Innovation, innovation, innovation – the buzz word at a recent J Marshall event rang true for everyone. The “Innovative Approaches to Advocate for Child Rights,” an installment of the UNICEF Activate Talks series, was truly inspiring and aimed to encourage youth creativity. The event took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.
Panelists included Saba Ismail (Executive Director of Aware Girls), Erik Martin (University of Maryland student and game designer), Sofia Garcia-Garcia (facilitator of the “children working group” within the Major Group of Children and Youth), and Chernor Bah (former Sierra Leone refugee, youth advocate, and girl champion). They were each given five minutes to present their organizations and passions for the rights of the world’s youngest generations in an elevator style pitch. Moderator Femi Oke used her spunky personality to keep the session moving at an exhilarating pace. After the panelists had given their presentations, Femi facilitated a question and answer session from the live audience as well as from the online Twitter audience. The in-house and Twitter audiences helped spread the panelists’ messages around the world and further accentuated the talk’s focus on using innovation to find new ways to solve old problems.
During the Q&A portion of the event, panelists were asked where and how innovation develops. Sofia described innovation as a way to make things that don’t work, work. She stressed the importance of “unlearn[ing] the way we do things.” Erik proposed that innovation comes from “remixing” existing ideas and embracing failure as a learning tool. His last words to the audience were, “Fail a lot…failure is how you get somewhere.” Now that is advice everyone can appreciate! Keep following on twitter @UNICEF and @UNICEFTalk.