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Youth Employment Challenge Community Ambassador Update #2

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Shane Zhao is our current volunteer Challenge Community Ambassador. You'll see him popping up across the Youth Employment Challenge with handy tips and words of encouragement – and posting community updates here like a true champion!

As we're quickly approaching the Ideas phase of this challenge, we should be impressed by the incredible array of research contributions that have been shared so far! In my last blog post, I featured a glimpse into the breadth of insights from the community. For this week, I wanted to highlight some of the voices and faces behind the contributions. More specifically, I wanted to share some of the amazing collaborative exchanges that have been weaving together the research threads on the platform. In many ways, this is where the real innovation starts to happen.

OpenIDEO Youth Employment Challenge Collaborators July 30, 2014

Collaborative Conversations
A great professor once ingrained in me that: "It is much wiser to be innovative than to be inventive. It is much more powerful to build upon the merits of others than to try and reinvent the wheel each time." This great lesson is especially true within the contexts of our OpenIDEO community where we have been building upon each other's inspirations to create exciting new possibilitie. Shown above is a mosaic of all the collaborators that have made amazing research contributions as of today. From another perspective, this visual is a representation of the wonderful conversations that have been taking place between the research entries. Let us take a look at some of the provocative exchanges that have been brewing in the Comments section of these posts:
 

Community Voices
Off the platform this week, I’ve also connected with several of our collaborators who have been especially engaged in the research phase. Leigh Cullen, Tim Huang, and Daniel Kolodziej have not only shared a phenomenal number of research contributions, they’ve also been very active in exchanging thoughts with the OpenIDEO community. I wanted to share some of their thoughts on what they have gained from the collaborative process so far, and on what they will hope to take onto the next phase.



What are some compelling insights that you have gained from community feedback?
  • Daniel: OpenIDEO Team member, Meena Kadri, gave some great feedback on how toys could be used to inspire young people whilst sharing another great example by means of the Goldieblox engineering toys for girls. This insight made me think how we might consider gender and preconceived ideas about specific career paths. 
 
  • Leigh: The challenge is multifaceted with a wealth of opportunity areas around gender imbalance, cultural sensitivities, soft vs hard skills, and how lack of employment manifests itself within, and is interpreted by, different communities. In developing countries, some agriculturally sustained communities desire better networks to learn how to maintain thriving crops and livestock. Other communities require basic numeracy and literacy skills. Sometimes self-esteem has to be taught. In developed countries, educated youth find themselves without work due to lack of professional skills. And skilled, employed youth find it difficult to build careers due to a general dearth of jobs. That said, youth can be powerful change instigators within their own communities. And, mentors can make a big difference.


What sparked your different research entries? i.e. web searches, the challenge brief, other contributions, off-line conversations, and more?
  • Daniel: Being an active member of the awesome Apps for Good initiative sparked my inspiration for the different research entries, so far as it helped to form my web search terms. This allowed me to discover some other great examples of how young people can be supported in their pursuit of suitable employment opportunities.
 
  • Tim: In the case of Homeboy Industries, I had the opportunity to visit one of their cafes in person and interact with some of their young employees, who were remarkably friendly and dedicated to their work. It was so inspiring to see their passion for what they do that I knew I had to share their organization's story. With some of the other research entries, I've come across them in conversations with friends or the websites of organizations I keep up with ( Echoing Green, etc.). 


If you were to take one key inspiration (from either your own research or from others) onto the Idea phase, what would that be?
  • Leigh: OpenIDEO community member–from Nairobi, Kenya - Wekesa Zablon’s comment to me resonates. He says the lack of opportunity creates the feeling of “loneliness.” This is a void we are trying to alleviate and fill with connection points as part of this challenge. I look forward to bouncing ideas around with the inspired OpenIDEO community as the challenge moves into the Ideas Phase.
 
  • Tim: I love the idea of starting upstream, with reforming our education system. Building in more space for creativity and collaboration, experiential project-based learning, exposure to equitable, real-world opportunities, authentic assessments, and the genuine expression and empowerment of the learner are all areas where we could start. A reformed education system eventually leads to a re-envisioning of our job market, where both our employers and our youth can co-create new employment pathway.


The mosaic of challenge contributors above will continue to grow as we wrap up our research and move onto the Ideas phase of this challenge. I will be updating this visual to include more collaborators, so please do reach out to me if I had missed your portrait this time around! In the meantime, I will look forward to all the provocative collaborations on the challenge boards in the weeks to come!
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Community Champions , Youth Employment Challenge 2

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Photo of Khin Tye

Shane, thanks for the comprehensive and integrative post. To add to Daniel Kolodziej https://openideo.com/profiles/danielkolodgee reference to Apps for Good, about supporting young people in pursuing employment opportunities, I thought this most recent post by Amara Khan, one of the Apps for Good young person about her work placement is relevant http://blog.appsforgood.org/ . Her experience and advice to her peers can give us ideas of how to create fulfilling work opportunities for young people. I used to work for Apps for Good and noticed that the young people who gave, helped and shared willingly, often got a positive return back far more than what they thought.

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