We arrived at the Techonomy conference and have been hanging out with the folks from RandomKid and Youth Venture, immensely enjoying the sessions during, in-between, and after! SweatMonkey’s unique perspective on Techonomy comes from our mission to connect students and schools with organizations, using technology to cultivate service learning, community service, and civic engagement, and empowering students to enact change in their communities using internet-enabled social networking that is already familiar to them.
As the Techonomy conference focuses on businesses, governments, entrepreneurs, inventors, and engineers, we’re here to add one more to that list: youth. As the manifesto states,
Techonomy celebrates the notion that humanity can invent its way out of the messes it has helped create. It also implies a social dimension that reaches beyond the rugged individualism usually associated with inventors and entrepreneurs. To overcome the entrenched interests that often stand in the way of the rapid implementation of newer, better solutions, we need not only clever physical innovations, but also social innovations that enable us to take advantage of and scale up technology’s potential. To bring about change on a meaningful scale, engineers and entrepreneurs must become, in effect, social engineers and social entrepreneurs, joining forces and using every available tool–such as internet-enabled social networking–to hasten change.
Lest we forget that kids TODAY are learning about their impact on social change: by taking classes on social entrepreneurship, by being required to meet a number of volunteer or service learning hours…we must remember that TODAY’S YOUTH are the ones who are being guided, by us, into inventing their way out of the messes previous generations helped create, by providing them with the knowledge, the technology, and the conscience to make an impact. Take, for example, Amy Chyao, 16, of Richardson, Texas, Kevin Ellis, 18, of Vancouver, Wash. and Yale Fan, 18, of Beaverton, Ore., each of whom were top winners in the Intel International Engineering and Science Fair, representing the next generation of entrepreneurs, innovators, and scientists. We need to provide more of these types of opportun ities. Let’s not forget to include the kids, as they hold the key to the future success of the philosophy of Techonomy, and to a better quality of life.