Youth Leads #5 : Innovation through Simplicity

18 Jun 2015

A month gone and a wealth of knowledge accumulated! Week 5 was by far the most inspiring thus far because we managed to meet many young and empowered, yet often unheard, youth. Of course, the highlight of our week was attending Dialog Ideamart’s IdeaBash 2015 held at the Dialog Future World (a big thank you to Shafraz for the invitation). What we saw at the event blew our minds and made all four of us truly appreciate the brilliance and unwavering potential of our Sri Lankan youth.

As individuals employed in the development sector working on social innovation, being exposed to technological innovation was something relatively new to most of us but also something very intriguing because it introduced us to the concept of techno-social innovation- a practice that will undoubtedly fast track Sri Lanka to greater heights. We met young people who have developed entire systems that simplify the way in which offices function through just a few sensors that detect and regulate settings such as temperature and electricity usage– an initiative that would ultimately lead to more sustainable and eco-friendly spaces.

Given UNDP’s recent commitment to greening initiatives and its focus on sustainability via solar power and net metering, I found this to be an interesting avenue for many places across the island, including our own UN Compound to look into further. Smart offices, think about that!

However, our most important takeaway from the whole session was that our fellow Sri Lankans needed to see more of what we saw; they needed to hear the stories we heard. What we saw here was that our young people, the Sri Lankan young people, were not just a part of the solution, they were the solution.

While our week outside the office was incredibly insightful and empowering, our UNDP colleagues continued to be very supportive and engaging by asking us to help with key initiatives. From working on establishing a common information sharing platform, to “greening” our offices and promoting eco-friendly practices, to having key discussions with members from all sections of civil society, it was good to see all four of us working so well and so closely with our respective cluster focal points. It is safe to say that even though it has been over a month since we started, the Youth Leads HQ is buzzing and we are only more excited and invigorated about what lies ahead.

Stay tuned to UNDP Sri Lanka’s Facebook and Twitter for information about some exciting developments coming your way. Until next time!

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