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Digital Open: An Innovation Expo for Global Youth

IFTF, Sun, and Boing Boing just launched Digital Open, and I'm proud to share that I'm helping judge entries.

"What can you make with technology that will change the world, make the future -- or even just make life a little easier or more fun?"

Institute for the Future, in partnership with Sun Microsystems and Boing Boing, invite youth worldwide, age 17 and under, to join us as we explore the frontiers of free and open innovation. Running from April 15 until August 15, 2009, the Digital Open: An Innovation Expo for Global Youth will accept text, photos, and videos documenting projects at DigitalOpen.org from young people around the world, all licensed under one from a list of free and open software licenses.

Youth can submit projects in a variety of areas, ranging from the environment, media, and community, to the more traditional open source domains of software and hardware. Additionally, the Digital Open will provide resources and links to help them learn more about free and open technology movements, from figures like Richard Stallman to organizations like Creative Commons.

"As a company that engages schools, teachers and students from around the world to discover the transformative power of open technology, we jumped at the opportunity to work with the Institute for the Future to conceive and create The Digital Open," said Linda Rogers, Sun Microsystems' Director of Global Communities. "From Buenos Aries to Beijing to Budapest, we know that global youth are capable of spurring remarkable creativity and innovation. The Digital Open will be a window for the world to be impressed and optimistic about what the next generation will bring."

Marina Gorbis, Executive Director of the Institute for the Future emphasized the participatory nature of the project. "The Digital Open is more than just a competition," she says. "It's about recognizing and encouraging kids to follow their passions while giving them community experiences that further encourage or challenge their best thinking."

As an online, open source interpretation of the traditional high school science fair or world expo, the project's social networking-driven website encourages collaboration, communication, and sharing ideas. On DigitalOpen.org, youth can converse with each other about their projects, submit entries together, and win a series of achievement badges that they can repost on their own blogs and websites.

The top project in each of our eight categories will be selected by our panel of approximately 20 judges, includes David-Michel Davies, Executive Director of the Webby Awards; Lawrence Lessig, Harvard/Creative Commons; David Pescovitz, Boing Boing; and Dale Dougherty, publisher of Make.

To give the talented young innovators public exposure beyond the Digital Open, Boing Boing, a culture and technology blog with millions of readers, will feature each winner in his or her own video for the site. All of us at Boing Boing Video are excited about the opportunity to cultivate youth innovation in open technology," says Xeni Jardin, Boing Boing Video Host and Executive Producer. "We hope that young makers will use the Digital Open to really show off their work--and to connect with like-minded digital explorers around the world."

The winning young innovators will also receive a technology prize package including a PeeCee mini laptop running the OpenSolaris operating system, a video camera, a solar-powered flashlight, and other assorted goodies.

Forty years ago, IFTF's founders imagined a world in which it would be possible to improve human lives and build better organizations by thinking systematically about the future. These were visionaries saw the power of using computers and networks to build collective intelligence. Harnessing the intelligence of large groups of experts to develop forecasts, using new open-source tools take forecasting to the next level--engaging vastly larger groups of experts and non-experts in immersive experiences that allow us to envision multitudes of future possibilities in a dynamic and continuous way. DigitalOpen.org is the third open, collaborative platform that IFTF has launched this year where the public can participate in imagining and inventing the future, and the first specifically targeting youth--the true future of innovation.

Find out more at digitalopen.org.

Digital Open Judges:
Lawrence Lessig, Creative Commons, Stanford Law School
David-Michel Davies, Webby Awards, International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences
Dale Dougherty, O'Reilly Media, MAKE
Billy Bicket, TechSoup/NetSquared
Simon Dingle, Finweek Magazine
Patricia Lange, USC Institute for Multimedia Literacy
Eric Wilhelm, Instructables
Xeni Jardin, Boing Boing
David Pescovitz, Boing Boing/IFTF
Kati London, Botanicalls & Area/Code
The Playtime Anti-Boredom Society
Nick Bilton, New York Times/NYC Resistor
Jane McGonigal, IFTF
Jessica Mah, IntershipIN.com
Heather Ford, Africa Commons
Isaac Mao, CNBlog.org, United Capital Investment, Global Voices Online
Colin Bulthaup, Potenco
Oona Castro, Overmundo Institute
Elizabeth Stark, Yale Information Society Project, Students for Free Culture
Ahrash Bissel, Creative Commons, ccLearn
Phoebe Ayers, Author: How Wikipedia Works
Kiruba Shankar, Knowledge Foundation
Linda Rogers, Sun Microsystems, Inc.

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sharlston7 years ago
thats cool i have a couple of ideas
Brennn107 years ago
There are 10 days left to enter!
Brennn108 years ago
This is a bump for this competition, because at the moment they have not had a huge number of entries, so I am urging those who are 17 and under, who have a project that fits the standards, to enter. I have two projects in the works that I am entering, and I encourage many of you to do the same. The prize pack is an amazing incentive, and it is an awesome way to share a passion that you have.
comodore8 years ago
Great! I have a couple of my ides that I am trying to realize... I am shore I can get the gadgets to work till August... Can I enter, I am from Serbia? It is great that they picked you as one of the judges. Can't wait to see what will people my age come up with. Thanks for informing us! BTW who is the girl from the video? Thanks!
Yes! It's an international competition, all locations welcome. The girl in the video is Charis, who works with Boing Boing Video. Thanks for posting this, Eric :) Jess