What happens when you combine experience and youthful exuberance without making young innovators feel they need to choose between education and ideation?
We’d intended to do an event in collaboration with Coleg Harlech because we’ve already been working with Xsportmap’s Chris Headleand, who lectures in creative media there. Coleg Harlech ran a seminar in the morning with a series of great speakers, focusing on creative businesses. We heard from Rebecca Colley-Jones, who talked about the impact of technology on the environment. We had a talk from Tom Beverley and Rhys Jones, who develop mobile applications for education.
At the Inventorium workshop, we ended up with students from Coleg Harlech and a group from Coleg Ceredigion. The idea was to give young people a chance to generate ideas, evaluate them, and look for business opportunities in them.
We split the 18 students into groups, where they played Inventorium Poker, then chose two of their best ideas to explore for business viability. They looked at the obstacles, the market, how to get customers — in general, how to take an idea and look at it like an entrepreneur. They presented the initial ideas to each other, and then spent the rest of the afternoon developing.
A lot of the students are studying filmmaking, so one group had a recce app, which would make it easy to source filming locations that met certain criteria. For example, if you needed a location by the sea with mountains in the background that looked good at night, the app would help you find that. It would take in tidal information, information about the moon and artificial lighting that would tell you about brightness, etc.
There was a pair of students who want to convert old buses into environmentally friendly and bespoke mobile homes. They’re really keen on doing it, so we worked closely with them on how they would source the buses, do the design and conversion, and market themselves.
Another idea was a farm that would be controlled by virtual shareholders who would control what the farm did. They could watch through webcams and follow online, and make decisions about animals, crops, what to buy, and what to sell.
Young people as natural innovators
We’ve done a lot of idea generation workshops, but this was a different, much younger group than the ones we’ve worked with before. Young people add a really good angle to our events, I think. They have so many fantastic ideas, and they’re really boundless in terms of where their minds will go. They’re really good fun, and not afraid to say stuff.
When it comes to technology, and especially creative technology, they know what they want and they know what would work. They’ve been brought up with the technology, so they’re vital to the process of developing more of it. The challenge is helping them to be creative with the technology that exists already.
They were more aware of the entrepreneurial side of things than I thought they would be, so we’re excited to help them learn how to develop that kind of thinking. I was surprised how mature they were, and not only how interested they were in ways that you could make money out of creative media, but also how much they’d already thought about it.
And their presentation skills were really very good — they were so confident standing up and explaining their ideas. That’s something that can be built on to make them successful entrepreneurs.
We’ve been following up on the ideas and we’re looking at going to Coleg Ceredigion to run another workshop with students who want to take their ideas on further. If they’re interested — which we hope they will be — we’ll help them source people working in industry who might be able to see where the ideas will go, and perhaps develop a product. The idea will come from students, who will always be involved, but the industry expertise can help make it a reality.
We’ve talked before about creating situations where young people are encouraged to make their ideas happen, and we’re hoping that we can help them build on this without feeling they need to leave education before they’re ready.
Posted on May 10th, 2012 by Jenny