Inspiring the Next Generation: ThinkNation

Our business specialises in supporting companies in the technology and digital sectors. We work with some highly innovative clients - clients who are innovative in part because of the constant stream of new talent they hire and nurture through the organisation. Due to these working relationships, we can see the importance of inspiring young people to understand how to use technology and become experts on how it can help them and society as a whole.

Last month, when we had the privilege of being asked to work with Lizzie Hodgson, a digital specialist and Drupal evangelist, we jumped at the chance. In 2014, Lizzie organised the Digibury Weekender, a one-day tech, digital and cultural festival, and this planted the seed of an idea to create an event for young people.

The result is ThinkNation, which is intended to inspire and support young people, artists and thought leaders to tackle how technology impacts our everyday life both now and in our future.

An event on Saturday 5 December 2015 at The Gulbenkian, University of Kent, was the cornerstone for ThinkNation’s ambition and brought to life how passionate Lizzie is and what can be achieved with a single-minded goal.

Hosted by television presenter, Rick Edwards, discussions at the event wove together themes about innovation and youth, social engagement and ownership. Attendees discussed how technology impacts our everyday life and is shaping the future, with talks addressing questions on artificial intelligence, space exploration, immortality, social media and screen time.

Lizzie says: “ThinkNation was all about inspiring young people to be creative and tech thought leaders. It did that and more - over six and a half hours, in front of an amazing audience, 17 performers, 19 speakers and one fantastic host tackled five questions on how tech is impacting everyday life and shaping our futures, from the perspective of young people.

To be honest, I'm still trying to absorb the day itself - but the energy and enthusiasm of everyone involved was brilliant. We couldn't have hoped for more and I hope this wrap-up film gives you a flavour of the day.”

Cara Ellison, world renowned writer and game critic discussed whether screen time helps or hinders us to live in the moment. Cara says “Millennials have adapted to think in increasingly creative ways to uncover new opportunities, with the internet delivering a world that’s less disappointing. Young people are often blamed for many of society’s problems, but nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is that they hold the key to a smarter and more innovative future for us all.”

Calum Chace, a renowned futurist, who spoke at ThinkNation said: “I believe that the current generation of teenagers will be the most important one yet. We are facing technological and economical singularities that will create a make or break situation for humanity. Initiatives, such as ThinkNation, helps the next generation get engaged in and prepared for the exponential growth of technology.”

ThinkNation has reminded us just how vital it is to us to support initiatives which allow young people an opportunity to think creatively, harness the drive to ask questions and to achieve better things with technology.

Thanks to Holly Webb for the image. https://twitter.com/HollyWebbImages