The Bartlett School of Architecture Discusses Ways to Innovate Social Housing in London

On March 9, the Bartlett School of Architecture and ECOWEEK hosted approximately 30 architectural students in a active discussion about housing and the urban fabric of London, with a special focus on the housing crisis currently affecting parts of London.


During the event, award-winning architect, Peter Barber presented a wide portfolio of his projects, all with an emphasis in social housing. In the beginning of his discussion, he talked about what society, politicians, and the architectural community should do in order to eliminate the current housing crisis. One of his beliefs includes cancelling the ‘right to buy’; a piece of legislation that Margaret Thatcher introduced on social housing flats. His belief is that housing flats should not be privatized. 

London at the moment suffers from a lack of social housing. By stopping the privatization of flats, Barber notes you can also alleviate the increase of prices. After explaining the issue in the context of London, architect Peter Barber presented examples of his work and highlighted a concept he developed called, ‘100-mile city’. His opinion mostly favors low height buildings with density instead of high rise buildings because he believes in the dynamic that street level housing offers. Although ‘100-mile city’ is still a conceptual project,  Barber is trying to advocate and implement the project to the London authority to take into consideration.

Peter also shared his innovative approach to architecture. This includes when he designs, he gives the user some space to become integrated in the project. He uses this technique to provoke their creative reactions. For example, Barber may place a window in an unlikely place, expecting people to interact with the window. Or he may leave the space near the front door free, encouraging residents to fill it up in their own personal style. Peter’s approach generated discussion and opened possibilities for thinking in unusual directions, and in often challenging ways, positioning social housing as an attractive field for young architects.

Additionally, Peter’s ideas help promote improving cities and communities by having a positive impact on the quality of housing and the personal identity of the residents. Improvement of tenants’ perception often offers them equal outside and inside spaces which improves their psychological health and also helps them develop communication skills. The way the houses are being designed offer more spatial qualities rather than focusing on minimizing square mile for profit.  

Social housing in a way, is  currently a ‘hot’ issue, not only in London but throughout Europe – especially now with the increased influx and movement of immigrants. As the number of immigrants grow, the need for social housing also grows. The need is getting higher not only due to local Londoners not being able to afford housing, but also because of the influx of immigrant and refugee populations landing in new countries after leaving their homes. There is no doubt that we need better social housing: not only in budgeted solutions, but personal, carefully designed projects, that give people an opportunity to feel at home in a new country, encouraging easy assimilation.

The ECOWEEK GENIUS event in London generated discussion on social housing, and triggered interest among architectural students. Even after the lecture, a very creative and lively dialogue emerged between the speaker and the audience. The event in London also helped forged a relationship between ECOWEEK and the Bartlett School of Architecture towards future activity on similar themes of social housing, that will not only raise issues and generated discourse, but will also give the students the opportunity to propose new ideas through design thinking workshops.

Shared Studios Connects Amman, Jordon and Mexico City

On March 15, Shared Studios engaged with participants in Mexico City, with the idea of creating empathy with people from different backgrounds and culture. Through their innovative and intimate Portal technology, users were able to connect with others in Amman, Jordan from Mexico City, Mexico.

Portals are an immersive space equipped with a camera and a human-scale screen that enables anyone who walks in to have what feels like a face-to-face conversation with anyone, anywhere in the world. Read more in Fast Company

Through this unique experience, participants were able to cross boundaries and openly explore what Arabic and Mexican culture have common (a lot!); not only in language, but also in tradition. They also learned how to respond tolerantly to others by acknowledging that there’s nothing better than to learn from someone from a different culture.

Mexico City Portal curator, Thomas Ramírez states, “People were really curious about learning about Jordanian culture. I think we opened a window that will lead them to research more about Arabic and Muslim culture.”

Architect Students Discuss ‘Health for the Future’ in Bucharest

On March 9, Seneka Anticafe in association with ECOWEEK, hosted a 7 Days of Genius workshop with the focus of promoting health and improving life overall in cities. 


Roughly 60 architects and architecture students explored design interventions in the gardens of two major public hospitals in Bucharest. In addition, leading Romanian architect Dorin Stefan introduced his current projects with the students at the University of Bucharest titled “The Housing for 2060”.  Following Stefan’s presentation, the participants and speaker formed a ‘round-table’ to discuss housing and living patterns, habitat and traditions, and how fundamental views often differ between the architectural community and society.  

The students then organized in teams to oversee design interventions in the gardens of two major public hospitals in Bucharest. The group plans to meet again on April 10-16, to continue brainstorming and develop a design strategy. Longterm, they hope to apply for a grant from the Chamber of Architects in Romania to implement their idea. 

This 7 Days of Genius event enabled a space where students can turn conversation into action. It facilitated the opportunity for students to not only to raise and discuss issues, but to also act and do something about them.

To learn more about ECOWEEK Genius, click here.


Impact Hub Roma Celebrates Work, Travel & Food For Good

On March 10, Imapct Hub Roma joined 7 Days of Genius with an event called “Rome Genius Night. Create. For Good,” a storytelling panel featuring people who are trying, with their jobs, to make the world a better place.
An audience of fifty people attended the panel that explored the topics of Work, Travel and Food for Good and featured speakers who are all piloting new and innovative solutions that advance the common good by promoting social inclusion and providing new job opportunities. Each also represents an example of the 7 Days of Genius challenges to create empathy, advance public health, create the cities of the future and address the refugee crisis.  Here’s a rundown of the speakers and projects:

Matteo Mennini, head of Bambini+Diritti, is helping refugee unaccompanied kids having a home, going to school and then find a job while participating to agricultural projects.
Mauro Cipparone, an ex-manager left his corporate job to found Romaltruista, a web service that helps Roman citizens in finding volunteering opportunities.

Beatrice Busi Deriu, is founder of Ethicatering, a catering company that uses only products and services from jail prisoners and from farms that have been built on sites that once were owned by mafia.
Elena Tioli, wrote a book and blog teaching people how to do conscious choices regarding food and well-being.
Roberto Dati, owner of Retour and member of the Italian Association for Responsible Travels, discussed spreading the need to travel worldwide with a positive impact on local communities.
Ivan Fadini, is the founder of International Napoli Network, a service that brings to the poor neighborhood of the town international volunteers willing to help kids and teach English.
Impact Hub Roma’s Monica Lasaponara explained, “I believe this event contributes into engaging more people of our community in wanting to make a positive impact. We had a very productive Q&A session at the end of the panel and we firmly believe we accomplished the spirit of the 7DaysOfGenius by giving the chance to attendees to understand that “Create. For Good” is possible.”
Photos courtesy of Sara Giuliani

Meeting Point Cinema hosts 7 Days of Genius in Saravejo

On Thursday March 9th, Meeting Point Cinema hosted a 7 Days of Genius event called The Human Scale of Saravejo. It was organized by ECOWEEK.


Meeting Point Cinema facilitated a workshop where participants were asked to share innovative ideas that would specifically impact communities in Saravejo.  The ideas generated during this session centered around the need for common/public spaces and the rehabilitation of the forgotten project of a Concert Hall in Sarajevo. Throughout the workshop, more than 50 ideas were collected.

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The concepts debated during the event challenged and empowered young participants (mostly university architectural students) to be more active in community development.


This Genius event provided the opportunity to envision an alternative and more sustainable redevelopment plan of one of the main locations in the city of Sarajevo. It gave the attendees the opportunity to express their ideas and concerns by making their own sketches and to be a part of an open discussion on the topic.


Participants opened a window of opportunity to organize similar workshops, and address more locations in Sarajevo that are going through similar processes of renewal. 




This Genius event is a good example of how a community of architects – especially young architects and students – can organize and create a platform for discussion to raise concerns, and share proposals for more humane and sustainable redevelopments of their cities. 

Shared Studios Portals Create Empathy During 7 Days of Genius

On  Tuesday, March 7, Brooklyn-based startup Shared Studios used their Portals technology to connect people in Rwanda and Brooklyn, Mexico and Jordan to have 7 Days of Genius conversations on the challenge of empathy. Portals are gold spaces equipped with immersive audiovisual technology that allow people in different cities and countries to converse as if they were in the same room.  By connecting people around the world in intimate conversations, Portals demonstrate how technology can create empathy by bringing people in district communities together — face-to-face.

Fast Company reporter Eillie Anzilotti visited the Brooklyn Portal for 7 Days of Genius. She recaps the experience:

“The Portal spanned the coworking spaces in Kigali and Brooklyn to show what empathy could look like now. Portals—originally developed by the collective Shared_Studios as an art installation two years ago—are, in many ways, empathy infrastructure: The shipping containers have been set up in over 20 locations across the world, where they’ve facilitated conversations between an American drone pilot and an Afghan man, and a Washington, D.C. woman who left Cuba as a child and someone who lived on her old street in Havana. Between Brooklyn and Kigali, the Portal broke down preconceptions: When the Americans thought of Rwanda, their minds immediately went to the 1994 genocide that resulted in the deaths of nearly one million Tutsis. Nancy, one of the Rwandan entrepreneurs, wants to talk about what the country is like now. “It’s a very organized country, it’s very clean, and the people are very welcoming,” she says. “People aren’t stressed out here.” The people in Brooklyn, she adds, were welcome to visit at any time.”

Read more in Fast Company and check out the Shared Studios Timelapse below:




Sayfty Discusses Genius Ways to Ensure Public Safety

On March 12, in Nairobi, Kenya, Sayfty, an international nonprofit that combats gender violence, hosted a 7 Days of Genius event on the topic of public safety for women and girls.

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Together, participants proposed that a tracking device would be the best the way to alleviate the dangers in public spaces. The device would notify family members or friends whenever the user felt unsafe. It would also ensure that someone can keep track of where others are at all times.

Participants also discussed methods that harassers used in public spaces, and the best way to respond to or evade harassment.

The young women who attended the event committed to take self-defense lessons. The group also committed to train more girls from the community on how to be safe in public spaces.

Thank you to Sayfty for using the 7 Days of Genius challenge on ensuring human rights and equality to create practical and genius solutions to protect women around the world.

Learn more about Sayfty here.



BallotReady On How to Create Trust in the Media

On Tuesday, March 7, BallotReady hosted a Genius event that discussed innovative ways to foster trust in the media.

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Four experts in the topic, Kyla Williams, Sarah Brune, Summer Fields, Maira Khwaja, explored new ideas in the world of information and media. Most of the ideas presented revolved around how to get information into the hands of news consumers, and how to better involve them in the media-creation process.

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The ideas discussed helped empower people to be actively informed about the world around them, and garner greater trust in media sources. Instead of lamenting on the idea of “fake news”, organizers thought the discussion helped think about new ways the news media can conduct its business and establish a closer relationship with those who consume media.

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Audience participants walked way knowing more about great resources in the media landscape, both regionally in Chicago, and beyond.


JEST Hub and ECOWEEK Highlight Genius Solutions Created by Arab Women

To celebrate International Women’s Day, on March 8th, JEST Hub, a startup hub in East Jerusalem, hosted a 7 Days of Genius event in partnership with ECOWEEK. The event — attended by more than 50 people — featured all women speakers and entrepreneurs. Members of JEST Hub presented projects to enhance job opportunities and provide vital services to  women in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Participants were able to give feedback on new ideas and together, consider ways Arab women may benefit from these tools.

Some of the ideas presented include a web platform for Palestinian women to gain skills and education, an all female – run computer support provider, and a support network for elderly people to gain digital literacy.



The goal of the event was to create a space of equal opportunity for young female entrepreneurs to share their ideas, receive feedback, and be empowered to realize the successful execution of their ideas. It also allowed the presenters the opportunity to network and form new partnerships and collaborations among their peers and others who attended the event.  Learn more about ECOWEEK’s 7 Days of Genius event here

AKTO Art & Design College on Innovative Design for Public Good


Saturday, March 11, in Athens, Greece, AKTO Art & Design College and ECOWEEK, hosted a 7 Days of Genius event for young architects. The event focused on how design can be used for public good.  The conversation was led by Dr. Elias Messinas, founder of EcoWeek, landscape architect Natalia Pantelidou, and architect Antonis Gavalas. 

The speakers presented examples of their own work that have had a positive social impact.  The students then formed a working group called a “Greenhouse” team. Under the guidance of the veteran architects, they will collaborate on a plan to improve the facilities at two struggling local institutions. The two institutions are a shelter for children and a clinic for incurable diseases, both of which are now in a state of deterioration because of the current financial crisis in Greece. The “Greenhouse” team launched during 7 Days of Genius will continue to meet and together, will work on re-designing the shelter and clinic’s living quarters, bathrooms and gardens.  The students will also fundraise for the institutions and gather other necessary resources like furniture.

In Greece, a country still affected by the financial crisis where most young professionals looking for opportunities abroad, the event had the double benefit of inspiring young professionals to see how they can have an immediate impact in their own communities and offering them professional experience and skill development.

As the organizers explained, “the GENIUS event was the opportunity to bring together two concepts: the concept of GENIUS for public good on a theoretical level through examples and good practices, and to give young professionals the power to be actively taking part in making a difference in their community through their work.”

To learn more about ECOWEEK Genius, visit their site.

Saturday, March 11 – 7 Days of Genius Recap

Here’s a roundup of all the amazing things that happened on Saturday March 11:

  • The 92nd Street Y explored genius solutions to bringing meditation into the workplace. Check out the video below!


      • Innovate South Africa had a 7 Days of Genius event in Capetown, South Africa where youth leaders came together to brainstorm and create solutions to advance their communities.


      • In Athens, Greece, AKTO Art & Design College and ECOWEEK held an events for students to inform and inspire them to the  possibilities of design for public benefit.


  • Global Minimum in Nairobi, Kenya hosted a workshop where students created models for homes of the future that will help advance sustainability.Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 1.00.07 PM


Thessaloniki, Greece Explores Genius Designs for their Community

On March 10, in Thessaloniki, Greece, AKTO College of Art & Design and ECOWEEK hosted a 7 Days of Genius event where local designers, students and architects presented their ideas to improve life in Thessaloniki for all. These ideas covered the areas of  health, environmental awareness, and explored new ways locals and tourists can integrate meaningful experiences in Thessaloniki. 


The event offered a fertile platform for debate and discussion among the more than 60 young professionals and students who attended the event, all of whom are concerned with, and affected by, the current economic difficulties in Greece. The event also gave them the opportunity to share new ideas, to network, and hopefully, to form new partnerships. 

Here’s a rundown of projects presented to the group:

– ‘K&K Architects’ (Katerina Kotzia and Korina Filoxenidou) and the students of AKTO College of Art & Design (Mariza Tsakona and Maria-Kristina Katsouli) presented their project, ‘Speculative Spaces’ in cooperation with the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. The project looks at how the natural landscape of Thessaloniki can inspire design for public spaces in London. 

– ‘Breath Inn’ (Ioanna Mikrou) presented their innovative approach to rehabilitating historic buildings using sustainable and recycled materials. 

– ‘Rhoeco’ (Harrys Kazas, Katerina Chatziangellaki, and Vaya Mitsiou) presented a newly-established start-up of fine organic teas inspired by and designed with ecology in mind. The Rhoeco products are caffeine free, without artificial flavors, sweeteners or any other forms of additives, and the company uses biodegradable packaging.

– ‘Blind + Studio & Ncube’ (Charalabos Karatzas, Nikos Taousanidis, Panagiotis Chatzis, and Dimitrios Nanos) presented their proposals to improve tourist products, services, shelters and hotels in Greece, aiming to make a positive contribution to the local economy and local community, while still raising their profit.

– ‘The Caravan Bed & Breakfast’ (Giorgos Kourtidis) presented the innovative business model behind their hotel. Their design approach to decorating the hotel includes using recycled furniture and materials. 


The Genius event at AKTO College of Art & Design in Thessaloniki successfully involved young professionals in a compelling discussion on ways to engage architects and designers in sustainability and social change.

To learn more about ECOWEEK Genius, click here!

Genius Exhibit Showcases the Work of Nepalese Students

As part of 7 Days of Genius, the 17th Century Patan Museum in Kathmandu featured a Genius exhibit of artwork created by students around Nepal. In the 2 weeks leading up to the event, at workshops and discussion groups hosted by arts organization Spiny Babbler, students from more than 30 participating schools in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, and Sindhupalchowk, created art on the 7 Days of Genius themes: ‘Cities & Communities of the Future,’ ‘Health, Wellness and Mindfulness,’ ‘Displacement and Migration,’ ‘Equality and Human Rights,’ and ‘News and information.’  Their work was then displayed at the Patan Museum in an exhibit visited by more than 500 people, including students and teachers, media and international visitors.
Sapna Magar, a sixth grade student from Bimal Memorial Vidhyapeet Secondary School who chose the theme of ‘Cities & Communities of the Future,’ explained the concept of her school’s artwork that featured overhead bridges in a future modern city saying that the reimagined smooth roads would “not cause delays”.

Chanda Sijapati, an elder citizen and grandmother of one of the participants observed, “By having their art exhibited here, students become sure that their creative work is appreciated and that there are people who are looking at and analyzing their work… this is a huge need in the education system that we have built for today.”

“It is amazing how children have executed their ideas. Paintings under topics such as ‘Violence against Women’ and ‘Bridging the Divide’ are exceptional in that they depict mature sentiment with realistic expressions,” remarked Judith Purdue, a British guest at the event.

Founder of Spiny Babbler, Pallav Ranjan, an artist himself, was pleased to see the understanding and creative excellence of young people. He commented, “Writers, artists, creative people can be change-makers in society and have the ability contribute to human lives in a variety of ways. Our young people have inherent talent than needs recognition, showcasing, and networks. Spiny Babbler is pleased to work with this global event to create this forum full of you Nepalese students.”
To see additional photos of Spiny Babbler’s participation in  7 Days of Genius, click here.

Friday March 10 – 7 Days of Genius Recap

Check out what happened on Friday (March 10, 2017) of 7 Days of Genius:

  • Impact Hub Roma in Rome, Italy hosted a panel discussion on how to use work, food, and travel for social good.


  • 92Y produced a video on how creative design thinking can ensure more equality in education and criminal justice. Click here to watch!

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  • An EcoWeek organized a 7 Days of Genius event in Thessaloniki, Greece where architecture and design students presented their ideas that will have an impact in the city and local community, by promoting health, new business and design models, environmental awareness, new experiences to locals and tourists visiting the city of Thessaloniki.


  • The Luz Maria Foundation engaged the online community in a Twitter chat focused on the issue of amplifying and strengthening  women in positions of power.

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Thursday, March 9 – 7 Days of Genius Recap

Want to see what happened on Thursday of 7 Days of Genius?

  • PRI (Public Radio International) hosted a Facebook live on the idea of “fake ideas” and the structual, technical , and cultural innovations being made to combat it. Watch the whole conversation here!

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  • GOOD also tackled our 7 Days of Genius challenge on ensuring trust in media. They hosted a Twitter chat with several of their journalists on the topic.

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  • In London, at the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), new thinker and journalist, Rutger Bregman, author of Utopia for Realists, discussed how imagination and creative thinking can be used to address some of the world’s biggest challenges.

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  • Gobal Minimum in Freetown, Sierra Leone, gathered local students and young innovators to present their new genius ideas and innovations for social impact.

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  • At Meeting Point Cinema in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, ECOWEEK provided a platform for university students to discuss genius ideas around the use of public spaces.


Encouraging Empathy during 7 Days of Genius

This morning, 92Y hosted a Facebook live with Rabbi Peter Rubinstein, Director of Jewish Community and the Bronfman Center for Jewish Life at 92Y and Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid, the religious and spiritual leader of The Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood Inc., in Harlem. Together they discussed the question, How can we encourage more empathy and connection between individuals and distinct communities? This is one of the questions we are addressing for #7DaysofGenius this week.
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Here are their final thoughts:
Imam Al-Hajj Talib: “Neither the Jewish nor Muslim communities are monolithic communities. And if we start looking at each other through a prism of being neighbors, and being fellow Americans, and talking with each other, instead of to each other, we’ll all be better off.”
Rabbi Peter Rubinstein: “I think that what we can do, is begin conversations with somebody that we’ve most certainly not have had a meal with, but also have probably never asked their story. And if we can do that, we’ll work together toward a year of light.”

Join the conversation and connect by following the #7DaysofGenius hashtag.

Women’s Empowerment – Using Art as a Form of Genius

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On March 8, Hamqadam Youth Participation for Empowerment (HYPE) along with eighteen young activists came together to discuss the 7 Days of Genius challenge of ensuring human rights and an equitable world. The group identified current issues that hindered women’s empowerment in their community in Pakistan and together, discussed ways to resolve these hurdles by creating solutions using art.
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Some of the ideas that transpired were: using social media to amplify leaders in women’s empowerment, putting women in positions of power in universities and schools specifically for youth education, generating a theater group to explore themes and stories about women’s empowerment, producing a film documentary to represent women with disabilities, and capacity building for boys to teach them about protecting women and girls.
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Thank you to HYPE organizer Muhammad Sarim Imran.

Follow #7DaysofGenius for more updates from Genius events around the world.

Impact Hub Budapest Explores Genius Ways to Welcome Refugees

Impact Hub Budapest welcomed 40 participants this past Tuesday to explore and discuss this year’s Genius theme, displacement and migration. Together they engaged in innovative ways to balance security while committing to opening regions to displaced persons.
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One idea presented to the group was a community-driven platform called, MIRA. This concept creates a matching system with refugees and volunteers interested in welcoming and assimilating refugees into their new homes. Another idea discussed was called Techfugees, which is a social enterprise co­ordinating the international tech industry’s response to needs of refugees. Volunteers that enlist in Techfugees, participate in hackathons, workshops, and other projects in the effort to generate technological solutions that fit the needs of refugees around the world.
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The ideas presented were all ways to amplify the narratives of migrants and seek new ways to help them integrate more easily into society. The event also found ways to foster more dialogue in a meaningful way with people who may have had different perspectives about the issue.
Melinda Varfi from Impact Hub Budapest explains that, “Extreme views and polarization are globally tending to happen. Hungary is no exception. Our workshop was aiming to bring different perspectives closer, help locals to engage in the topic and contribute to the larger conversation this way.”

GOOD Gives Us a Glimpse of the Future of Cities


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Throughout this year’s 7 Days of Genius, our partners at GOOD are sharing stories that address some of the 7 Days of Genius challenges. Writer Jordan E. Rosenfeld gives us a glimpse of what the future of cities may look like, explaining how researchers from Gartner Inc., say that by the year 2020, smart “things” or rather smart machines will be talking to each other. Rosenfeld writes:

Every day, over 3.2 billion people connect to the internet to check social media, read the headlines, shop online, and share more than 1.5 million gigabytes of data every minute. However, there’s another internet of sorts, one that exchanges almost as much data, without the celebrity gossip or commenting trolls. Using sophisticated sensors, location software, and even artificial intelligence, “smart” machines and devices are wired and talking to one another without any need to interface with humans, in an environment known as the Internet of Things (IoT). These things can range from your refrigerator to your car, from sprinkler systems to healthcare systems. Tech experts predict that by 2020, more than 25 billion smart “things” will be talking to one another.

Read more at GOOD.

Wednesday, March 8 – 7 Days of Genius

Check out all of the 7 Days of Genius activations from all of the world:

  • In honor of International Women’s Day, Sayfty engaged online activists in a Twitter chat focusing on creating safer spaces for women around the world.

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  • 92Y hosted a Facebook live with Rabbi Peter Rubinstein and Imam Al-Hajj Talib on the question, How can we encourage more empathy and connection between individuals and distinct communities? To view the entire livestream, click here.

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  • Dr Gail Saltz and a panel of fellow experts discussed the connection between ability, creativity and minds that are wired differently as well as what adults, parents and children can do to find and enhance their strengths while treating their weaknesses in a talk at 92Y.

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  • KRVIA in collaboration with ECOWEEK explored the 7 Days of Genius challenge on cities and communities of the future. The discussed conventional landscapes and how best to utilize them.


  • In celebration of International Women’s Day, JEST Hub in partnership with ECOWEEK featured female entrepreneurs sharing their ideas to enhance job opportunities and vital services to Arab women located in Jerusalem and the West Bank.


  • Impact Hub Floripa launched an event in Florianópolis, Brazil to resolve and remedy gender inequalities in their communities.

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Highlighting Female Geniuses Around The World

Superwoman Next Door is a campaign to empower and encourage every girl to look inside herself and unleash her real ‘Superpowers.’ Every girl has them but they don’t always have the spaces or opportunities to unleash them.
For 7 Days of Genius, Superwoman Next Door creator Upasana Chauhan wanted to showcase real life superwomen, some of those “hidden figures” doing incredible, if overlooked, work. Inspired by the 7 Days of Genius challenge around equality and human rights, Chauhan produced ‘7 Days 7 Superwomen from 7 Continents.’
The videos highlight women from around the world – one from each continent – doing genius work in their fields. In the video below, Nigerian artist Olutosin Oladosu talks about her initiative to use trash to create art. A domestic violence survivor herself, Oladosu has inspired other violence victims to launch their own creative projects. Her genius idea is both advancing human rights and using art for social good.
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Chauhan has met many of women she is featuring and interviewed them via Skype or over the phone. She writes, “All the women that I have featured via Superwoman Next Door, I am personally inspired by them and their work. I have physically seen their challenges, and it has been exhilarating and heartening to share their work. These women are the real ‘super-sheroes’ without a doubt. They are changing the faces of women’s empowerment.”
My husband also helped edit these videos. He has been a consistent ally for women’s empowerment and helps fundraise for computers for girls education.
Follow #7DaysofGenius to see more Superwoman videos!

Red Dot Foundation: Safecity Discuss Genius Solutions to End Sexual Harassment

On International Women’s Day, March 8, Delhi, India’s Red Dot Foundation: Safecity marked 7 Days of Genius by creating a safe space to discuss areas of gender inequalities in their communities. The event was called, ‘Break the Silence’ which symbolizes the need to stand up against stereotypes about women.

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Throughout the workshop, organizers were able to encourage participants to express their opinions and contribute their narratives in meaningful ways. Often times, women fear intervening or reporting instances of harassment of women in public. By facilitating this space, 15 girls residing in the Undergraduate Hostel for Girls, University of Delhi were able to talk about the importance of these issues.

This session also encouraged the attendees to think of their own solutions to how we can end practices like body shaming and sexual harassment, while encouraging more self-esteem among young girls.


Organizer Aarushee Shukla notes, “Although the session did not begin with too much involvement from the audience, before we knew it, each and every 15 of the girls had something to share with us.” 

To watch the Facebook live of the event, click here.

GOOD Challenges Us to Engage in Empathy via #7DaysofGenius

For this year’s 7 Days of Genius, our friends at Good are sharing stories that address some of the 7 Days of Genius challenges. This article by Sarah Kavoc looks at the challenge of empathy and how we can we encourage more empathy and connection between individuals and distinct communities. The simple, but genius solution? Read! According to several studies, reading encourages people to relate to others and introduces them to new and diverse experiences. As Kavoc explains:


Imagine if we started, as infants, hearing stories about very different human beings from our parents. Positive stories. Sad stories. Stories woven from real-life psychology. Imagine how much kinder we could be if we kept pursuing these kinds of stories throughout elementary school, high school, college, and beyond. Just as our brains develop throughout childhood and adolescence, our empathy muscle memory would develop, too.
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Read more here!

Using 7 Days of Genius to Advance Entrepreneurship for Social Good

This year, the Holon Institute of Technology in partnership with ECOWEEK hosted a 7 Days of Genius discussion on using entrepreneurship for social good in Holon, Israel. It was attended by 50 young designers, including graduate and undergraduate students of Design at the Holon Institute of Technology.

The workshop centered around social entrepreneurship, and the aim was to expose students to innovative entrepreneurial approaches with a wide spectrum of examples presented by veteran designers: from nanotechnology in materials and how they can benefit society, initiatives involving foreign workers, immigrants, and people with special needs, to the revival of public space, and the activation of the local community. The innovations presented illustrated, in different ways, the 7 Days of Genius challenge around designing the Cities and Communities of the Future.

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The goal was to inspire students of design, on their way to building their own careers as designers, and show them how they can combine their talent with an entrepreneurial approach and create new services and products which will benefit society.

Nanotechnology in materials can benefit society in a variety of ways; this can be from medical applications to new materials that can serve society without putting more pressure on natural resources; initiatives by young designer groups in foreign worker, immigrant and low-income neighborhoods, provide social services and community life by reviving and reclaiming public space in areas that authorities have often given up on; in institutions for people with special needs, instead of segregation, they become an integral part of the local community, providing alternative services and a point of reference and engagement for local businesses and people.
It is also no accident that the event was hosted in an academic institution. Within the context of star-architects and designers, flashy magazines and global practices, we took this opportunity to combine concepts that students are not always exposed to. Putting the focus in context, local community, innovation, entrepreneurship, place-making and design, we aimed to turn students’ attention to their cities and communities, and how their real needs are opportunities for designers to discover and develop their talent and skills by being creative, entrepreneurial and engage in work that benefits their city and their community.

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The 7 Days of Genius events are opportunities for networking and forging new collaborations. The event has provided a fertile platform for this to happen. Students were exposed to new ideas and inspired to new possibilities. This will hopefully engage students to discuss more after the event and captivate them to do some research on their own. It also helps facilitate a way to learn more about how they can use these new ideas in their own work.

7 Days of Genius partner and event organizer Elias Messinas of ECOWEEK concluded, “I am convinced that it is only a matter of time before the seeds we planted in the event, will grow to become tangible initiatives for the well-being of cities and local communities.”

Learn more and watch the full livestream below.

Tuesday, March 7 Recap – 7 Days of Genius

Check out highlights below from Tuesday of 7 Days of Genius:

  • 92Y hosted a Facebook live discovering “Genius and the Grateful Dead” and the power of music and social change. Guests were Steve Silberman (author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity and Skeleton Key: A Dictionary for Deadheads) and musician Conrad Doucette (co-curator and performer, Day of The Dead (2016), a Red Hot compilation spearheaded by The National benefitting global AIDS/HIV charities). To watch the full livestream, click here.

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  • In Budapest, Hungary, Impact Hub Budapest facilitated a discussion on innovations responding to the needs of migrants.

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  • In Holon, Israel, the Holon Institute of Technology explored innovative ways to engage in entrepreneurship for social good. 

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  • BallotReady in Chicago, Illinois hosted a panel on genius ways to restore trust in the media. The participant’s explored creative ways to regain the public’s trust.

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  • Brooklynites headed to Shared Studios to step into Portals where they were virtually connected to people at an Impact Hub in Rwanda. Participants discussed how we can bridge global divides to encourage more connection and enhance the understanding between individuals and distinct communities.

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  • HYPE (Hamqadam Youth Participation for Empowerment) hosted an event in Multan/Punjab, Pakistan called, “Dear Dolls”. This workshop included sessions where participants created artwork on the topics of women’s empowerment.

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Check Out These 3 Innovative Designs on Displacement and Migration

As part of the #7DaysofGenius themes, we’re asking the question, How can we better balance security while also helping refugees and displaced people facing humanitarian crises?
Learn more about these 3 innovative designs discussing this theme via Cooper Hewitt.

Cities and Communities: How the First City Got Started 12,000 Years Ago

This year, as part of #7DaysofGenius, we’re asking people to think about their city or community of the future — one that’s sustainable and equitable.
To kick of the festival, we look back at the very first city on record.
Check out the 92nd Street Y’s animated video for #7DaysofGenius where Jonathan F. P. Rose explains how the first city was started in Turkey, 12,000 years ago.
To learn more, check out the entire talk via 92Y On Demand.

Monday, March 6 Recap – 7 Days of Genius

Here’s a snapshot of the 7 Days of Genius activations that happened around the world on Monday, March 6:

  • 92Y produced a video in collaboration with the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum on how design can address challenges around migration and displacement. Take a look!

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  • In addition, Impact Hub Mexico hosted a 7 Days of Genius conversation in Mexico City on displacement and migration. To watch the full livestream click here!

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Contribute to our #7DaysofGenius Video – Create for Good

Contribute to our #7DaysofGenius Video – Create for Good
Call to Action: Help Make a Crowd-Curated #7DaysofGenius Video

Description: There are over 50 #7DaysofGenius events happening around the world! We want to capture and share some of the voices and ideas that make #7DaysofGenius so great.
We’d like to create a video collage featuring #7DaysofGenius participants in cities/countries around the globe.
Here’s how you can contribute:
1. Record 1 to 2 people at your event answering the following question: What is an idea or innovation that you want to see in the future that will better the world? Why?

2. Email your video to Jason Rosenberg at
(If your file is too large to email, you can use the free service WeTransfer to send to Jason)
Some tips to remember:

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· Shoot your Genius video horizontally, not vertically
· You can use a smartphone to record
· Send your Genius video when on WiFi or download it directly from your phone to a computer and then send via computer
· Please do not delete your Genius video from your phone until we confirm receipt
If you have any questions, please contact Jason Rosenberg at

Spiny Babbler and PIN Nepal Come Together to ‘Create for Good’ during #7DaysofGenius

On February 27, Nepalese arts organization, Spiny Babbler in collaboration with 92Y helped kick off the #7DaysofGenius festival with an event at PIN Nepal – a home for girls in need. They hosted a workshop for students around the 7 Days of Genius challenges: Bridging the Divide, Health, Wellness and Mindfulness, News and Information, Cities & Communities of the Future, Displacement and Migration, The Arts, and Equality & Human Rights.

Since this year’s #7DaysofGenius theme is Create for Good, thirty girls at PIN Nepal produced artwork around the 7 challenges.

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And the students brainstormed ways to improve their communities by:

1. Picking up trash and recycling items more often.
2. Finding ways to expand health services.
3. Spreading kindness in areas in need.
4. Creating accessible transportation for those who need to attend schooling.

A young woman named Susmita explained her artwork saying “I drew someone sweeping and my friend, Anita drew someone picking up the trash and throwing them in the dust bin. Our message is that all of us are working together. No matter if we are rich or poor, we want our communities to be working together for the betterment of our people!”


See more photos from the event and check back next week for more #7DaysofGenius updates from Nepal and other countries around the world!

Welcome to 7 Days of Genius 2017 – Create for Good

Welcome to 7 Days of Genius 2017! Once again, we are thrilled to invite people from around the world to collaborate on a digital festival of new ideas. 7 Days of Genius is an opportunity for anyone anywhere to reflect on — and create! — genius solutions to challenges we face in our immediate communities and on a global scale. This year, we will be joined by designers and students, budding artists and entrepreneurs – all engaged in exploring, debating and cultivating new ideas that will advance social good.

Check out our 7 challenges and download our toolkit for specifics on how you can get involved.

And, stayed tuned to this blog for updates! We will feature stories, pictures and video from 92Y and contributors from Nepal to Guatemala, India to South Africa, Los Angeles to NYC…and more.

In the meantime, read more about the amazing organizations, communities and individuals that made 7 Days of Genius 2016 an amazing success!