A Good Kind of Madness in Singapore

 Innovate4Good@Microsoft mindmap

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.

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