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World Design Day's youth focus

This year's World Design Day 2017 on 27 April 2017 is aimed at encouraging youth through ‘Start Young', a project spanning five continents, in five languages, to introduce design concepts to kids through educational workshops.
Start Young workshop © ico-D
It is part of a global collaboration to promote early design education in partnership with Open Design Cape Town (South Africa), Casa Wabi (Mexico), Triennale Design Museum (Italy) and Seoul Design Foundation (South Korea).

This year, the International Council of Design (ico-D) has partnered with Montréal-based designer Marc Kandalaft of We are Rap to introduce design to a whole new generation.

For the theme of the 2017 World Design Day celebrations, ‘Start Young’, we are asking ourselves “How do we prepare young kids to navigate this turbulent world, so they can become sensitive, intellectual, imaginative and practical leaders for tomorrow?”

ico-D sees the great potential for design to improve the world around us. We know that design changes — for the better — how we live and thrive in everyday environments such as schools, parks, workplaces and hospitals. The profession of design and its ethics requires designers to consider context, culture, diversity and specificity before even starting to design and this has become an essential way of thinking and being in the complex world we live in today.

We are starting with a primer on design with some hands-on exercises to initiate the participants into a basic form of design methodology. The WDD2017: Start Young workshop will be given around the world, crossing times zones and uniting kids from all walks of life, from Korea to Mexico. The workshops will celebrate the transformative power of kids and design across regions and cultures.

The hands-on workshop WDD2017: Start Young will encourage the participating children to explore their creative potential freely and trust their capacity to solve problems and test their solutions. WDD2017: Start Young participants will be asked to Observe > Analyse > Create > Model > Test. The desired outcome of the workshop is to inspire and empower children to adopt innovative ways of thinking and to enhance their creative confidence.

Early awareness of design is crucial


Design is transformative. Knowing that the kids of today will be the leaders of tomorrow, early awareness of design as a field of professional practice and of elemental design methodology is key. Whether they choose to become designers, or to apply design methodology in their approach to everyday problems, the designing mindset will be an invaluable asset for whatever future they choose.

Kids are a blank slate. They are at an age when their view of the world and its possibilities are limitless. As the first generation of ‘pure’ digital natives, today’s kids already feel personally responsible for their own futures: they want to be able to choose and create work that makes a difference in the world. And they will do it in their own, unique way. Having a designing mindset means being tuned into the invisible things that matter to people and their relationships to each other and the world.

What if design was taught to children the same way math is as everyday and on equal footing with science, history and languages? Nearly everywhere in the world, math is considered one of the essential subjects necessary for developing a well-rounded, young mind. The logic is, though many of us will not become mathematicians, we inherently know math is useful, as it shapes and enlarges our brains in a particular, irrefutable way. In some countries, design is already considered an essential subject in elementary school curriculum. The same logic stands: by teaching design to children, they may not become designers, but they will know how to think and be like them. It is about cultivating and nurturing a designing-mindset and it is best to start young.

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Read more: workshops, design, youth

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