In an era of disruptive change, innovation and creativity are pivotal in the process of working together to find the right solutions to the challenges that it inevitably triggers.

Panel about the Sustainable Development Goals (SIGEF 2018 – Singapore)

The world is changing. While the realm of technology and information is expanding, many of us feel we are entering a new era that yet needs to be decrypted. I, myself, feel that my way of doing journalism is nothing short of obsolete, while many newsrooms nowadays rely on bots and digital engines to do part of the news-hunting that human beings would still be doing a not so long while ago. But journalists are not the only ones concerned. In Bangladesh, many workers are being deemed redundant in the apparel industry as machines are now performing their manual tasks. Likewise in Switzerland where pharmaceutical companies are firing at arm’s length due to the disruptive competition from MedTech startups. Which leaves me wondering if there really are ways to prevent the rise of unemployment, social unrest and poverty that these trends imply?

Yes, there are; and I am confident about that. The above examples are all picked off the media which, as we know, tend to be quite fussy about automation and robotics; but there is always a brighter side to things. Like, instead of the ‘robots are stealing human jobs’ speech, why not develop a ‘technology is helping us to work and live better’ discourse? From small villages in Africa to high-tech compounds in Europe, social innovation is a global reality, and it is building in us more hope into finding solutions for a far better quality of life than ever.

Consider SIGEF, the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum organized by Horyou; its 5th edition took place in Singapore, last September. Now a leading global event, SIGEF 2018 showcased examples of how human interactions with technology are liable to generate change for good. It also highlighted future energy solutions, smart cities accomplishments, and medical technology advances, while analyzing positive disruptive effects of Blockchain, and exploring promising areas of impact investing, in resonance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals that are set to shape better times to come.

The event notably introduced the realizations of noteworthy innovators such as Kavita Sinha, from Silver Spring Networks, who founded an NGO which uses brain implants to facilitate the inclusion of children with hearing disabilities, or Thuc Vu, co-founder and CEO of OhmniLabs’, who designed and set up an open innovation platform which calls on collaborations to make robotics more accessible.

In the words of Yonathan Parienti, founder and CEO of Horyou, the social network for social good, organizer of SIGEF, and initiator of HoryouToken, a cryptocurrency based on “Blockchain with a purpose”, SIGEF is a platform for the exchange of ideas and hope, where social innovation thrives to bring “real value for society while supporting constructive initiatives aimed at promoting sustainability and inclusion.” Initiatives like these can bring us together as a global society to share solutions and fast-forward thinking.

Events like SIGEF are crucial to show how social innovation can be initiated by everyone and, in most cases, it is sustainable and profitable. What we have learned after 5 years is that social innovation is a tool against ignorance and intolerance and to help open bridges to a healthier, smarter, and more inclusive society.

Be the change, be Horyou.

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