Ideas, Stories, and Profiles

The summit was a successful one. Judging from most reactions, it went way beyond everyone’s expectations. Indeed, it was for the benefit of the youth, and it has proven to be a youthful event full of energy that even the elders seemed and acted young.

The most amazing difference about the summit and the usual events that we are used to is the introduction of commitment at almost every plenary session that took place.

It started with Yemi Babington-Ashaye, of the Global Shapers Community, who moderated a panel on “How do we get 50 million jobs by 2020?” That is where Yemi brought a new concept and asked everyone in the meeting to not only think about the conversation that just took place but also think of a commitment (small or big) that they would undertake moving forward. He also asked the same to the panelist, and they shared their commitment with everyone in the room.

Bigger meetings like this usually attract a lot of people (mostly sent by big institutions), only to come and go without a package other than the free notebooks and selfies, but this brought new ways of committing to a cause before leaving the meeting room. This culture breeds a new sense of accountability that is essential to development.

It will probably take some time to get to a level where the commitment one took in a meeting like this is evaluated, but at least, for now, each and every one can self-evaluate or feel the guilt of not committing to what they said in front of hundreds of people; smart people.

I believe that this concept would change a lot if we came to adopt it; if we included it in everyday meetings, even friendly, or informal, conversations. Next time you converse with a person for more than thirty minutes, ask them, “So, where do we go from here? What is our commitment to what we just talked about?”

If this culture is embraced, we will not go to meetings and find the same topic being discussed by the same people, over and over again, and fail to understand what is going on. Next time we go to a meeting and find someone on a panel raising same questions that they raised in another meeting, we shall ask or be asked about the commitment that was made, what has been done so far, and, most important, why people are still talking about it instead of working on it.

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