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This is a report on the Innovate4Good day that took place in Singapore last weekend. It was originally posted on the Microsoft Citizenship Asia Pacific blog.
There is a palpable energy and enthusiasm at the Innovate4Good@Microsoft event today in Singapore. The event kicked off with a warm welcome from Clair Deevy, Citizenship Lead for Microsoft Asia Pacific. “The right tools and technology will unlock opportunities we don’t even know exist yet. Youth are changing the world and we are paying attention.”
From the start, participants were busy sharing their experiences. Facebook and Twitter were abuzz with status updates and tweets from the first day of the conference and kept the conversation going outside the conference hall. The #innovateforgood and #innovate4good hashtags saw continuous live tweets from participants as well as retweets from all over Asia Pacific. Five videos from the conference were posted on the Citizenship APAC Twitter feed and a video interview with Ponheary Ly received 145 hits within an hour of posting. By the end of the day, the 14 images and 5 videos that were posted by the team on Twitter registered more than 850 views.
Bernie Jones, Director of IMPACT Corporate Training and summit facilitator, led the group in a series of dynamic and interactive team activities to get the participants to work together and think creatively. From getting a cork out of a bottle to designing a house together with very strict communication limitations, the group has learned to use positive interactions to help the creative 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 believes deeply that school is the answer to opportunity. Educate one child at a time and you can change the world. “I want all students to be connected to the world, for schools to have computers and kids to learn computer skills so they can connect to the world to learn even more.”
The participants have been challenged to learn something new, listen to novel 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 learned through the house building exercise, one participant said, “Recognize and accept other ideas when they are better than your own.” Laughter, teamwork, creativity and 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 help solve key social challenges related to various issues that can be helped by technology, such as education, healthcare and employment.
Some of the best messages of the day: Believe in yourself. Believe in the power of change.