I love elegant design solutions for problems that are more important than some of the silly things that we think of as problems in the first world.
Their mission is simple, make shoes that will last longer for the kids that need them most and then work to find people who can distribute them to groups of children in need, while also helping those groups raise the money to fund the shoes to take with them and distribute.
Today I came across a video for the shoes that grow highlighted in this video:
The design challenge was pretty simple, how can you design a children’s shoe with a reasonable cost that:
Lasts for several years
Changes shape so that it continues to fit as the child grows (in this case it is designed to grow up to five sizes)
Breathes as the majority of children in need live in warmer climates
What do you get when you take the technology away from a group of 10 and 11 year olds and ask them to be creative with a handful of household objects?
Well, Thomas Fraser, a teacher at Crestwood Elementary School in Edmonton, Canada, troubled by the short attention spans of today’s youngsters endeavored to find out by creating what he calls the Bored Game, which involves giving students a handful of common household objects with the only instruction being to do something interesting with them.
The reaction at first from his group of always on youngsters were perplexed looks of how can I create something without an iPad, smartphone or a computer?
Then they started to get into it, and were sad when they didn’t get to play the Bored Game.
CTV recorded an interview about the Bored Game that you can watch here:
(sorry, video is no longer available)
My favorite part of the story is that they’re finding that the performance of the children in a range of subjects is increasing as the children have this periodic time to play and engage their creative problem solving skills.
So, maybe we need less technology in the classroom if we want to teach kids how to learn?
In my opinion, we focus too much on teaching kids to repeat activities, facts, and figures, focusing and what they’re able to memorize and regurgitate and not enough on actually teaching kids creative problem solving and how to learn. We don’t need a new generation of trivia experts, we need a new generation of problem solvers that can help repair the world.
We’ve all heard the saying “If you give a man a fish he’ll eat for a day, if you teach a man to finish he’ll never go hungry.”
If you want your child to be more successful, you have to do the same thing…
“Good teachers teach kids how to do well on the test, great teachers teach kids how to learn so they do well in life.”
For more, I encourage you to check out the Edmonton Journal Article (link expired)
Image credit: Edmonton Journal
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An estimated 250 million children around the world cannot read, write, or demonstrate basic arithmetic skills. Many of these children are in developing countries without regular access to quality schools or teachers. While programs exist to build schools and train teachers, traditional models of education are not able to scale fast enough to meet demand. We simply cannot build enough schools or train enough teachers to meet the need. We are at a pivotal moment where an innovative approach is necessary to eliminate existing barriers to learning, enabling the seeds of innovation to be imparted to every child, regardless of geographic location or economic status.
XPRIZE Chairman and CEO, Dr. Peter H. Diamandis announced the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE today to help solve these challenges. The Global Learning XPRIZE is a five-year competition challenging teams to develop an open source solution that can be iterated upon, scaled and deployed around the world, bringing quality learning experiences to children no matter where they live. Enabling children in developing countries to teach themselves basic reading, writing and arithmetic.
At the same time, XPRIZE will launch an online crowdfunding campaign to mobilize a global street team of supporters to get involved with the Global Learning XPRIZE. Every dollar pledged will go towards optimizing the success of the prize, specifically focusing on supporting team recruitment globally and expanding field testing.
The Global Learning XPRIZE will launch with a six-month team registration period followed by 18 months of solution development. A panel of third-party expert judges will then evaluate and select the top five teams to proceed in the competition, and award each of them a $1M award. Solutions will be tested in the field with thousands of children in the developing world, over an 18-month period. The $10M top prize will ultimately be awarded to the team that develops a technology solution demonstrating the greatest levels of proficiency gains in reading, writing and arithmetic.
The learning solutions developed by this prize will enable a child to learn autonomously. And, those created by the finalists will be open-sourced for all to access, iterate and share. This technology could be deployed around the world, bringing learning experiences to children otherwise thought unreachable, who do not have access to quality education, and supplementing the learning experiences of children who do.
The impact will be exponential. Children with basic literacy skills have the potential to lift themselves out of poverty. And that’s not all. By enabling a child to learn how to learn, that child has opportunity – to live a healthy and productive life, to provide for their family and their community, as well as to contribute toward a peaceful, prosperous and abundant world.
XPRIZE believes that innovation can come from anywhere and that many of the greatest minds remain untapped.
What might the future look like with hundreds of millions of additional young minds unleashed to tackle the world’s Grand Challenges?
The Global Learning XPRIZE is funded by a group of donors, including the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation, the Anthony Robbins Foundation, the Econet Foundation, the Merkin Family Foundation, Scott Hassan, John Raymonds and Suzanne West.
Every once in a while someone comes along and takes what most people believe is a mature category and finds a way to inject new life, new innovation into it.
What’s even more impressive in the case that I’m about to talk about is that a new entrant has found a way to innovate in a category where the dominant player is often held up by innovation consultants and innovation keynote speakers (like myself) as a company that has an innovative culture and working environment, plus an open innovation program worth looking at.
What established player am I speaking of?
And if you’re not aware of their open innovation program, it is called Lego Cuusoo.
So how could someone come in and realistically challenge Lego?
By coming in with a building toy approach that is both Lego compatible but while simultaneously introducing new design and building capabilities.
The main thing that this new competitor is bringing to bear to compete with the dominant Lego, is motion.
Think about what would happen if you smashed together the basic tenets of Lego with the basic tenets of Hasbro’s Transformers (more than meets the eye), and you’ll start to get an idea of what this new competitor is bringing to their crashing of the Lego party.
Who is this Lego competitor?
They are called Ionix Bricks.
They launched into the marketplace with a Saturday morning cartoon called Tenkai Knights on the Cartoon network.
Here is a video review of some of the initial robot characters, showing how they transform and can be configured and played with:
At first glance they look pretty fun!
Will they catch on and take some of the building toy market away from Lego?
What do you think?
Personally, I think that they have a chance of doing so, and if nothing else I think that Ionix Bricks and the Tenkai Knights are a good reminder that even in categories that people might think are pretty mature and the dominant player is unlikely to be disrupted, that isn’t necessarily the case.
And if you get bored with the pieces that come in any of the Tenkai Knights building sets?
Well, because they are compatible with Lego and other leading building sets, you can attach all kinds of crazy, random Lego pieces that you might already have from castle, space, or other kinds of sets.
Ionix Bricks are a good example of the “C” from SCAMPER – Combine – as they are exactly the kind of outcome you would expect if you combined Legos with Transformers. I wonder what kind of other crazy toys some young toy designer out there could come up with by combining Legos with something else.
In the meantime, I challenge you to keep challenging your own orthodoxies about what your product or service should look like, and how your industry should operate. You never know what kind of crazy new potential innovation you might come up with if you never take your product or service as perfected and keep challenging things at the edges.
What things about your product or service could you challenge? How could SCAMPER or other ideation tools help you?
I will be at the Back End of Innovation conference (November 18-20, 2013) in Silicon Valley. I hope you’ll join me!
“Indeed parents of some of the most innovative young people whom I interviewed for this book carefully monitor and limit ‘screen time’…the Innovation Generation, have extraordinary latent talent for – and interest in – innovation and entrepreneurship, likely more than any generation in history.”
– Tony Wagner
“The faster you get at learning from unforeseen circumstances and outcomes, the faster you can turn an invention into an innovation by landing smack on what the customer finds truly valuable (and communicating the value in a compelling way).”
– Braden Kelley
“It’s a lot easier to name the things that stifle innovation like rigid bureaucratic structures, isolation, and a high-stress work environment.”
– Senior IBM Executive
What are some of your favorite innovation quotes?
Add one or more to the comments, listing the quote and who said it, and I’ll share the best of the submissions as future innovation quotes of the day!
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