A few months ago, I wrote an article about how Apps for Good, the brainchild of non-profit organisation CDI Europe, is helping to uplift the standards of British ICT. Apps for Good is basically an award-winning programme where young people learn to create mobile and Facebook apps that can change their world.
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the Apps for Good awards ceremony at the Barbican Centre in London presented by Maggie Philbin. That night was the result of the past 12 months where 1,200 students from 40 schools went through Apps for Good courses from which 200+ app teams had the chance to submit their app ideas. The awards ceremony gave the 14 finalist teams a chance to pitch their app, and from there, seven winners were chosen and given the chance to work with professional developers to bring their app to life.
Sitting in the audience, I couldn't help but feel a tinge of jealousy at the training and quality of education that these young kids were getting. It was certainly something that I hadn't received while I was in full-time education. I listened to the teams present apps in seven categories, namely The Power to Do More (sponsored by Dell), Well-Being (sponsored by the Nominet Trust), Learning (sponsored by NESTA), Community (sponsored by the Omidyar Network), Travel (sponsored by BlackBerry), Information (sponsored by Thomson Reuters) and Money (sponsored by Barclaycard), and was really impressed by their ideas, presentation skills and their thought process.
I'm not going to elaborate on the details of who won what category because in my opinion, all of the 14 finalist teams were already winners by making it this far. There were a variety of ideas presented including an app for keeping promises, an app for making mobile Oyster payments and even an app to help you record your feelings. It was apparent that the Apps for Good Awards inspired the children of this generation to utilize technology in an entrepreneurial way in collaboration with the various mentors and sponsors of the programme.
Jennifer Friday Jones, EMEA Giving Manager of Dell, states that "By placing technology in the hands of students, they are given the tools to enable them to maximize their learning ability and unleash their true potential to do more."
Similarly, Stephen Bates, Managing Director of Research In Motion UK and Ireland, said that "Fostering innovation is at the heart of everything we do. Inspiring today's youth to think creatively about the world around them and the technology that shapes the way we live our lives is crucial to creating sustained innovation in our business."
Although we may find it inspiring that Apps for Good creates an environment and curriculum to empower today's youth, I went away with the thought that the real pressure is on us adults to support the youth's digital and entrepreneurial prowess. We should definitely start by familiarizing ourselves with today's technology and embracing an entrepreneurial culture so that when these kids enter the workforce, we're ready to maximize their potential.