If you’re looking for a bit (or a tidal wave) of inspiration, head on over to the livestreams of the Social Good Summit and the Clinton Global Initiative. You can watch the sessions and participate in the conversations through Twitter with the hashtags #SGSGlobal and #CGI2012.
Here are my favorite highlights of the day:
Government is Worthy of Our Innovative Spirit
UN Ambassador Susan Rice spoke eloquently and passionately about public education, technology, government, and the need to serve. Every sentence had a nugget of wisdom in it, and the one that impressed me the most was her argument that we cannot give up on government as inefficient and hopeless because there are things that government can do that no other entity can do. She used herself as an example – as an African-American woman, she has the right to vote in this country because of government. She reminded all of us that government can and should provide opportunity for everyone within its reach.
A Lack of Secrets is a Blessing
Sol Adler, Executive Director of 92Y, gave a concise and powerful contemplation with these two questions: What would the world have been like in 1939 if we had Twitter? How many more relatives would I have been able to know if we actually knew what was happening in Europe? (Most of Mr. Adler’s family perished in the holocaust.)
He introduced Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Former Prime Minister of Poland, who explained that our world now is suffering from atrocities that are as grim as the holocaust and that technology has the ability to end that. If we can raise awareness and encourage action to support peace and understanding, then we will be able to truly be able to create a better world.
Unemployment Is a Flaw of the System, Not the People
I’ve heard Muhammad Yunus speak a number of times before and he never fails to impress and inspire. His life mission is to alleviate poverty through opportunity, and this is within our grasp if we can harness the collective creative power of people through technology. His message is clear, “Concentrate on building businesses to solve social problems. Human creativity is limitless.”
Designing for Impact
The Clinton Initiative took the definition of design and expanded it exponentially to serve as its theme for this year’s event. President Clinton kicked off the event with this poignant sentiment – “We live to prove the cooperation works better than conflict. We act with far great impact when we rely on one another’s strength.” And in that spirit the conversation turned to the subject of design.
Tim Brown of IDEO elegantly explained that all designers, no matter what they are designing, no matter if they have formal training or not, begin with the same question: “How can I be helpful in this situation?” And they find that answer in the field. They roll up their sleeves and work. “Design is learning by doing, not just thinking.”
The conversations continue today and tomorrow for both events. Check out their websites for more details. Talk soon.