Microsoft’s “Meet No Neet” event supports young innovators
- Posted on February 13, 2015
This is a guest blog post written by Avanade alum, Gemma Fiorentino.
The 2nd annual “Meet No Neet” event was held last week at Microsoft headquarters in Milan. This project is part of the YouthSpark program sponsored by Microsoft together with Fondazione Mondo Digitale. It aims to provide social, entrepreneurial and technological training to young boys and girls to help them acquire relevant skills to live and work in the digital world.
Avanade couldn’t possibly miss out on being involved in this exciting initiative. Its purpose is to support innovation, technology and the ideas of young boys and girls, all things that resonate closely with the core beliefs of our company. To date, more than 10,000 young people across Italy from North to South between the age of 16 and 24 have taken part in intensive trainings.
The last event of Meet No Neet 2015 was the “Discovery Talent Contest & Fair” held at Microsoft’s headquarters. All the finalist teams were invited to present their projects to a jury that had to select the most powerful projects with the highest social value. I had both the pleasure and the honor to be part of the voting panel, representing Avanade, together with other innovative companies that share the same passion for innovation such as: Asus, Ikea Italy and break through start-up Garoo.
Besides the judges’ votes, there was an online voting system to let people in the audience choose their favorite project. Each team had no more than five minutes to convince the jury that their project was the most impressive and that their idea was feasible. While the projects were all different, they had one thing in common: innovation and technology.
Of all the projects presented, I was particularly impressed by SmartClass. It was a very challenging and highly innovative idea presented by a high school class from Sicily. The project focused creating a fully automated and technological “classroom of the future.” I was able to recognize the same values and characteristics of this team that Avanade looks for in its employees: willingness to experiment, passion for technology and determination in the pursuit of goals.
Even though all the projects were honored by Microsoft, only one was awarded as “best elevator pitch.” The winning project for this category was HelpedGal, a very innovative idea aimed at preventing and limiting the number of incidents experienced by pedestrians when crossing the street.
Investing in future generations is becoming a fundamental issue to think about and we all have a duty to shape students into the innovators of tomorrow, building the future and changing the world with their ideas. Being part of this initiative has been a great experience for me and having the chance to support the dreams and ideas of these young people was priceless.