My school moto was - "Mól an óige agus tiocfaidh sí" - This is Irish for "Encourage the young, and they will succeed".
This is no more evident than in the case of the IBM interns at the "Extreme Blue Lab" in Dublin, Ireland. A group of 2006 interns have come up with PodSmart.
"PodSmart is a new technology from IBM that allows you to have your work and personal e-mail, calendar appointments and news feeds read aloud on any MP3 player, including iPods. You can customise playlists, so for example, PodSmart reads your most important e-mails, your urgent appointments and your favourite news sources. You can even listen to music."
and the Sunday Tribune (8th July 2007) reported that:
"IBM likes the text-to-speech personal podcasting idea so much it's planning to incorporate the technology into the latest edition of its new office productivity suite, Lotus Notes 8, and is sharing the patents with Irish students Edward Mackle, Keith Pilson, Declan Tarrant and Eamon Phelan who came up with the "corporate mashup""
"what we're seeing is 20 year-olds coming into the workforce who are not happy doing things the traditional way. These people have grown up through a connected world and workplace collaborative technologies have to reflect that. User interfaces will have to be more functional and user-friendly than old ways of doing email and collaborative technology. They're saying things like: 'why should my online social network stop at the doorstep of the office?'"
I love this example of grassroots innovation. The interns were given laptops, assigned a business and technical mentor, and encouraged to contact any of the 350,000 IBM employees throughout the world.
The result was amazing, generating interest from executives, a user group that's motivated to manage countless emails and information feeds.