Member of The Week - Lizzie Hodgson & Kipper

Introducing Lizzie Hodgson and her sidekick Kipper! - Director and Founder of ThinkNation and the owner of PLATF9RM Hove's most sociable dog!

Lizzie give us a quick low down on what ThinkNation's incentives are as a business?

Sure! We humanise the impact of technology on young people, mainly through creative means like events, performances, documentaries and videos. It’s all based around BIG tech questions such as ‘Will artificial intelligence diminish our humanity?’ and ‘Is social media creating a selfish or selfless society?’ or ‘Is space exploration pointless or the future of humans?’. Crucially, these questions are set by young people themselves. In fact, we were once described as ‘TED Talks meets Black Mirror’.

The difference with our programme is the young participants work alongside the thought leaders themselves who are shaping the world they will inherit. We also loop in creatives such as artists, musicians and actors who help young people articulate their responses to the big questions in creative ways. It’s pretty intense!

Thought leaders, in turn, gain new perspectives on the challenges young people face, breaking the echo chamber. We try to smash worlds together, creating opportunities and empowering young people whilst also humanising the reality many young people face as they inherit this brave new world. We take the complex and strip it down to a real-life level. This is as much about bursting elite bubbles (which many of us occupy) as it is holding a mirror up to our society. We must question our tech trajectory, it’s crucial.

Could you tell us a little bit about your recent work in New York?

Yeah - it’s really exciting! We’re working with a range of partners in New York City to see how ThinkNation goes down outside of the UK. There are two parts - an event in May when we will be working with 100+ young people from diverse communities, to discuss the big tech challenges they face in their lifetime.

We then take those findings, shape them as questions, and hold a bigger event (Feb 2019) in NYC where we get young people from across the five boroughs of NYC to answer the questions. We’re working with various global organisations on different levels, most of which I can’t announce yet, but the mentors are likely to range from astronauts and high-profile musicians and actors, to silicon valley leaders… and maybe a couple of politicians or ambassadors thrown in for good measure!

However, one partnership I can talk about is our work with Columbia University. They will be bringing academic interrogation to ThinkNation’s efforts to explore concrete ways in which we can improve young people’s social mobility - specifically education, income, employability. This will be done through our events and wider mentoring programme which we will be developing in 2019.

 
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What is your opinion on our modern-day dependency on technology?

I think it’s incredible. The advances in medical and health technology in particular is amazing for many of us, but I also think we have to question more the tech-trajectory I mentioned previously. We shouldn’t have blind faith in technology and that’s what we are hoping to achieve at ThinkNation: not only question that blind faith, and motivations by organisations to develop the technology - but also ground the reality of the impact it all has and could have. There is a great deal of good in technology, but if you look at the big disrupters, it’s often financially (and sometimes politically) driven, so sometimes we have to ask hard questions. This is particularly pertinent with Artificial Intelligence, and specifically AI ethics. We must get the foundations right and keep them in check.


 

I did a little snooping and found out you used to be an intern for Gordon Brown. How was it working under the prime minister of England?

Well at the time I didn’t actually know he was going to be Prime Minister, he was at that point the Shadow Chancellor. He was amazing. I know he has a lot of people that scrutinise him, because when you are in that kind job in front of the media, it’s inevitable. Nevertheless, you don’t get to be Shadow Chancellor without doing some bold moves. He made me feel very welcome, and the team that I was working with were great. I met some very interesting people.

Working for him gave me the confidence to believe in myself more. Every now and again I suffer from impostor syndrome, and it can be so unnerving but I try to recall some of the big, gutsy stuff I’ve done and know that if I can do that then I can do anything. I actually went back into government about 10 years later and I became a speech writer for 5 years within the Department of Health. Gordon Brown won’t remember me for toffee – but I’ll never forget working for him, it was great.

 

I did a little snooping and found out you used to be an intern for Gordon Brown. How was it working under the prime minister of England?

Well at the time I didn’t actually know he was going to be Prime Minister, he was at that point the Shadow Chancellor. He was amazing. I know he has a lot of people that scrutinise him, because when you are in that kind job in front of the media, it’s inevitable. Nevertheless, you don’t get to be Shadow Chancellor without doing some bold moves. He made me feel very welcome, and the team that I was working with were great. I met some very interesting people.

Working for him gave me the confidence to believe in myself more. Every now and again I suffer from impostor syndrome, and it can be so unnerving but I try to recall some of the big, gutsy stuff I’ve done and know that if I can do that then I can do anything. I actually went back into government about 10 years later and I became a speech writer for 5 years within the Department of Health. Gordon Brown won’t remember me for toffee – but I’ll never forget working for him, it was great.

 

I did a little snooping and found out you used to be an intern for Gordon Brown. How was it working under the prime minister of England?

Well at the time I didn’t actually know he was going to be Prime Minister, he was at that point the Shadow Chancellor. He was amazing. I know he has a lot of people that scrutinise him, because when you are in that kind job in front of the media, it’s inevitable. Nevertheless, you don’t get to be Shadow Chancellor without doing some bold moves. He made me feel very welcome, and the team that I was working with were great. I met some very interesting people.

Working for him gave me the confidence to believe in myself more. Every now and again I suffer from impostor syndrome, and it can be so unnerving but I try to recall some of the big, gutsy stuff I’ve done and know that if I can do that then I can do anything. I actually went back into government about 10 years later and I became a speech writer for 5 years within the Department of Health. Gordon Brown won’t remember me for toffee – but I’ll never forget working for him, it was great.

 

I did a little snooping and found out you used to be an intern for Gordon Brown. How was it working under the prime minister of England?

Well at the time I didn’t actually know he was going to be Prime Minister, he was at that point the Shadow Chancellor. He was amazing. I know he has a lot of people that scrutinise him, because when you are in that kind job in front of the media, it’s inevitable. Nevertheless, you don’t get to be Shadow Chancellor without doing some bold moves. He made me feel very welcome, and the team that I was working with were great. I met some very interesting people.

Working for him gave me the confidence to believe in myself more. Every now and again I suffer from impostor syndrome, and it can be so unnerving but I try to recall some of the big, gutsy stuff I’ve done and know that if I can do that then I can do anything. I actually went back into government about 10 years later and I became a speech writer for 5 years within the Department of Health. Gordon Brown won’t remember me for toffee – but I’ll never forget working for him, it was great.

 

I did a little snooping and found out you used to be an intern for Gordon Brown. How was it working under the prime minister of England?

Well at the time I didn’t actually know he was going to be Prime Minister, he was at that point the Shadow Chancellor. He was amazing. I know he has a lot of people that scrutinise him, because when you are in that kind job in front of the media, it’s inevitable. Nevertheless, you don’t get to be Shadow Chancellor without doing some bold moves. He made me feel very welcome, and the team that I was working with were great. I met some very interesting people.

Working for him gave me the confidence to believe in myself more. Every now and again I suffer from impostor syndrome, and it can be so unnerving but I try to recall some of the big, gutsy stuff I’ve done and know that if I can do that then I can do anything. I actually went back into government about 10 years later and I became a speech writer for 5 years within the Department of Health. Gordon Brown won’t remember me for toffee – but I’ll never forget working for him, it was great.

 

I did a little snooping and found out you used to be an intern for Gordon Brown. How was it working under the prime minister of England?

Well at the time I didn’t actually know he was going to be Prime Minister, he was at that point the Shadow Chancellor. He was amazing. I know he has a lot of people that scrutinise him, because when you are in that kind job in front of the media, it’s inevitable. Nevertheless, you don’t get to be Shadow Chancellor without doing some bold moves. He made me feel very welcome, and the team that I was working with were great. I met some very interesting people.

Working for him gave me the confidence to believe in myself more. Every now and again I suffer from impostor syndrome, and it can be so unnerving but I try to recall some of the big, gutsy stuff I’ve done and know that if I can do that then I can do anything. I actually went back into government about 10 years later and I became a speech writer for 5 years within the Department of Health. Gordon Brown won’t remember me for toffee – but I’ll never forget working for him, it was great.