By LINA KLEBANOV Head, Corporate Social Responsibility, North America, TCS
Submitted by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)
HOPE FOR THE FUTURE
As the mentoring programs end for the 2022 inaugural goIT Innovators of the Year event and TCS’ Go Innovate Together (goIT) teams gear up for the next global competition, I’m filled with a sense of hope for the future that only the youth can inspire.
Last year, the TCS goIT program named 16-year-old Aishani B. of Cumming, Georgia, its North American Innovator of the Year, and Laura Farry of Donegal, Ireland, the goIT Global Innovator of the Year. Aishani and Laura were two of about 40,000 young people who, in 2022, entered the TCS goIT Monthly Challenge with concepts for innovations that could help address one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
goIT is TCS’ flagship digital innovation and career readiness program, which engages students in design workshops and custom mentorships to prepare them with the skills, confidence, and mindsets to pursue careers of the future.
With the challenge of using their creativity and design thinking skills to solve specific real-world problems, the two winners came to the task well-researched and prepared. Looking for a problem to solve, 11th grader Aishani didn’t have to go further than her own school. She recalled her disappointment seeing classmates throwing barely used notebooks, textbooks, and other school supplies in the trash quicker than running out the door for summer break.
Thinking of how many underprivileged students could benefit from these typically discarded resources, she used TCS goIT as the motivation to find a better way. She created a website called “A Second Life,” which links students and families in need of school supplies and used textbooks to resources available locally—or from further away. It also demonstrates her intention and purpose as a global citizen committed to expanding access to education. Laura’s innovation, on the other hand, demonstrated her ability to find purpose in current events and meaning in changing the lives of total strangers for the better. Her innovation seeks to provide services to refugees from Ukraine.
Aishani and Laura were two of about 40,000 young people who, in 2022, entered the TCS goIT Monthly Challenge with concepts for innovations that could help address one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
YOUTH INSPIRE HOPE
Aishani and Laura’s innovations and those of other K-12 competitors couldn’t have come sooner. The side effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic have reportedly slowed—and even reversed—progress on the UN’s SDGs, making them suddenly seem more aspirational than strategic.
Yet, while some adults may be losing hope, youth involvement with goIT and the SDGs proves that the next generation is proactive and focused on helping. As newer generations always have, young people inspire hope for tomorrow.
Ironically, some of the momentum for this was created by the pandemic. Among the unexpected benefits of pandemic lockdowns and other hardships, the world of digital technology was transformed—quickly. So, while relying on technology to replace time spent in classrooms and their customary travel to meet friends and family, a generation of youth discovered the empowering possibilities of digital technology and the Internet of Things.
We know now, from reports of depression, social avoidance, and a reduction in outdoor time, that the adoption of digital tech wasn’t exactly perfect. Yet it helped young people connect, gave them a say, and exposed them to a greater awareness of current events and global issues than they had ever experienced.
For curious young people like Aishani and Laura, advances in digital technology and time spent in virtual environments during lockdowns provided an opportunity for great discovery. It helped transform them into global citizens (and digital citizens) poised to benefit society.
During TCS’ inaugural goIT Global Innovator of the Year competition, enterprising students like Aishani and Laura spent hours inventing and then preparing, creating, and planning so they could present their ideas to IT consulting professionals as well as volunteer judges from TCS and its customer base. Their presentations demonstrated their computational and design-thinking capabilities and their compassion. Proactive and planning for a better world, winners won awards and mentoring opportunities and now have had a glimpse of social entrepreneurship as a real possibility in their lives.
Today, these kids—more than 35,000 in 42 countries last year—entered a digital innovation contest. Tomorrow, they will change the world.
Learn more here.
Tata Consultancy Services is an IT services, consulting and business solutions organization that has been partnering with many of the world’s largest businesses in their transformation journeys for over 55 years. Its consulting-led, cognitive powered, portfolio of business, technology and engineering services and solutions is delivered through its unique Location Independent Agile™ delivery model, recognized as a benchmark of excellence in software development.
A part of the Tata group, India's largest multinational business group, TCS has over 608,000 of the world’s best-trained consultants in 55 countries. The company generated consolidated revenues of US $27.9 billion in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2023, and is listed on the BSE and the NSE in India. TCS' proactive stance on climate change and award-winning work with communities across the world have earned it a place in leading sustainability indices such as the MSCI Global Sustainability Index and the FTSE4Good Emerging Index. For more information, visit www.tcs.com.
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