The ongoing ‘Making Innovators’ Kids edition seminar at C4DLab broke the internet after attracting massive attention from ‘netizens’ and innovation commentators. Kenyans on Twitter went ablaze to congratulate C4DLab and endorse the programme to the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education Prof. George Magoha. Other parents are just ‘impatient’ and can’t wait for the next edition of the programme.
Well, we are setting the pace in the country by introducing the 21st century skills like Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, Communication, Collaboration, Creativity among others through our programmes and events to youths and children at an early stage because this is where the world is heading to.
We believe that Design Thinking is a powerful problem-solving framework that has already been used in thousands of innovations. We’ve customized this framework to help children aged between 6 and 10 years to independently and collectively work through problems to deliver innovative solutions that they can boldly defend.
It’s been a nice journey making the next generation of innovators and we are all excited about the progress made so far. The young innovators are loving their stay at C4DLab and how they are mixing fun and learning in one space. Well let’s look at the various activities the kids went through today.
Activity 1 : Working in groups to prototype.
Based on their ideas formulated in the previous day, the kids went into ‘getting their hands dirty’ to prototype a moving toy car that doesn’t use electricity or batteries and doesn’t need to be pushed to move. Different groups came up with different models of toy cars with a vision of creating the lightest toy car possible that can move the furthest.
Activity 2: Testing Prototypes.
After building on their prototypes, it was now time to test their prototypes, a time to put a 3 days hustle into test. One lesson everyone at C4DLab carried home was the desire from the young innovators to improve on their prototype. All the 3 groups created different models of toy cars basically using the principle of converting Potential energy into Kinetic energy by using air pressure. How they did this? Using balloons! Yes just balloons and the cars would move. The top speed car went all the way to 4 meters away!
Activity 3: Pitching
One of the skills the young innovators learned during the 3 day seminar was the basics of presentation. These skills were to help them in staging their pitches to an audience of parents, mentors and Young Scientists Kenya (YSK) officials.
The 3 groups took up the stage and made their pitches. You are probably reading this wondering whether the kids actually hacked this. Yes they did! Credits to their mentors. Everyone in the room went silent to listen to under 10 year olds tell their stories of how they used the design thinking approach and applying Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to solve the ‘April 2019 Design Thinking Challenge’ which they actually did!
Parents were overwhelmed by the way the seminar had transformed their children so fast that they could think of problems affecting the society today and even ideate towards solving them. What do we say? Probably ‘in design thinking everything works’
Welcome to our day 2 review of the ongoing ‘Making Innovators’ kids edition seminar at C4DLab. Yesterday the young innovators went through the empathizing phase of the design thinking process and today they will be navigating the definition and ideation phases. Take a look at how things were like today in the two main activities.
Activity 1: Working in groups to define the April 2019 Design Thinking Challenge.
This activity saw the young innovators work in groups to brainstorm and define the problem at hand in the context of the April 2019 Design Thinking Challenge. The kids were able to answer the question ‘What is the problem?’ using their experience on the empathy session. It is in this phase that they learned how to understand why a user feels how he/she feels, in this case the child who lives in a slum.
Activity 2: Ideating around the physics of vehicles.
Mr. Peter Oketch introduced the concept of physics of vehicle motion around the principles of force, motion and energy to guide the innovators in their ideation phase. This was probably the most exciting session as the kids learned how they could use balloons to convert potential energy into kinetic energy using air pressure. The rate at which these kids grasped this concept amazed everyone.
Activity 3: Group presentations.
The young innovators wrapped the day by making presentations of their ideas to their mentors for guidance. Different groups came up with diverse ideas on how to solve the challenge at hand. The most exciting thing was how the kids generated multiple ideas and scaled down to a single grand idea after considering different factors such as cost and availability of materials for prototyping, effectiveness, etc.
Tomorrow the innovators will be firming up their ideas, prototyping and testing their prototypes. We can only wish them the best.
Well well well! It’s day one of the April 2019 Making Innovators, kids edition seminar and so far things look extremely good. The young innovators now have a background on design thinking, they have learned to work in teams, how to solve a problem using the circular design approach and already know how to sympathize with the user. Nice progress right?
Here is a look of how their day was.
Activity 1: Building the tallest tower possible that can hold an egg using straws and tape.
The children went trough the first activity of the day which was meant to kick-start them and open up their minds on how they can employ creativity and use circular design by maximizing the available local materials to design and create solutions. This activity was done in groups. Different towers came up, some were weak, others were strong but the lesson for the activity was ‘Everyone wins and in design thinking everything goes.’
Activity 2: April 2019 Design Thinking Challenge defined.
The second activity was an introduction of design thinking in the context of the April 2019 Design Thinking Challenge. Dr. Tonny Omwansa stated that the kids will create a toy car that moves as far as possible without batteries or being pushed. This concept was inspired by children who live in poor families in the slums of Nairobi and can’t afford modern toy cars to play with. The young innovators would then ideate within this challenge.
Activity 3: Empathy explained and Staging a User experience skit.
The young innovators regrouped after a session with Shelmith to stage a skit on empathy and user experience. This activity helped them answer the questions the user of a product would ask. Using the empathy map and persona, the children perfectly defined empathy in relation to design thinking.
Well, it’s a wrap for today. The children have learned a lot and the energy is overwhelming. The teamwork and number of ideas coming up from these children is overwhelming! We can’t wait to see how they handle the definition and ideation phases tomorrow.
Dr. Tonny Omwansa the director of C4DLab has today officially launched the ‘Making Innovators’ programme at C4DLab. The ‘April Design Thinking’ kids edition seminar which will run from 17th to 19th April 2019 is set to be the 1st of its kind.
The 3 day design thinking seminar, is part of the Making Innovators programme which is aimed at creating the next generation of innovators. The second edition will be in August 2019 during the schools holiday break. The programme targets children of age 6 to 12 years.
The young innovators are set to solve real life challenges experienced by their peers and fellow children who are disadvantaged because of poor backgrounds. The innovators will be working in the context of the April 2019 Design Thinking Challenge of “building a toy car that moves as far as possible without batteries or being pushed”
The children will undergo a 3 day seminar that will involve learning how to be empathetic with the user, defining a problem, ideating, prototyping and testing. As part of the learning process, the children will be guided by mentors throughout their 3 days experience. They will also have fun sessions and energizers in between to help them recollect and brainstorm.