New Project: Design and Creativity Development Toolkit

The official start of joint project “Design and Creativity Development Toolkit” will be carried out within the framework of a strategic partnership of 3 EU countries - Latvia, Estonia and Denmark

The companies representing each partner country are Latvian Design Centre, Baltic Regional Fund Baltijas Reģionālais fonds, Estonian Design Centre and Agerholm FLOK. The main purpose of the collaboration is to strengthen the significance of creative and design thinking among adolescents.

The idea and necessity for the project is rooted in recent findings about increasingly growing numbers of young people who are not employed, not currently learning or training. The term is known as NEET youth and makes up to 12,6% of the EU population. According to research, most often this status is not chosen voluntarily. Adolescents are affected by various risk factors, including migration, financial insecurity, social and territorial exclusion, family factors and many more.

When pre-interviewing teachers and educators, results showed that currently there is no specific toolkit or set of methods adapted for the age of adolescents in Latvia, which would allow them to act proactively. Adolescents lose motivation, their self-esteem decreases, and the risk of mental health problems and deviant behaviour grows. While unemployment rates among young people rise, latest discoveries prize creativity as a key competency for leaders (IBM 2010 Global CEO Study), providing definitions, components and tools how to enhance the quality of life satisfaction, work with our mindset etc.

Current project focuses on the development of design thinking, emphasizing spatial, visual thinking as something relatively easy for teenagers to be perceived, as well as easy to use and interpret from a methodological point of view. “Perspective NEET group” i.e. those adolescents who are most likely to be exposed to a set of preventive and proactive activities, including the use of creative and design thinking tools were chosen as the main target group.

The “Design and Creative Thinking Development Toolkit” will be created as a preventive tool for adolescents in the last grades of primary school (13-15 years of age), in order to contribute to minimizing the number of NEET youth.

Photo: First meeting of the partners. April 2021

Project goals are:

- To promote the development of creative thinking in the adolescent age group by using age-appropriate design thinking development tools;

- To promote the interest and awareness of non-formal education teachers and other specialists in the field about the specifics and significance of creative thinking by providing methodological material for further independent work with adolescents;

- To promote the exchange of experience and opinions between the strategic partners of the project, ensuring learning mobility activities during the project implementation;

- To reduce the stigma about the incompetence and competitiveness of the creative professions in the labor market by emphasizing the multidimensionality and value of creativity in the
examples of the world's leading companies;

- Promote a set of preventive actions to reduce the quantitative and qualitative numbers of the NEET group.