The presentation at UNICEF's NYC headquarters went really well, and it was wonderful to see the inside of the Innovation Unit's office and get to meet some of the smart people that work there. We received some positive feedback from our presentation on ED.bot, and UNICEF folks seemed genuinely intrigued by the potential of an educational content bot co-opting popular mobile chat platforms.
Overall, the Doing Good is Good Business class really trained us to take an unblinking look at the difficult work of the humanitarian tech sector. The ruthless adaptability necessary to survival and doing strong work in this field really influenced my approach to research, ideation, and prototyping. Through weekly reading and writing on a diverse mix of case studies and 'fail stories', I put into better practice what we know to be true, yet difficult: that very few ideas and solutions are worth your precious treatment. We must throw out far more ideas than we hold onto if we want to access the truly good ones, and 'Doing Good' made clear the importance to me of this humbling and repetitive rhythm of process. This is especially true when you're new to a field, as I was to humanitarian tech, and I found it often much more valuable to stay quiet and listen to what our teachers and expert guests had to say.
I particularly reaffirmed my love for research in this class. Whether it was diving deep one week into GiveDirectly and the moral and economic questions surrounding a Universal Basic Income, or spending multiple weeks researching and ideating solutions surrounding the future of education, mobile connectivity in emerging economies, and how small bits of curated educational content might have vast implications if existing network orchestrator platforms like YouTube, WeChat or WhatsApp could be leveraged effectively as partners. The idea that education's future in more and more areas of the world will not be classroom based, humans-teaching-humans, is perhaps a strange reality, but it's certainly the only clear eyed solution when you compare how quickly we're outpacing the projected numbers for needed teachers vs retiring teachers against the promise of a rapidly shifting employment landscape due to the 4th Industrial Revolution. Education will have to adapt to offer people fluid new skill formation when they seek it, and if the mobile phone + A.I. education bots begin to take the place of human teachers it will not be because it's a richer or more enjoyable edification but simply because they can better keep pace with a Peak Youth world.