Introduction to Nyakongo Sustainable Development Conference (NSDC)
Nyakongo Sustainable Development Conference brings together social innovators, business entrepreneurs, philanthropists, policy makers, educationists and media to share their perspective on the future of development work and how we can all participate in transforming Nyakongo into a model sustainable community. NSDC will be an annual event held every December, except in 2016.
It provides an opportunity to review the current state of economic development in Nyakongo, challenges facing the community and the opportunities for ‘Big Development’. For it is by considering the limitations of current development approaches in a specific local context, but also by extracting successful elements of current approaches, that a new, competitive, socially accepted and environmentally sustainable economic architecture can emerge.
The conference is about examining new development mindsets, new systems, new skills and new alliances for leading change in the post-2015 era. We will share and develop ideas on how to make Nyakongo village a vibrant and effective community of problem-solvers so that development solutions finally outnumber the challenges. In particular, we will look at the following questions:
- How do we enable and empower new citizens in all categories–business, youth, educators, policy makers — to be engaged as transformative change agents?
- How do we create new teams of leaders who embrace and collaborate towards a shared vision of a sustainable village?
- What is the role of youth in the innovation ecosystem of a village?
Initial Ideas informing the Agenda:
1. From Partnerships to Co-creation
In our more fluid, interconnected world, addressing major social issues at scale necessitates that we innovate and partner. The ability to collaborate is now a distinct competitive advantage, but our thinking around partnerships needs updating. The government-business-academia–citizen divide remains blurred and development actors now have to extend beyond their organizational walls. But if we’re entering the era of co-creation, what can we do as a network of entrepreneurs to co-create intentionally and effectively? How can we shift not just our individual practices but the mindsets and structures of much larger institutions? Nyakongo SD Conference presents interactive dialogues about the end of partnerships and the future of co-creation.
2. Youth as a force for Good: From training to learning with head, heart and hands
In the face of critical and complex challenges, children and young people need to better develop creativity, imaginative problem-solving, teamwork, empathy, and inspiration so they can step into leadership roles in pursuit of purpose. In this conference, we will hear from a diverse group the vision for re-imagining learning, what the future looks like, and how each one of us can contribute to transform the way our children and youth work towards co-creating that future.
3. Moving the Ivory Tower to the Village: From Increased brain-print to increased hand-print
Scientists have become accustomed to working in increasingly small niches, insulated from much of the rest of the world. But the emergence of increasingly cheap and ubiquitous tools for data generation, storage, and analysis, anyone can do the kind of science that’s been the exclusive province of the academy. The scientific method itself isn’t changing, but the way it works in practice is going through massive shifts driven by data. So how do we bring the principles of transformative change to scientists themselves, many of whom have been trained in anti-collaborative practice and are rewarded for keeping to an old set of practices? And how do we find ways to ensure the emerging citizen science movement creates more change agents rather than mimicking the academy?
4. Reclaiming Policy for Social Progress:
Our societies are governed by laws and policies, and yet these are often seen as a barrier to, rather than an instrument for, social progress. How we can all reclaim and influence the law and policy in advancing our social change work and ultimately in building a more just, equitable and sustainable society?
5. Redefining the Expert: The Value of Letting Communities Lead
In our efforts to solve complex social problems, why do we so often overlook the contributions and expertise of communities and instead defer to consultants, philanthropists, investors, policymakers – and for that matter, entrepreneurs? Why do we set out to serve ‘clients’ or ‘beneficiaries’ and then fail to listen to them and follow their expertise? In doing so we often misdiagnose problems and design the wrong solutions. Hearing from the communities will challenge our stereotypes about the poor and disadvantaged. They will share why their success is determined and measured by the broad participation and contributions of all citizens as change agents.
6. Enterprise for Impact
For too long, social impact has been synonymous with organizational scale. But that is a limiting approach when it comes to transformative social change. What is the difference between growing an institution and growing an idea? Between direct and indirect impact? We will hear from leading entrepreneurs about how they approach achieving large scale social change, and about how they intend to challenge, invite and enable new actors to engage as change agents.
Draft Program for the 1st Nyakongo Sustainable Development Conference ((NSDC-2016)