By Crossing Wang, Community Affairs Manager and Sze-Yunn Pang, Citizenship Manager
What happens when you have 130 smart, energetic, and committed young people together for a day and a half? In Beijing recently we had a heady mix of enthusiasm, networking, great conversations and some fantastic ideas on how to have a positive impact on society. But most importantly, there were young people who came together and changed their perspective on what is possible.
At Innovate4Good@Microsoft Beijing, we brought young people from across China together for a series of conversations about the opportunities they see to make positive change in their society and create opportunities for their own future.
Participants at the Innovate4Good @Microsoft event in Beijing
We started our time together hearing from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who spoke at the Microsoft Live to Code Event in Peking University. His enthusiasm for Microsoft and impact of technology stayed with us throughout our time together.
We heard from Liang He, a Tsinghua University student who has started a social enterprise to benefit children of Chinese migrant workers and encourage corporations to donate to local charities. We also saw how Shaobo Su and his friends have harnessed the benefit of technology by bridging the distance between deaf and hearing young people.
These stories of young people who have seen challenges in their own communities and used technology to create solutions to address them are inspiring.
What was clear throughout the event was the desire that each of the individuals in the room had for creating positive change in their local communities, in their country and in the world. The collective feeling about what is possible when people work together was a dominant theme. Whether the discussion was about familial support for migrant parents and children, assistance for the elderly and people with disabilities, or issues such as food security, we have no doubt that these incredible young people will make a positive impact in the world.
Throughout the day’s discussion, the teams narrowed down dozens of ideas to 11 succinct issues and substantive ways to address them. Attendees challenged each other to think about “how” and “what if” and “why”, working to help their peers develop even better thinking about how their ideas could work in reality.
The ideas generated were varied, thoughtful and impactful from reducing energy consumption through construction, to civil society infrastructure, assistance for the elderly, nonprofit use of technology, and creating better assistance for people with disabilities. All these areas inspired attendees to create something that provides society with greater benefit.
Innovate4Good@Microsoft was an event filled with thoughtful dialog, good ideas, and the smart young people who have the desire to make a positive impact in their world. We look forward to partnering with them in China and as part of our global Innovation4Good community.