The last week has been pretty amazing! Neil (from the council) and I have been busy bees here in Rio after a hectic few weeks beforehand pulling together the NESTA phase 2 bid for the second phase of the Creative Councils programme.
After sending off the NESTA proposal for the 26th April we packed like mad for the Living Labs Global awards, to get over to Rio in time for the ceremony on the 2nd and the summit on the 3rd may, where we had been shortlisted for an award from around 100 applicants in the Cape town category. Cape Town have challenges with engaging their businesses and community with the council to help solve their problems too, and the Genius project seemed to fit their challenge well. We found out on the evening of 2 May just how well, when we were delighted to hear that we had actually won!!
Twenty one cities took part with a challenge each and there were sixteen companies picked to help solve them (one company scooped 4 awards!) These businesses are now invited to pilot the solution in the respective city they applied to help, and so our next step is to work with Cape Town over the next year to impliment a pilot of the GeniUS programme there: Cape GeniUS!
We met the lovely Loui who was on the adjudication panel for Cape Town and found out more about the specifics; 20% digital enablement in the area, expensive internet fees and lower literacy rates than in York as well as a lot less money kicking about. They do have 100% cellular phone coverage though so that is something we need to consider which may be very useful. Cape Town also has four universities and we could draw on the expertise found there too. So, in a nutshell - no mean feat, but we are willing to give it a go and help them through sharing our learning and techniques. Any advice or expertise from the GeniUS York community would also be a great help to them and us!! We will post the Cape Town presentation on the platform to give you more information. We are hoping to get cracking on the next couple of weeks with preliminary talks and we will keep you posted regularly.
During the summit we met some trully inspirational people, most notably Sascha who is one of the directors of Living Labs Global who is committed to helping to positively impact 21 million people through his program, Rodrigo from CDI who is helping 70 low income communities to become digitally enabled (including the Apps for Good programme in the UK).
On the 4th May we visited a favela (slum) here in Rio, which historically has been the place for violence, drug trafficking and prostitution but which now has an amazing programme and community centre which is used to help the residents of the favela to learn basic computer skills and then teach each other, to become qualified and experienced in something which can give them a future. The visit was an eye opening and humbling experience. This is all part of Rodrigo and the CDI team's good work. Both of these inspirational people are 'Ashoka fellows' (global leaders for the future of the planet and it's inhabitants). It was an honour to talk to them and learn about their projects, as well as meeting and getting to know the other 150 global innovators at the summit.
Our heads are full to bursting with ideas for York and beyind after meeting them.
We believe that this learning will help us shape the GeniUS! programme even further, to adapt it for other communities and to improve it for our own project as well as generating ideas for another load of initiatives to bring to the city.
So we have much much more to do! We have 6-9 pilots to drive forward as phase two of the GeniUS York project, from the super ideas generated on the platform and developed and refined through the workshops and discussions we have had with you over the last 4 months. If we reach phase 2 of NESTA's Creative Councils programme we will have the opportunity to scale this work out to 3-5 other councils in the UK too. We want to build on the foundations of this and the relationships made at the Living Labs Global Awards and summit to create more good initiatives in York working with some of the innovative and transformational ideas, people and pilots presented there, and if we are really lucky we may even have the chance to host an award here in York in the future!
So onwards and upwards! Thanks for your support and enthusiasm so far and we hope you will continue to be an active part of the innovation rennaisance that we are creating collectively here in York and further afield!