Idea Storm Blog - Design Thinking for Young Minds


My oldest daughter will finish high school in 2030 and will enter a world where it is estimated that 800 million jobs will have been replaced by robots and all routine and repetitive jobs will have been automated.

The world of 2030….

What will the world of 2030 look like? How can I, and any parent reading this article, prepare their children to be successful after leaving school and university?

The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting took place in Davos last week and education was a key theme. If the knowledge based approach of “200 years” continues to be the way children are educated then there is no way they will compete with machines. Soft skills are the key skills that children need to learn like independent thinking, values and team-work.

What are the top skills in the workplace?

Last year Google released a report where they analysed hiring, firing and promotion data accumulated since the company formed in 1998. The report showed that the top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills:

  • Being a good coach

  • Communicating and listening well

  • Possessing insights into others (including different values and points of view)

  • Having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues

  • Being a good critical thinker and problem solver

  • Being able to make connections across complex ideas

I believe that Design Thinking is a key tool to teaching our children these skills.

Benefits of Design Thinking…

Nitasha Manchanda wrote an article titled “How Design Thinking can Transform Your Child’s Creativity" and she says that Design Thinking can be a powerful tool for innovation.

An extract from the article states “Besides the immediate benefit of increasing the efficiency and quality of the output, there are likely long-term advantages to using this approach, particularly when incorporated from a young age. The design thinking process can empower children by providing an active, problem-solving toolkit, which they can then apply to find solutions to a wide range of problems. On a related note, it can help instill a ‘maker mindset’ which will be increasingly important in the future.”

Design Thinking for kids around the world

Design Thinking is being done in South Africa and around the world.

  • United States:

DT4T:

One of the most interesting initiatives I found is DT4T – Design Thinking for Teens and it was started by two teenagers who are now still in their late teens. It is a recipient of the Google Education Grant 2018 and has an advisory board containing professors from the top Universities in the USA.

K12 Lab Network:

The d-Design school at Standford University has formed the K12 Lab Network which is a catalyst for the national movement to bring design thinking into schools and to help communities think beyond current school models.

  • India:

Design For Change:

This is an incredibly successful Design Thinking program that has a presence in 30 countries in the world – including South Africa. It has a simplified Design Thinking approach that is designed to unleash the superpower in kids.

During my research for this article I also came across companies across the globe that are offering Design Thinking to school children and offering creative exciting courses to grab and keep their attention.

Idea Storm – Design Thinking for Young Minds

Is there hope for our children leaving school and making their way through life? Absolutely! I believe that Design Thinking is a key tool for them to learn independent creative thinking as well as many of the critical 21st century thinking skills.

At Idea Storm, we are in the process of developing an extra-curricular offering for primary school children, to give them facilitated opportunities to learn the skills and how they can be applied to everyday problems. We would love to hear your thoughts on this, so please contact us via the contact form if you would like to be involved in any way.

The views in this article are my own and do not represent the company I work for.

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