July 05, 2016
This year is ArtStarts' 20th Anniversary. As we celebrate our accomplishments and impact, we are also inspired to think ahead about what the next 20 years hold for young people. What role can art and creativity play to support our next generation to thrive in the future?
To help us explore this question, we sat down with 20 community leaders across different sectors and asked them to share their story and thoughts on the relevance of art and creativity. Over 20 weeks, we'll share these stories with you. We hope that they will inspire you to join our community of supporters so that together we can continue to build a bright future for BC's young people.
This week's Next 20 community builder is Dr. Alexandra Greenhill. A lifelong learner, Alexandra is an award winning health leader and tech CEO. She is the cofounder and CEO of myBestHelper.com, the innovative tech company that supports people in daily life and times of need, was the chief medical officer of Medeo, is a director on the board of Ayogo, and has been a school board trustee and chair of the BC Conseil Scolaire Francophone. A practicing clinician, Alexandra won the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award in 2012, was one of Business Vancouver's Top 40 under 40 in 2013, and is very curious to know what the future holds.
You identify yourself as a futurist - can you share what this means to you?
The world needs people to obsess about the future and to think about what's next and figure out how to be best prepared. I am one of those people. I am interested in exploring what is almost possible and making it possible right now in order to positively impact a lot of people. My passion is exploring how technology can produce game changing ideas. New innovations have the potential to positively transform people's lives. Just think of 3D printing, people are now printing prosthesis for kids all over the world that until now, wasn't a possibility. Globally, there are many big problems that we are trying to address and I believe that with a creative mindset the solutions can be near.
When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was one of those kids who wanted to do everything and nothing. I was never sure of my career choices but eventually, through a lot of trial and error I was able to identify what I liked doing and what I didn't like doing. I played a lot of video games and in high school I started coding and my love for technology grew from there.
Describe how you got to where you are today.
My path has been defined by the unexpected. If you told me that I would be doing what I'm doing now even five years ago I would have said, "you’re kidding". By following the unexpected path I have found out how to be exactly where I want to be. I get excited by complicated situations, where no solutions seemingly exist and where I get to explore options to figure out what is going to be the best solution to positively impact people.
How would you define creativity?
To me creativity is the ability to explore and imagine something different than what currently exists. Creativity and innovation are tightly linked - I think that innovating in unexpected ways is creativity.
What supports the development of creativity?
One of the important conditions for creativity is to have room to play and make mistakes. Making mistakes is a big trend right now in the tech space. If you're not making enough mistakes you're not pushing the agenda forward. Most of us went through school trying to get perfect grades and avoid mistakes, but in real life, the right answer comes through a series of small experiments that are not perfect.
What inspired you to start myBestHelper?
I used to be an Emergency Room doctor and every time I was treating a patient I would always wonder, how could this situation have been prevented? I started myBestHelper as a way to use technology to allow people to connect with the support they need at various times in their life from child care to elder care. Research indicates that three times as many people now live alone as compared to 10 years ago. When families are asked, "How was your day?" 59% say "overwhelmed" as compared to 20% 10 years ago. It has tripled in a decade. I believe providing access to support is key to reducing illness. Through myBestHelper I still see myself as being able to practice medicine as preventing illness or preventing the deterioration of illnesses is essential.
We want to hear from you!
What opportunities do young people have to be innovative?
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At ArtStarts in Schools, we want to ensure that young people across British Columbia have opportunities to develop their curiosity and creative potential and to build skills to thrive in the next 20 years—and beyond.
You can help us realize our vision by donating today and joining our community of supporters.
Learn more about ArtStarts in Schools and the work we do and discover additional ways you can show your support.
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