The role of personal relationships is a key piece of encouraging young people to develop their creative confidence, as shown by the amazing projects that won and by many of the Impact Stories.
However, major cultural institutions are another vital piece in stimulating creative confidence. The question is how they can be better leveraged as resources for young people. Art museums, theaters, and preforming arts complexes should be recognized as important arenas for young people to gain access to new artistic mediums and forms of creative expression.
Contemporary art museums play prominent roles in many global cities, and two of the most recognized institutions—The Tate Modern in London and the SFMOMA in San Francisco—are in the final stages of massive new development projects. With these openings and new capacities there is a real opportunity for incredible impact on the local youth in those regions and their relationship with the arts.
Both museums have lofty goals of local inclusion and community outreach efforts*. However, it remains to be seen if they will follow through with substantial programming that is accessible to young people. Cultural institutions for the Arts should act as community magnets for youth to find their creative confidence. However, there is a real risk of these institutions catering too much of their attention towards tourists; the Tate, for example, attracted 3.5 million out-of-town visitors in 2014**.
Yet there is incredible potential for the Tate and SFMOMA to shape many young lives. By embracing youth programs, identifying new opportunities for involvement by locals, and supporting the regional arts community, these types of institutions can have an enormously positive effect in spurring creativity and promoting artistic confidence for thousands of young people.
Alarmingly—half of all global refugees are children*, further emphasizing why world leaders need to find real solutions to improve education and expand learning opportunities for these young people across the world.
In doing so there needs to be an emphasis on employing a wide variety of teaching strategies because many of these students will have unrecognized learning disabilities that can impair educational performance if not addressed appropriately. In America in 2013, six percent of children living in families at or above the poverty line, and 12 percent of children below it, were identified as having a learning disability**.
Learning disabilities like dyslexia, dyscalculia or ADHD aren’t just ailments of western states but a developmental variation in human beings that pervades all cultures and societies. Refugee children face an onslaught of challenges in their daily lives, but leaders involved with strategic development to expand learning opportunities need to consider that there are additional challenges many of these young students might face, anywhere from 500,000 to 1million of them, if not more. For these students, the simple acts of reading elementary phrases can be incredibly challenging, but their capacity to learn and preform is not compromised in any other way. Unfortunately young students can easily be deterred from education for the rest of life if their learning styles find no place in their schools.
As schooling strategies for refugees becomes more formalized and when systems are put in place, attention needs to be paid to student refugees with learning disabilities.
This challenge has inspired many incredible projects that focus on opening educational opportunities immediately. My goal with these thoughts is that leaders who will be responsible for implementing future waves of education efforts on large scales should consider the widest possible lens in conceiving of the learning needs of the young people they are trying to reach.
*UN The Global Trends report 2014, globally 19.5 million refugees, 9.75 million children **Children Trends Data Bank
On a global scale, it is critical that leaders direct attention towards fixing broken transportation networks to ensure that prosperity can spread through the world fairly, efficiently, and sustainably. In many regions of the world, congestion is hitting untenable levels due primarily to increasing urban populations, poor public transport options, increasing numbers of single passenger cars on the road and an expanding trucking/delivery sector driven by ever-increasing global demand for goods.
When considering how to best address this problem it is important not to just think of big data solutions. ‘Smart Cities’ have gain significant attention in recent years and companies like Siemens would like to have you think that a city operating entirely on their system would be the most efficient*. Metro system improvements to increase efficiency are certainly an easy answer and definitely play a part when solving our transportation issues.
However, this is why we need innovation leaders to take a holistic view of the needs of citizens and riders. The ultimate goal should be to develop a diverse and flexible network of transit options to provide for the varied needs of a region’s inhabitants.
London is a great case study for exploring this idea of an innovation leader developing a large network of transit options based on the principles of human-centered design.
The reason this occurred is due to the fact that London has a powerful global leader, elected directly by London's citizenry, dedicated almost entirely to improving London’s transportation system. That person is the Mayor of London, currently Boris Johnson. The city of London did not have a mayor until 2000 when Parliament created the position due to strong political and public pressure, but they were careful not to vest too much authority to the Office. Unlike mayors in America and many other regions of the world, the role of London’s Mayor is largely to serve as an advocate, not an executive or administrator. The ongoing debates surrounding the location of London’s new airport and Boris Johnson’s inability to get his plan passed highlights some of the limits of the UK’s version of a mayor. HOWEVER, the Mayor of London has total authority over London’s Transportation System (TFL).
In a position that is largely ceremonial, London’s mayors have rightfully focused much of their attention on the transit system and have created a magnificent hodgepodge of transit options (including the Tube, Overground, High Speed Rail, Busses, Gondola, Ferries) in efforts to connect desperate sections of the Greater London Area. By working with an interdisciplinary team and embracing the physical realities and limitations of London’s urban landscape, Ken Livingston (former mayor) and now Boris Johnson have nurtured a web of interconnected modes of transportation that appropriately fit into the built environment.
No system is perfect and many Londoners would begrudge TFL and complain about the frequent Tube strikes. Yet, in a world filled with broken transit systems, London emerges as one of few global ‘winners’ in terms of proactively addressing transportation concern in their greater metropolitan region in an effective way.
There are many global challenges related directly to human survival that demand pressing attention from world leaders. But it is important to also keep in mind that issues surrounding transportation are central to the long-term economic and social success of regions across the globe. In this context, innovation leaders should embrace a more human-centered approach to transit design and follow London's lead in developing a wide range of modes of public transportation.