More Refreshing than Miley Cyrus

If you want to find out what young people are really up to don't go to Miley's new movie.  Instead, I recommend you read Youth-Driven Innovation in Canada by Vinod Rajaseekaran published in The Mark on March 29th. . Vinod is a Research Associate with the Public Policy Forum which is committed to engaging young people in mainstream public policy discourse.

Here are some quotes from his eloquent article:              

Youth are critical to the shaping of Canada's economic future. Therefore the development process of a next generation ecosystems must involve young Canadians.

Although young Canadians are creating change in different fields and spaces, they are underrepresented in conversations about Canada's public policy challenges.

While senior decision-makers understand the value of reaching across sectors for creative solutions, the notion of reaching across generations is, in most cases, un – or under – harnessed.

Couldn't agree more Vinod. Your sentiments and examples reflect my own experience. Inspired by your challenge I present a sample of some of the young entrepreneurs and innovators who have impressed me. (I will introduce you to more young innovators in future posts.)

David Eaves: Among his many talents David is a popular blogger, thoughtful commentator, social innovator, negotiations expert, 'app' inventor, specialist in open data, and open government activist.  Someone should make a career of following up on the ideas that tumble out of his pocket.  David believes the literacy of the future is digital, a sobering thought for my generation.  Check him out at:

Catherine Etmanski: Catherine is reinventing how academics engage in social change.  Her thesis on Art and Social Change, included producing a play and successfully defending its unorthodox methodology. From her position at the University of Victoria she has jointly designed and is co-teaching with one of the largest non profits in India (PRIA)( ),  a new Master's degree in International Community Development which incorporates the best in how to support without taking over. .

Jessica Fraser: Jessica is founder and co-producer of Mobile
Movement a creative variation on micro-finance. Using mobile phone
technology Jessica has made it possible for donors/investors to
communicate directly with young entrepreneurs in the slums of Nairobi.
It makes giving come alive, literally, and you will be pleasantly
surprised at how thoughtful Jessica has been in allowing for a
meaningful relationship to develop between donors and participants.

Shawn Smith: Shawn founded Global Agents for Change which
funds scholarships and provides micro-credit for developing world
students. He is currently on scholarship at Oxford Skoll Centre for
Social Entrepreneurship ( ) but returns
to Canada this summer. He is looking for work so snap him up!  For the
cyclists, Shawn raises funds by sponsoring 'epic' bike tours.  Upcoming
are: Amsterdam to Istanbul; Cambodia; and down the Pacific Coast.

Young people don't seem to be spending much time wondering about Miley's new relationship.  They are thriving and constantly inventive in the face of societal challenges. And they are not waiting for we boomers to retire.  They are already making their mark, and applying their creativity in ways that reinforce Vinod's point: It's about time youth were included in the conversation.

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