A new year-long transition program aimed at teaching creative thinking to students has seen Irish teenagers apply innovation to five of the country’s major social problems, from the housing crisis to future pandemics.
The idea B! G it now hopes to garner support through a fundraising campaign to deliver the 2022 program, which already has a waiting list of 10,000 students.
The first year of B! G Idea has already brought 500 students from eight schools through the new 15-week program, created by Carlow social entrepreneur and industrial design expert Kim Mackenzie-Doyle.
He decided to use his two decades of experience in the creative industry to build the transition year program over the past 18 months, along with a team of award-winning creatives.
A total of 62 project proposals focused on the housing crisis, the fight against pandemics, the aging of the population, the fight against racism and the management of the health and well-being of adolescents, will soon be presented by the rural, urban and DEIS students from Clare, Limerick and Carlow inaugural schools.
They will be judged next month with a winner from each of the five categories and an overall winner announced at an online awards event.
The idea B! G wants to bridge the gap between education and industry and connect innovators with students for tangible and lasting impacts.
“Creativity can be taught,” Kim said.
“Ireland has the most progressive innovators with creative mindsets on the world stage, but we are not educating for creative or innovative thinking or problem solving. We know that by 2025, creativity is one of the best skills our world will need, ”he said.
“Our education system does not teach creativity as an autonomous module. Unfortunately, we stop encouraging creativity as children grow. Education must evolve. “
He said the students of The B! G Idea they were learning skills that they will use in the workforce as the next generation of innovators.
“We equip students with a creative mindset to address the biggest issues they will face and help them respond to a series of innovative informative reports.”
The program features a whopping 101 mentors from a wide range of disciplines, with creators such as Dermot Bannon, Diarmuid Gavin, Timi Ogunyemi, Lorna Ross and Roisin Lafferty also judging the projects.
So far it has attracted the support of Irish innovators such as MSD, UX Design Institute, Netwatch, Blacknight, Applegreen, Portwest, Creative Ireland and many more.
The program already has a waiting list of 10,000 students and teachers eager for 2022 and hopes to eventually introduce creativity modules for younger and older students.
However, with plans to roll out the program to 2,000 students next year, Kim said funding is now needed.
“The B! G idea is a social, non-profit enterprise, so we’d love to see sponsors step in to help us reach more students.”
“Sponsors can click through to our online support page and reinforce the program by either sponsoring a student, a class, or even a school.
“We want to position Ireland as the most creative and innovative nation in the world by empowering a new generation of problem solvers,” he said.
“The depth and originality we already see of the students has been amazing. The program has fostered emotional intelligence to provide inspiring and creative solutions and this learning should be encouraged, ”he said.
John Cullinane, deputy director of Carlow’s Presentation De La Salle College in Bagnelstown, which is one of the participating schools, said more levels of creativity and innovation were now needed than ever before.
“The world we live in today requires greater levels of creativity and innovation than at any time in our history. As the design writings of program B show! G Idea 2021, we live in an increasingly complex world that experiences unprecedented challenges that require creativity, innovation, collaboration and determination to manage and overcome, ”he said.
Log on to thebigidea.ie for more information on this program and stay tuned to learn more about the winning projects next month.