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Exploring how young people can use digital tech to find new opportunities

A few weeks back I was flattered – but rather challenged – by an invite from Dan Sutch of Nominet Trust to write a provocative paper on how digital technologies might help young people engage socially and economically with their communities.

The Trust will shortly be launching a specific funding programme around this challenge, and as well as substantial background research, wanted something to help kick off some conversations and innovative ideas. However, although working on social tech for social impact – as in the book Social by Social – I don’t have specific expertise on young people, employment, education and society. Unlike, for example, Tim Davies, whose expertise spans both youth engagement and open data.

Still, lack of expertise doesn’t usually deter journalists in approaching a new topic – and fresh eyes can be an advantage – so what would a social reporter do? In chatting to Dan, I realised he was most interested in my role in curating ideas, and turning them into talking points, as we did in Social by Social.

In addition, I found that the Nominet Trust challenge programme will promote open, creative, collaborative approaches … so why not reflect that from the start?And why not work with Tim?

Dan (and fortunately Tim) thought that a great idea, and so today we are starting a process with Tim’s colleague Alex Farrow to reflect on the research, generate some first talking point propositions, hold a small event, blog about the discussions and produce a paper from that … as well as lots of other content that people can use as background.

It’s a bit like the exploration process I worked on with Big Lottery Fund with John Popham and Drew Mackie: reflections here.

I’ll post more here this week. Meanwhile, there more here about our process, and how you can contribute.