Keynote Speaker Jamie Casap, Education Evangelist, Google

Capital One convenes community leaders to discuss tech innovations at 4th annual Reimagine Communities Summit

by Sabrina Corsiga, Special Contributor | October 23, 2019

For our students to thrive in today’s global digital economy, we need to make a significant cultural shift in our education system. This was the message that Jaime Casap, Education Evangelist for Google, emphasized during his opening session at Capital One’s fourth annual Reimagine Communities Summit on Monday, Oct. 7 in Plano. The Summit invites nonprofits, community leaders and corporate allies to learn how to harness technology for the betterment of our communities. It’s part of Capital One’s Future Edge initiative, which prepares more Americans with the skills, tools and resources they need to succeed in the 21st century.

The annual Summit’s focus shifts slightly each year. This year, Capital One issued an informal survey to find out the topics nonprofits across North Texas were eager to learn about. The survey results informed this year’s programming mix of keynotes, panels and breakout sessions on data, human-centered design, AI and machine learning and innovation.

Casap opened the 2019 Summit with a session on how to help students develop the skills required to thrive in the new digital world we live in. As a first-generation American who grew up on welfare and food stamps, Casap attested to the ways digital education can change families’ futures. For example, Texas currently has over 37,000 open computing jobs (3.2 times the average demand rate), and in 2017, 19 percent of computer science graduates in Texas were women. 

“[Education leads to] having an impact on kids you will never meet,” Casap said. 

Casap also shared some top-of-the-list skills that he believes Generation Z will need to succeed in the years to come: problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration, the ability to learn and creativity. 

Designing with empathy

During her session on human-centered design, educational designer Katie Krummeck discussed how innovation can be a powerful design tool. One aspect of human-centered design is using empathy to better understand the needs and behaviors of nonprofits and the communities and individuals they serve.

“We know we are facing unprecedented challenges as a community, and we know that we need creativity and flexible thinking to help us get out of [our problems],” Krummeck said.

To show how creativity solved an issue and improved people’s lives, Krummeck highlighted industrial designer Doug Dietz, who, through design thinking, redesigned the look of MRI machines for children by adding colorful decals and paints to create an imaginative experience for pediatric patients. Results showed reduced stress and anxiety in the young patients who underwent scans in the new machines.

“Once we realize that everything around us is designed, we begin to see that everything can be redesigned,” Krummeck said.

In keeping with the theme of using design to solve human problems, Renee McKeon, VP of Design for Capital One Financial Services, held an interactive workshop to demonstrate how to build empathy and understand community needs through design thinking.

“What you want to look for is something that people actually want, whether they know it explicitly or not, [and] something that will make sense for your organization or your business,” McKeon said.

McKeon added Capital One’s strategic design thinking mindset solves real problems for real people. Workshop attendees also participated in an interview exercise to build rapport and practice empathy with each other.

“Empathy is not just a stage at the beginning of the process,” McKeon said. “It’s not something you do and put aside; you actually need to stay in touch with [it] every step of the way.”

Using data for good

In his data-driven workshop, Unlocking Data for Good, speaker Robert Mundinger, founder of TheMap.net, demonstrated how big data and analytics can help organizations use new insights to tackle social challenges. Mundinger pointed out the similarities between books and data: Both tell a story, just in different formats. 

“Your goal is to be able to transform that data from something boring with a bunch of numbers into a book that’s more interesting and persuasive,” Mundinger said.

The future of AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) were the topics of conversation for an expert group of panelists who discussed how these technologies have transformed a wide range of industries, and how organizations can use AI and ML to enhance their operations.

Vikas Chowdhry, Chief Analytics and Information Officer for Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation, discussed the impact of AI on the medical industry. To assist hectic trauma centers during emergencies, Chowdhry’s team built a real-time AI trauma mortality model that, based on physiological parameters, predicts a patient’s chances for survival in the next 48 hours and sends signals to clinical teams about the most critical patients and the highest mortality risks.

“We don’t prescribe what care to take, but we do tell [clinical teams] based on our algorithms, ‘These are the riskiest patients [that need treatment],’” Chowdhry said.

Jon Gottfried, co-founder of Major League Hacking, pointed out that AI and ML tools like email marketing software are becoming cheaper and more accessible for technical staff in nonprofit organizations.

“I think this will continue to be the trend because it’s often not super cost-effective to build [those tools] in-house,” Gottfried said. “As organizations grow and the data we have available grows, then we can do more.” 

The Summit concluded with a roundtable of key leaders from each panel.

Panelist Adam Martel, co-founder and CEO of Gravyty, the first AI company focused solely on social good, suggested that nonprofits can harness technology to foster a vibrant future for North Texas by reskilling their employees and applying those new skills.

“Our ability as a society will be defined by how we’re able to retrain our employees and the people who are utilizing AI to really do more humanistic, higher level outcomes,” Martel said.

Panelists also discussed a number of tools that nonprofits can use to solve problems. Kate Knight, Director of Innovation & Nonprofit Success for United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, highlighted the Dallas Public Library as a free, tangible resource for nonprofits. On the library’s sixth floor, any nonprofit can access a nationwide database filled with thousands of funding grants. Knight also noted the library offers mentorship for small business leaders who may seek coaching for business plans.

Bridging the digital divide

Even as the world becomes more tech-driven, there’s still a “digital divide” — a barrier that separates those who don’t have access to innovative technology from those who do. Arjun Dugal, CTO for Capital One Financial Services says that Capital One is working to bridge this gap by collaborating with organizations such as Girls, Inc., Dallas ISD and NAF, a national network of education, business and community leaders who work together to ensure high school students are college, career and future ready.

“We are strategically partnering with organizations across our community, so that together, we can build a vibrant future for North Texas and continue to elevate our region as a hub for innovation and technology,” Dugal said.

High-tech resources have the power to enrich lives — particularly the lives of people who typically lack access to those resources. Outside of the Reimagine Communities Summit, Capital One works to provide D-FW residents with access to tech-related job resources through numerous community partnerships, such as Per Scholas. Capital One presents Bot camps and Coders’ events and is the presenting sponsor for WEDallas, a year-round program hosted by The Dallas Entrepreneur Center to support and empower women entrepreneurs in North Texas. Capital One is also the founding and presenting sponsor of the Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program.

To learn more about Capital One’s Future Edge program and its community partnerships, visit https://www.capitalone.com/about/.

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