I was fortunate to be selected as a participant at Canada's first National Youth Leadership and Innovation Summit (NYLIS) back in April. Although I don't count as a youth anymore - that's reserved for those 29 an under in this case - it was inspiring to see 200+ people from all over Canda come together and start planning the future and to start thinking about how Autodesk can work more closely with the local innovation and social impact community at our future home at MaRS Discovery District.
NYLIS took place over two days. The first day was largely taken by politicians talking about innovation (this event was inspired by Justin Trudeau winning the federal election and being known as Canada's Youth Prime Minister). What was really interesting is that most of the talk was slanted towards business innovation: start-ups, entrepreneurs and established companies reinventing themselves to be more competitive. From what I could tell, the majority of attendees, myself included, were more interested in social innovations, or at least investing in social innovation as a foundation to support business innovation - making a safe and supportive culture for innovators:
These kinds of things would lead to increasing employment rates, reversing the brain drain and innovation in business and science.
One other very important theme at NYLIS was how we could support and work with our indigenous peoples on reconciliation and decolonization. In a true show of leadership, the indigenous members of NYLIS staged an intervention to share what they were feeling and how they would prefer to work. They shared some personal accounts and as I reflect on these they are just generally good rules for anyone and certainly important to any teams involved in innovation:
This resulted in a well-deserved standing ovation and everyone went outside for a smudge ceremony to release the negative energies. This whole part of NYLIS gave everyone a new closeness and energy for working together for a great future.
If you want to know more about NYLIS, you can get in touch with the organizing team from MaRS Studio Y and sign up to see the first draft report slated for the end of June. There is also some great background research to read on the NYLIS site.