In his opening address, Peter A. Bruck, Chairman of the World Summit Awards, asked an audience of young social entrepreneurs and innovators, international thought-leaders, ICT experts and regional stakeholders:

“What are the benefits of disruptive technology? How many people are being left behind in the digital revolution? How do we use technology in a creative way for the benefit of society?”

The purpose of the World Summit Award Social Innovation Congress was to recognise digital innovation in creating sustainable social change and impact world-wide. Based on the belief that digital technologies are one of the main drivers for the United Nations agenda towards the Sustainable Development Goals, attendees discussed and shared experiences on how social innovation and entrepreneurship can be encouraged and play a key role in making a sustainable impact on society.

A central component of the Congress was the World Summit Award (WSA), which was initiated in 2003 in the framework of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (UN WSIS). The Awards’ objective is to select and promote the best practices in digital social innovation from all UN member states. A big congratulations to this year’s ‪World Summit Award Global Champions:

In building and supporting an ecosystem to help transform the lives of the needy and vulnerable, Corporate partner Singtel used the congress to launch its 6-month Future Makers programme, which provides aspiring impact entrepreneurs, changemakers and social innovators with the unique opportunity to grow their organisation, refine their business model and scale their social impact – including monetary support of up to S$20,000.  The programme is built on past year’s success of community engagements, mentorship and funding support for social entrepreneurs across Singapore and Australia including Optus’ highly successful Future Makers program, which focused on leveraging technology to tackle the big issues affecting vulnerable youth.

Singtel Future Makers is open to passionate individuals who believe that technological innovation can create wide-scale social impact that will help shape future success for Singapore. To get you inspired to apply, here are some thought-provoking quotes that represent the key takeaways from this year’s World Summit Award Social Innovation Congress.


“We have to shift from seeking jobs to inventing jobs. You shouldn’t have to be Tom Cruise to start a business… To succeed with the Sustainable Development Goals we need to get everybody involved.”

Ahmad Alhendawi – United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth – @AhmadAlhendawi

“We take the internet for granted but its future cannot be assumed. We must choose an internet we want. We want an open internet where our freedoms are preserved… one of trust not threats.”

Dorothy K. Gordon – Director-General at Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT

“Create global connections is essential for creating social impact… The future is exponential. It always has been. We just couldn’t see it. How will you impact 10 billion people’s lives in the next 10 years?”

Lajuanda Asemota – Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Singularity University@lajuanda_marie

“It’s not only how technology is impacting GDP or growth, it’s also about how it’s impacting lives, especially for the underserved. Development is about promoting strong societies as well as propelling powerful economies.”

Anjan Ghosh – Regional Director-Corporate Affairs, Asia-Pacific & Japan at Intel – @aghosh2

“Asia is the world’s social capital but beyond Instagram, selfies and hashtags – what technology is making a difference?”

Ralph Simon – Faculty Member for Exponential Health at Singularity University – @ralphsimon1

“I think higher education is about to go through a disruption similar to that being experienced by the news and media industry… We’re going to pass from a manufacturing era to a mindfacturing era…It’s easier than ever to start a media company.”

Janine Warner – Executive Director at SembraMedia@janinewarner

“Children should be programming the computer rather than being programmed by it.”

Giustina Mizzoni – Head of Development at CoderDojo@GiustinaMizzoni

“Disability is poorly portrayed in the media. We tell stories that might otherwise never get told. We show people for who they are… Nothing About Us Without Us.”

Dan Buckingham – General Manager at AttitudeLive

“In your hands is the power of your voice.”

Alfonso Flores – Founder at PARE360

“A good person to us is conscious of their positive impact on the world.”

Ivan Caballero – CEO at The Social Coin@i_caballero

“To understand innovation we need to understand what stimulates innovation. A lot of innovation in developed countries is not based on need, they are enhancements and improvements… Innovation doesn’t always mean high-tech.”

Dana Al Salem – CEO & Chairman at FanFactory Ltd

“If it’s stupid, and it works. It’s not stupid. With enough hard work, stupid ideas can work. If everyone did sensible things, the world would be a very boring place.”

Adam Montandon – Co-founder at Factory of Imagination@adammontandon

“Investing in solving social problems makes financial sense. Companies focusing on social and environmental challenges perform 400% better than other companies in S&P500.”

Ashwin Subramaniam – Co-founder at Gone Adventurin’

“Half the world is still struggling. Half the world is in the same place… Slums are not the extensions of cities, they are the extension of villages that have been thrown out because of desperation.”

Anshu Gupta – Founder Director at GOONJ – @anshugoonj

“Become a miracle for other people.”

Sihle Tshabalala – National Coordinator at Brothers for All – @sihletshaba

“Moving from an egosystem to an ecosystem. Let’s throw the ego crown into the sea. It’s not about winning. Our goal is to find our place in the greater context of other people.”

Paul Hughes – CEO at Ten Meters of Thinking@10mThinking

World Social Innovation Congress: Winners & Takeaways

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