Google's tips for social impact

This week I hosted the second in our series of City Conversations examining social sustainability. A packed house at City Recital Hall braved storms to hear a panel of experts discuss how government, foundations, business and individuals can work together to deliver social good.

You can watch a video of the panel discussion or keynotes by clicking here.

Jacquelline Fuller, head of Google.org's philanthropic giving, kicked off the discussion with a keynote on Google's three rules for social impact - let data be your guide, invest in technology, and choose smart teams and let them be flexible.

Jacquelline joined a panel discussion with philanthropist and founder of Wotif.com Graeme Wood; Change.org's Karen Skinner; Virgin Mobile Australia's David Scribner; Hello Sunday Morning's Jamie Moore and Dr Karen Nelson-Field, Senior Research Associate with the Ehrenber-Bass Institute for Marketing Science.

I was then particularly moved by Professor Emeritus Ron McCallum's closing address, which gave us a very personal insight into the extraordinary potential for technology to improve lives.

Professor McCallum, Dean of the University of Sydney Law School, is one of the 37 million people who are completely blind. He began reading as a child using Braille that was hand-punched by volunteers with styluses. Today he scans documents into his computer, which immediately recognises the text and reads it back to him. These and other advances have given people like Professor McCallum independence. He recognised the need for such technology to be universal rather than just accessible to those in the developed world.

Like most global cities, issues including a rapidly growing population, pressure on infrastructure and services, and the gap between our very rich and very poor, are presenting challenges to Sydney's health and well-being.

Social sustainability is a pillar of Sustainable Sydney 2030, but it is a shared responsibility - government plays a role, business does too, and so do we as individuals. We want to collaborate with other levels of government and the private and not-for-profit sector to builder a stronger, more inclusive community for all.

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