There is a palpable energy and enthusiasm at the Innovate4Good@Microsoftevent today in Singapore. The event kicked off with a warm welcome from ClairDeevy, Citizenship Lead for Microsoft Asia Pacific. “The right tools andtechnology will unlock opportunities we don’t even know exist yet. Youth arechanging the world and we are paying attention.”
From the start, participants were busy sharing their experiences. Facebookand Twitter were abuzz with status updates and tweets from the first day of theconference and kept the conversation going outside the conference hall. The#innovateforgood and #innovate4good hashtags saw continuous live tweets fromparticipants as well as retweets from all over Asia Pacific. Five videos fromthe conference were posted on the Citizenship APAC Twitter feed and a videointerview with Ponheary Ly received 145 hits within an hour of posting. By theend of the day, the 14 images and 5 videos that were posted by the team onTwitter registered more than 850 views.
Bernie Jones, Director of IMPACT Corporate Training and summitfacilitator, led the group in a series of dynamic and interactive team activitiesto get the participants to work together and think creatively. From getting acork out of a bottle to designing a house together with very strict communicationlimitations, the group has learned to use positive interactions to help thecreative thinking and problem-solving processes.
Ponheary Ly, CNN Hero of the Year 2010 and Social Entrepreneur,inspired the group with her talk on how she is educating youth in rural Cambodia.As a teacher, and later a tour guide, Ponheary has a passion for education and believesdeeply that school is the answer to opportunity. Educate one child at a timeand you can change the world. “I want all students to be connected to theworld, for schools to have computers and kids to learn computer skills so theycan connect to the world to learn even more.”
The participants have been challenged to learn something new, listen tonovel ideas and be open to things they don’t understand. “If you ask questions,you will soon ‘see’ something you may have initially dismissed or not understood,”said Bernie.
The youth are taking this idea to heart. When asked what they learnedthrough the house building exercise, one participant said, “Recognize and acceptother ideas when they are better than your own.” Laughter, teamwork, creativityand an enthusiastic “shiock” (Malay for extreme excitement, woohoo!). Clearly, everyone is having a great time.
Tomorrow will bring even more enthusiasm and collaborative work to helpsolve key social challenges related to various issues that can be helped bytechnology, such as education, healthcare and employment.
Some of the best messages of the day: Believe in yourself. Believe in thepower of change.