Network Capital partnered with Young Changemakers Conclave (YCC) and X Billion Labs for a marquee event focused on framing the agenda for 2030 from the social impact and innovation lens. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered the keynote. These are the key takeaways captured by Network Capital Associates
1. Differences make us strong
Imagine you were trying to solve a problem, and every perspective available to you was 80-90% similar to the next. Would you be able to solve this problem effectively? Chances are, no.
Canada’s first gender- balanced cabinet was formed in 2015 under Trudeau. Canada has set an example for the rest of the world and its strong political leadership is the key driving force behind this change. Trudeau talks about moving towards a more inclusive future through the help of shared narratives and puts emphasis on the need for the hour, that is gender equality in all platforms. At UNYCC, in conversation with a Lakshmi Narayan Tripathi – India’s most prominent transgender activist, he mentions his philosophy of loving one’s neighbour and accepting them in their differences, not despite it. He elaborated on how having an inclusive approach is important – not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it changes business and communities for the better. Pluralism is imperative to solve a problem, it creates new solutions in ways where people can challenge each other and work towards a common goal. To this respect, he states that – “It’s easy to think the worst of your neighbour. It’s much harder to be hopeful, to be involved, to take action.” Every feminist spirit in the audience felt invigorated by his optimistic and pragmatic lens that he brought to the gender debate.
Trudeau envisaged a future of deeper connections between Canada and India – Two countries linked in history and values. In the collaboration of large democracies and the capacity to get along and build on shared values, he predicted the potential to impact the world not just us.
2. The need for a paradigm shift in mentality
Trudeau addressed the pressing subject of fast evolving technology which comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Besides rapid economic progress it also brings with it shifts in the social and political cultures as well. Emerging technology is making lives easier but is also threatening jobs. For the citizens who have come forward and raised the issues related to this technological advancement, asking for change, politicians have remained disconnected or silent. The world needs to move away from this focus on making profit and business and needs to move towards acknowledging the need for well being
The well being paradigm has taken over very strongly in the world lately and is an exceedingly relevant model to India as well. With the launch of Ariana Huffington’s Thrive Global initiative in India, the message of focusing inward and taking care of ourselves stands only further strengthened..
Even Madame Sophie Trudeau stated that there is not one type of human suffering that we have not heard of or lived ourselves. We must look inwards to find a solution, to fix the way we talk to ourselves and how we treat our bodies and minds.
The dignitaries thus left us with advice on deep introspection to deal with the ethics and rapid irrelevance of traditional jobs in order to keep pace with artificial intelligence and automation.
3. Focus where the energy is
Trudeau emphasized on the importance of the involvement of youth in the process of nation building and well being. “You are the leaders of tomorrow”, is something told to the youth on the regular. Reject that. You can’t be leaders tomorrow unless you are leaders today. Everything you do now matters. How you treat your friends, your foes. What decisions you make, what you wish to do with your time.
Stable societies become resistant to change, as do grownups in general. Stability is needed to function, but being change averse doesn’t make us change makers. The most important thing to change is the nature of the conversation. Move from the WHYs to the WHY NOTs.
India has the largest young population which is what gives it the most potential to create meaningful change in the country and consequently the world. This deeper, earnest delivery from Trudeau left the audience with a resonating trust for the Canadian President.
4. What kind of a world do you want to live in?
What does that world look like? There are advancements, yes. They are technological (self driving cars, AI, bullet trains, the works). But what really matters in the future that it NOT matter where you are born, who you love, what you already own. We arrive in the world with the decks stacked against us and we aren’t given the tools to succeed and reach our potentials. Should we continue to live against such odds or make it a more accepting world?
Trudeau asks us to envisage a world that is radical in terms of growth and compassion – if we can envision it, we can make it happen.
These four important themes stood out in Trudeau’s address at the Conference. As his liberal Government and pioneering Cabinet works towards building a Canadian economy focused on the creation of jobs and opportunities for the youth, the advocacy of human rights issues such as gender justice and social equity as an all-important focus on the environment and climate change policies, there is a lot that India and its youth can learn from him and his leadership. We often use the maxim “Unity in Diversity” while speaking about India and the world and it is fitting that Trudeau addressed the 21st Century youth on issues that concern them including inclusivity. To harness India’s demographic dividend, youth who enjoy certain privileges can channel this towards social good and the creation of a more just and equitable society. For this, there needs to be a fundamental shift in the way we work and the way the youth treats innovation at the workplace. Change can surely begin at an individual level and impact one’s organisation and then society at-large. This is what will eventually create a fairer world with better opportunities for all, irrespective of socio-economic standing, sex, gender, sexuality and so on.