The Feast Conference: SOCIAL INNOVATION

October 20th, 2010 by Caroline Scheinfeld View Comments

On October 15, 2010 Jay and I attended the Feast Conference at the Times Center, which focused on social innovation and ways to make our world a better place. Without a doubt, I felt motivated, inspired and driven to challenge and revolutionize society forthe better. The Feast highlighted the world’s core issues as well as creative solutions to these mind-boggling debacles. With tears, laughter and awe, the Feast innovators/speakers succeeded to provide attendees with an all day buffet of insight.

A main theme of the event was the shift in behavior from the 20th to the 21st century. Managing Director of Lovely Day, Jerri Chou, mentioned the previous era has been about cinema while the next will be participatory gaming behavior. Society has reached a breaking point with no other option but to reform. Issues in the environment and the economy can be seen as catalysts for necessary change; with the hope people will realize their human potential. After Choi pointed out the need for change in human behavior, Lovely Day Managing Partner, Tamara Giltstoff, provided clear hypotheses in which human potential can be realized. Most significant were: everyone can be a change maker, a new economy that centers around wellbeing rather than capitalism, and employees everywhere will act like innovators rather than “slaves to an industry.” Giltstoff separated the 20th, from the 21st century saying in the 20th century products were sold while in the 21st century value will be created as people solve social problems. The Madmen era of brainwashing society to become mass consumers will no longer be the mentality of tomorrow. In the future people will be enablers.

In addition to seeing the transformation of the 20th to the 21st century, “Collaborative Consumption” author Rachel Botsman explained her belief that society is actually reverting to archaic more simple ways of life.” Botsman stated the Internet is reinventing old ways, “what’s mine is yours,” which is evident in virtual worlds such as Farmville. Farmville illustrates the resurgence of community and people enabling others to grow food and farm. Through collaborative consumption, society will no longer feel “the things you own, end up owning you.” In the 21st century, it is collaborative consumption, about me and we while the 20th century was hyper consumption consisting of me, myself and I. Collaborative consumption will re-define society from what we consume to what we contribute. Botsman also proposed a very poignant question, “now that we can do anything, what will we do?”

As I sat in the auditorium and contemplated the event, I had a mini epiphany. I saw the V.C. and startup community as a derivation of the core values presented at The Feast. Startups often provide consumers with solutions to current problems as well as offer new innovative tools. V.C.’s have the power to facilitate the pursuit of entrepreneurs’ dreams, which in turn creates more added values for society. While startups might not be synonymous with world poverty and hunger, the Internet can serve as platform to provide tools for people to work together as a community and make the world a better place.

Two examples of how technology can help spread the word about large global scale issues such as world hunger, poverty and need for education are evident in these videos:

http://girleffect.org/video

http://p7coffee.com/

PLEASE WATCH AND SHARE. BE INSPIRED. ENABLE. CREATE. DON’T JUST CONSUME.

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About Jay Levy

Jay Levy

Jay Levy is a co-founder and principal of Zelkova Ventures. Jay focuses most of his time in working with the current portfolio company and looking at new investments in the software-as-a-service, internet media and green tech space. More »

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