On October 24th, SAP hosted a full day of activities around "A World of 7 Billion". The expectation is that on October 31st, the world will have had a population of 7 billion.
To learn about the executive round table that kicked off the day at SAP, please read my blog: "Innovating for a World of #7Billion: Executive Roundtable at #SAP".
Part two of the day was an Innovation Jam, which this blog will focus on.
The teams that were comprised of a mix of thought leaders, technology experts, designers, marketing, communications, and business experts, students, and non-profits assembled in groups (based on the color of their name tags) around at least 7 tables in the Co-Innovation Lab at SAP in Palo Alto.
My group included three topic experts from NGOs BSR and Endeavor, as well as Stanford who had all physically visited and provided support in many developing nations. It was interesting to hear their points of views and experience, although there was not a lot of time for chit chat. Unfortunately, two of those experts had to leave in the afternoon to tend to their day jobs, which was a bit disappointing for the rest of us. Luckily, experts from Ashoka visited our group frequently to provide answers to our questions.
After SAP CMO Jonathan Becher kicked things off and we got to see a few videos with background information on the challenge(s), some time was spent introducing all teams to the concept of Design Thinking, which I had luckily already learned about and implemented at the Inclusion workshop at SAP TechEd in Las Vegas. Our facilitator from SAP, Andrea did a good job keeping everybody focused and on time. We had about 4.5 hours to come up with a solution, which might sounds like a lot but we were rushing through.
How can girls in developing countries get a secondary education? Secondary education is middle and high school. We were tasked to come up with a feasible solution.
Our team of experts started to focus on the Democratic Republic of Congo, as it seemed a country that could use a lot of support. But as it turned out that the government does not even support primary education for girls, we decided that we'd either have to focus on primary education first or switch.
Further research unveiled that Rwanda has a good track record in primary education, so we figured there is a good foundation to build on, plus, the government is likely to support further education.
We put together our persona: Trinity, 10 years old, lives and works on a farm, has 4 siblings who she needs to watch and her dream is to be a teacher.
How can we enable her to go to school, fulfill her dream, while convincing her parents that this is in everybody's interest?
I am not going to describe the following hours in excruciating details, but will say that we really appreciated the ideas that we received on Twitter, e.g. "Check out Khan Academy", "Look at Gretta charities"...
We had to make a lot of educated guesses and were not afraid to attack some of the minute details like, how would school materials be transported by the teacher? Where would books be stored?
We drew a nice 6 square "comic strip" to present our solution to the judges at 3:30 PM in front of live streaming cameras. Three minutes that definitely get your adrenaline going. I tried to get people on Twitter to "vote" for us :-).
For Trinity to be able to go to school, this has to happen early and/or late in the day, as during the day she has to work on the farm and help with the siblings. In addition, as she looks after her siblings most of the time, the girls of Trinity's age can form a "collaboration group" where some girls watch the kids while other girls study and vice versa.
We also believe that mobile devices and movies can make good learning aids. As I learned, most likely the parents would own a mobile device and Trinity would have to share that mobile device and possibly share devices with other girls in her collaboration group.
The teacher has a moped and will bring handouts to the class (which is already difficult on a moped as it's a big pile of paper). Classes take place in the community center and at the houses/huts of the girls where the collaboration group meets.
In central places, movies that educate can be shown, as well as videos like the ones form Khan Academy.
In this scenario, the teacher is mobile and mobile devices are learning aids.
There are also visits from Rwandan's who started with nothing and have worked there way up through education and hard work. They come to town centers to talk about how they became successful and encourage education.
As Trinity wants to be a teacher, she gets the opportunity to teach some younger children; she does not have much time but she knows this is a good way for her to learn. And her parents want a better future for her.
Obviously, this is a very simplified version of what would need to happen and I am leaving out some parts here. But it was a first attempt to solve the problem. The ladies on our team from the NGOs understood where donation funds could be solicited to support this vision.
VOICES ON TWITTER
Last, let me share some interesting voices on Twitter around this part of the day, the InnoJam. They also provide some information on the other winners (our team came in second and we got $25 gift cards to be used at GlobalGiving.org).
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