Use Innovation To Empower Not To Overpower! Say What?

PopTech: popcasts.

This inspiring reminder comes from one Alec Ross. Who is he? His short bio says that he is the Senior Adviser on Innovation to the US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton and was a force behind US President Obama’s campaign and now the new US  Administration. In his own right, I guess amongst other brilliant stuff, he is co-founder of One Economy a non-profit organization ‘devoted to closing the digital divide’.

I came across this video presentation, ” 21st Century Statecraft” via Twitter, on 17 November.  The link is:

Watching this video, I was really amazed not only at the frankness of his presentation but also of his ideas of innovation as a catalyst for change and development everywhere. Bridging the digital divide is a topical issue for many organizations engaged in development work – development partners. It is a also topical issue for development practicioners around the world. Ross cited and showed examples of the positive results of technological innovation in Togo, the Congo and others. However, I think what made an impact on me was his candid challenge to American policymakers and politicians alike and the brains behind US foreign policy to use technological innovation as tool for ’empowering not overpowering’.

He said that America’s foreign policy must focus on empowering rather than overpowering via techonology. This is powerful! This is the bomb! He poses the challenge, more like throwing down the gauntlet, for re-imagining America’s engagement of the wider world – its relationship and role. His invites people to think seriously about  “How innovation can be applied in America’s foreign policy…”.  Music to the ears of many likeminded people I s’ppose.

What, who by the way is PopTech? it’s brief intro says that it “… is a unique innovation network – a global community of cutting-edge leaders, thinkers, and doers from many different disciplines, who come together to explore the social impact of new technologies, the forces of change shaping our future, and new approaches to solving the world’s most significant challenges. We are known for our thriving community of thought-leaders, breakthrough innovation programs, visionary annual conferences and deep media and storytelling capabilities”.

Their mission is “…to accelerate the positive impact of world changing people, projects and ideas. We do this by creating transformational experiences that showcase the ideas, trends, challenges and opportunities that are shaping the future”. For more information on PopTech visit their website:

The video is a must see and a must hear! Thanks Alec for an inspiring presentation!