person can be successful, and an innovator – they just have to sufficiently interested in something. People today spend their entire lives learning, and you never know when a window of genius will open up for someone. So, the education system must be adapted to shape people who have the agility to learn, and new quality will emerge from that. America has nothing special to offer when it comes to innovation models, other than the three things that I’ve just listed.