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06 Aug

Futures of Education, Educations for the Future

In Blog by Bianca Bressy / August 6, 2019 / 0 Comments

Education facebook post

A number of things happened on Wednesday, 24th July.

First of all, one of these was already happening before. Since Monday, actually. We were hosting 20 educators and youth workers, coming from all over Europe, for our Erasmus+ training course “Discover Design Thinking” – an opportunity not just to give them a new tool to create better services for their communities, but also to build trust in their own creative abilities.

Secondly, we were hosting the last Meetup of the season – hurrah! These events are always a huge appointment on our calendar, but this time it was even more important for us, because our Luxembourg Design Thinking group had reached more than 1000 members. (Not a small feat here!)

And finally, we were going to present the first results of our research of education here, in this country. I say “first,” because as you already know from the process, the research stage is never truly finished. But what we had gathered in these months was already pointing in some interesting directions. That’s why we decided it was a good time to start sharing these directions with others, exchange views and further tune our compass for the next stage.

All together, these events conflated in two of the strangest and most exciting hours I’ve seen in a long time – in a World Cafè on “Futures of Education, Educations for the Future.”

Untitled design

Our event kicked off with a presentation of the work we’ve done so far on this topic. We shared with the participants (our educators from the course, plus around 20 between aficionados of our group and interest newcomers) the work done so far, starting from current changes in education to case studies of design thinking applied in the educational context and ending with our user interviews. As we explained, this was just a first step: more interviews and research would come, but at this point it was interesting to get this out and receive input from the outside. Then, we explained how our research had generated 14 themes to work on, from curriculum development to the identity of schools and teachers, and more than 40 “How Might We” questions. From those, we had already selected 12 which promised the most potential in terms of change, and we used them to start our discussion during the World Cafè.

The World Cafè is a way to have a great number of people exchange ideas and opinions on a variety of topics very quickly, and this is exactly what we saw happening during the event. For our European guests, it was an opportunity to hear the point of view of a local community; for our Meetup members, to discover stories and inspiration from other countries; for us, to see connections and insights thanks to a multidisciplinary group of people who all share the same interest in improving education.

Soon, we’ll start with the second stage and develop our first prototypes. In the meantime, we feel good: there is a community of people who care about the future of young people!

The event was support by the Erasmus+ programme.

25 Jul

Book review: How to Research Trends

In Blog by Bianca Bressy / July 25, 2019 / 0 Comments

Book review "How to Research Trends"

Book review: How to Research Trends


Publisher: BIS Publishers
Year: 2017
Pages: 200


Pioneering · down to earth · illuminating


ELS DRAGT is a trend researcher with over fifteen years of experience in translating them into insights understandable to everyone. Now she works for agency MARE Research and teaches at Fontys International Lifestyle Studies.

Goals (what’s inside)

What are trends? Some may think about fashion, but actually trend research still looks like a mysterious work for many. In this book, Els Dragt doesn’t limit herself to giving us an insider look into this job. Instead, she puts into words what for many practitioners is “an art and a science,” the intersection of analytical approaches and methodology and the human factors of insight and intuition.

Values (why we love it)

The book details each step of the process of trend research – a true guide into a futuristic job! There are also lists of websites and other references you can use to kickstart your journey as a trend researcher!

Needs (read if you…)

  • … want to learn how to research and find signals of change
  • … want to use your curiosity to discover what’s changing around you
11 Jul

Book review: Universal Methods of Design

In Blog by Bianca Bressy / July 11, 2019 / 0 Comments

Book review "Universal Methods of Design"

Book review: Universal Methods of Design


Publisher: Rockport
Year: 2012
Pages: 208


Technical · structured · in depth


BRUCE HANINGTON is associate professor and director in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania. BELLA MARTIn is a designer practitioner and independent consultant with a Master of Design from CMU.

Goals (what’s inside)

This handbook offers a list of 100 methods from all design phases, with characteristics and links to further reference. But the scope goes beyond that: as the authors state, it’s not “just” a list – it’s a tool to structure efficient and productive conversations in each phase of the design project, by providing a universal language for practitioners to easily communicate and co-create.

Values (why we love it)

The infographics & alphabetical order help quickly narrow down the most useful techniques for a project or session. No need to read from start to finish – you can “hop on or off” wherever you need!

Needs (read if you…)

  • … need a quick reference guide before a session
  • … want a range of options to choose from before planning your next design phase
05 Jul

SEYW Project: 1st staff training event in Cagliari, June 2019

In Blog by Benjamin G. Coles / July 5, 2019 / 1 Comment

SEYW project, our first training in Cagliari, June 2019

In February Art Square asbl, together with five like-minded partner organisations from other countries around Europe (Italy, France, Luxembourg, Estonia, Bulgaria, Greece), started an exciting new project, intended to examine how the practices and ethos of social entrepreneurship can be of value in the field of youth work.

The project, support by Erasmus+ and set to run for two years, commenced with a week-long conference and the first training event that took place between the 10th and the 15th of June, in Cagliari, Italy, home to the coordinating organization, TDM2000.
Each participating organisation sent two representatives. I was fortunate enough to be one of those sent by Art Square asbl.

One of our major tasks, over the course of the week, was to give each other a sense of how social entrepreneurship is fairing in our respective countries, paying particular attention to how it’s defined, the laws regulating it, the institutions supporting it, and stories of our own organisations and other notable ones. TDM2000 of course had the advantage of being able to show rather than tell, and did precisely that, taking us to visit a farming cooperative and a restaurant employing ex-felons, as well as bringing in speakers from a tour group whose guides are all immigrants.

Visits to local social entreprises SEYW

Our other major task was to make a start at tackling more directly the question the project is trying answer. We researched and discussed the already-existing overlap between social entrepreneurship and youth work – the skill-sets required in both, the kinds of professions operating on the border between the two, and the efforts being made in our countries and others to involve each in the other.

In the final two days, we worked in smaller groups to summarise all these initial findings of ours in a report, soon to be distributed to policy makers, youth workers and the wider public.

I certainly learnt a lot during the event, including many things that surprised me. I learnt that, in Bulgaria, entrepreneurship is taught in schools from age 7, and social entrepreneurship is part of the programme. I learnt that, in France, more than 10% of the economy is made up of social enterprises, while, in Italy, there are well over a million cooperatives. I learnt that, in Greece and Spain, the 2008 financial crisis massively stimulated the growth of the social and solidary economy, though, particularly in the former, austerity measures have since undermined its progress. I learnt that, in Estonia, there is a many-tiered formal hierarchy of youth workers, while in Poland the term is used so loosely that almost anyone who works with young people is considered one. I was also able to tell others about how Luxembourg alone has, in proclaiming its support for social enterprise, gone so far as to rebrand its Employment Ministry, so that it’s full title is now the Ministry of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy, and also about the work of Jonk Entrepreneuren asbl, who since 2005 have been going into Luxembourgish schools to introduce children and teenagers to the idea of a career as an entrepreneur and to just generally encourage their entrepreneurial thinking.

As a student of Politics and Sociology a few years back, one of my heroes was the late, great Erik Olin Wright, who was an advocate and theorist of interstitial revolution – that is, the gradual transformation of society by means of nurturing and growing the elements of it in which justice prevails, enabling them to displace those in which exploitation and greed are the norms. I thought of Wright often while in Cagliari. What we were learning about – the growing social enterprise movement, and its increasing support by governments – looks very in line with his vision.

I very much look forward to being involved in the project over the next two years, as similar events hosted by each of the participant organisations bring forward the discussion we began in Cagliari.

Writing of the inspiration paper for the SEYW project

27 Jun

Book review: This is Service Design Doing

In Blog by Bianca Bressy / June 27, 2019 / 0 Comments

Book review of "This is Service Design Doing"Book review: This is Service Design Doing


Publisher: O’Reilly Media
Year: 2018
Pages: 541


Knowledgeable · practical · thoughtful


As with all design thinking processes, this book too is the co-creation of a formidable team (4 editors, 96 co-authors and 205 contributors) coming from the global service design community.

Goals (what’s inside)

What is service design? Or, to quote the authors – “why” service design? This handbook provides a deeply comprehensive introduction to the subject, from the theory behind service design to its main tools and activities, as well as case studies, facilitation tips for workshops and implementation into organizations. A journey from theory to practice, to understand not just the “what”, but the “why” of service design.

Values (why we love it)

It gives plenty of real-life examples of how service design was implemented in companies, organizations and institutions from start to finish.

Needs (read if you…)

  • … want to see what service design looks in practice
  • … want to start implementing service design in your company
  • … want to discover the essential tools of service design