Over the course of 15 weeks, 20 students from St Paul’s School in North Brisbane across Years 7-12 have been engaged by two companies to help them solve business improvement challenges as part of a Design Led Venture.
The two companies were RACQ’s Youth Division (Free 2 Go), which specialises in insurance for people aged 16-24, and Anti-Ordinary, a startup which has designed a skiing/snowboarding helmet that looks like a beanie.
The students formed two teams (to work on a client each) and went through a Design Thinking process that was borne out of the Realms of Thinking teaching and learning model. The process included extensive client consultation, market research, ideation, prototyping, revisiting ideas, starting over entirely, designing a marketing plan, sourcing costs and delivery schedules, and ultimately presenting ideas to both clients that potentially transform their entire businesses.
For Anti-Ordinary, the students renamed the company, named the product, and created the potential for Anti-ordinary to branch out beyond snow sports and into other sports like bike riding and skateboarding.
For RACQ, the students again renamed the youth product division and came up with an entirely new business engagement strategy aimed at building brand loyalty for 16-24 year olds.
According to he CEO of Anti-Ordinary, “We’ve engaged professional consultancies and universities for this work and it hasn’t been half as impressive, practical or useful as the ideas put forward by the St Paul’s School students.”
The two business clearly realise the significant corporate advantages of engaging youth. Uninhibited by years in the corporate sector, the students aren’t afraid to dream and challenge preconceived norms. One of the key dispositions that Realms of Thinking seeks to develop is a students’ comfortableness with ambiguity. This is essentially the opposite of what standardised testing engenders – rather than trying to get a specific answer in a specific timeframe, the tolerance for ambiguity helps students wrestle holistically with challenges and often leads to really innovative solutions.
The only limit on what is possible in the future is the students’ imaginations.