Design & Innovation

Shapers Lab: Connecting Catalysts


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Muni on this:

“This is not a day to celebrate how awesome we are… this day is a small but significant step towards a country, if not a world wherein it’s not extraordinary to see the youth contribute to solutions in society, but rather, considered the norm.” 

So says Ms. Lynn Pinugu, founder of Mano Amiga Academy and Curator of Global Shapers Manila, as she welcomed participants in Shapers Lab, a developmental forum organized by the Manila hub of the Global Shapers Community and Globe Telecom Inc., and the final leg of Cat@lyst , a competition offering grants to socially-relevant start-ups. The catch? The idea must utilize technology in order to address a problem in the community.

 Catalysts for Change Indeed

But the youth can’t be denied of our innate awesomeness. Wasn’t it more than a hundred years ago when our National Hero Jose Rizal proclaimed with incredible foresight that “the youth is the hope of our future”?  Fifteen groups rose to meet the challenge of bridging technology and social responsibility by pitching their innovative ideas to a panel of twelve experts from different industries.

Among those that stood out is Bloodtype, designed to be an app that can save lives by connecting those in need of blood with pre-registered blood donors. Along the path of good governance is Wikipangako.Ph. Through crowdsourced information, an online database of promises made by elected officials would be created to keep leaders transparent and accountable. FindMyDok is an app that promises to make healthcare more convenient by connecting patients with doctors in their area as well as doctors with other doctors. eTapon is an app that would link Filipino households with nearby junkshops to promote proper waste management. Finally, commuters may soon have it easier with Direksyon.ph, an app that would provide cost-efficient and reliable suggestions on commuting in the metropolis across different modes of transportation.

These and more ideas pitched that day proved that technology has paved the way for ideas become solutions to problems, life-threatening, stress-inducing or otherwise. Senator Bam Aquino put it best when he asserted that these projects spearheaded by the youth are unknowingly providing ways in solving world problems such as poverty, climate change and unemployment.

Beyond Technology: A Call to Action

Ms. Minette Navarrete of Kickstart Ventures emphasized that the end goal is still action. She warned the participants on the dangers of slactivism, “clicking the ‘like’ button is not [the work of a] catalyst.”  Showing support to a cause or advocacy is only one part of the equation. How many times have we liked a Facebook Page out of courtesy or curiosity? Did we even take time to read its contents? For a goal to become fully realized, there must be concrete and offline action. Thousands of likes only mean popularity, nothing more.

When this popularity is maximized, resulting in people being able to participate in a cause – donate blood, volunteer time or simply be inspired to pursue their own advocacies – only then does it successful. Ultimately, technology is a tool to drive action, to make it easier for everyone to be a catalyst for change. The good news is that it has never been easier than at a time like this.

Innovation Begets Innovation

To this day, Rizal’s eternal words remain a challenge: for the youth of the future to be the hope of the succeeding generations. We utilize technology to bring about change and we have started the ripple effect in order to take care of this world better. But the work has barely begun. We challenge the future versions of ourselves to breathe new life into technology, provide solutions we have not thought of and let kindness and compassion fuel our innovations.

How do use your connections to make an impact in society?

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