Sunday, June 9, 2013

Innovate for Good Manila

Mano Amiga Institutional Development Manager, Grace Cadenilla shares her experience.

I was sitting beside software developers and game designers listening to them talk about the latest advancement in technology and there I thought I was in another dimension, space and time, clueless of every word. Technology isn’t exactly my strength so it seemed very surreal for me to be a part of it.

Having no I.T. background, I felt out of place and worried about the fact that I might not add any value to the discussion. But since we’re not exactly going back to the age of typewriters, I thought it was the perfect opportunity for me to learn and adapt with technology.

Day 1: Problem framing, solution brainstorming and visual prototype planning. There were 10 teams with different problems. My team focused on enabling NGOs to achieve greater social impact and because technological skills weren’t to my advantage, I had to use my wild imagination and ask myself as an NGO worker, what help would I need? We came up with an idea to create a virtual community connecting individuals, non-profit organizations and corporations to collaborate and co-create to help shape a more competitive Philippines.

We aim to transform communities where more and more individuals are seeking to create social change in the society because of the ease of access to necessary support in executing their ideas and solutions to the social problems that they see. We also recognize that it is difficult to get someone to care. And we believe that it is due to the lack of awareness and education why social change is necessary. We aim to inform our people that it is cool to care about our community.

Day 2: Visual prototype presentation. The judges were able to point out the strengths and weaknesses of each of the projects. For us, there’s still a long way to go and there are hundreds of challenges ahead but with all the speakers who were able to inspire us and made us realize that those challenges make the fight worth it, they were able to inspire everyone to materialize our ideas, which is exactly what my team and I are working on today. As for me, the forum has now helped me to embrace technology, as we are moving towards making our project come to life.

Microsoft showcased the latest ideas that won in the Imagine cup. Every minute was a moment of astonishment and wonder. Microsoft also showcased Windows 8, how it’s built to be a rich and extensible media platform to learn, connect, create and make things possible through technology. I immediately thought how Windows 8 could be very useful in shaping our students in Mano Amiga and make learning more fun, interactive and engaging for them.

My fellow participants and all the people behind the forum gave a whole new meaning to the word youth. Our challenges in making a better world are endless but as long as someone moves and does something about it, we will always be one step closer to our goal. I am fortunate to be part of Innovate for Good. I am overwhelmed with the plethora of ideas and the solutions from like-minded individuals. It is both humbling and overwhelming to work alongside these bright innovators. It is more humbling to know that we’re collaborating to create a much-needed innovation in our country.

Indeed, Microsoft and Gawad Kalinga through Innovate for Good are paving the way to create a borderless society where people are working towards one common goal and purpose; ending our pressing issues like hunger, poverty, human trafficking and pollution through technology.

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