What We Do
Worldwide there are 2 billion children of school-going age. How can we prepare them to prosper in a rapidly changing, increasingly technological and complex world? How can they learn to design a better world for themselves and the planet?
Armed with these urgent questions, 15 years experience in designing education programs in widely diverse contexts from Afghanistan to the Netherlands, plus a belief that all children can contribute to designing a better world, we at Designathon Works are working to meet this challenge by developing and spreading our method and way of thinking in schools, through hosting tailor-made designathon workshops for companies & organizations, and through our own Global Children's Designathon held around the globe annually.
New world for a new generation.
Current educational systems focus on knowledge transfer for a bygone age and lack the know-how to cultivate technological literacy & creativity. This is where Designathon Works steps in to fill the gap with Designathon method which develops all competency-skills and character quality skills for children called by the OECD: 21st century competencies.
The Designathon method combines aspects of Design Thinking and Maker Education, both approaches which are gaining ground in education systems around the world. It has an underlying pedagogical model inspired by Reggio Emilia, John Dewey’s Child and Curriculum and Seymour Papert’s Learning theory Constructionism.
A designathon is a structured workshop in which children (ages 4 - 12 years) invent, build and present their self-devised solutions to a social or environmental issue around the Sustainable Development Goals. A workshop lasts four to six hours and is facilitated by education professionals. The experience helps children become future ready through learning to design and use technology such as mini-motors and sensors. The method was first developed in the Netherlands and tested during the first Global Children’s Designathon in November 2014. More info here…
We’ve worked with children from different cultural and educational backgrounds, reaching children in Singapore, Europe, Aruba, rural India and the slums of Nairobi. So far 60+ Dutch schools have done our school programs, we’ve trained 200+ teachers and worked with over 22.000+ children. Designathon School Program is available in English, Dutch, German, Croatian, Serbian, Spanish, Polish, French and Arabic.
Watch the video made during the designathon lesson:
Tailor-made designathon workshops for your company or organisation
Creativity is one of the key factors in driving civilization forward.
With the Designathon method, we approach the child as a complete human being endowed with great creative capacity. Through Designathon workshops, we enable you to tap into the natural space of play within a child and among children, to stimulate their creativity, engagement in social issues, and from there, challenge them to design solutions for your theme or issues, aided by the use of modern technology.
To accommodate the needs of different types of customers we offer the following:
A Designathon, during which children invent, build and present their self-devised solutions to the theme or issue of your choice. Facilitated by Designathon Works, with the possibility to engage your crew as well.
A micro-Designathon, during which you and your crew invent, build and present their self-devised solutions to the theme or issue of your choice. Facilitated by Designathon Works.
Designathon challenge, a tailor-made education program in which children are invited to compete and solve the problem around the theme or issue of your choice.
So far Designathon Workshops have been held in The Netherlands, Germany, Philippines, Mexico, Ireland, Aruba, Croatia, Uganda and Bangladesh for organizations such as ActionAid, Patagonia, Mayama, Bugaboo, Circle Economy, The Royal Netherlands Air Force, Municipality of Amsterdam, Waternet and SingularityU.
Themes include: The Future Of Work, Circular Economy, Mobility, Environmentally Friendly Transport, Clean Water, City Of the Future, etc.
In the spotlight, Clean Water Designathon:
Waternet and AIWW challenged children to think beyond borders concerning international solutions to local issues, and to design smart solutions to improve water quality all over the world.
Based on the children’s prototypes, artist Pavél van Houten built a prototype of The Minoct: a cleaning machine fitted with the most extraordinary techniques. The filters in The Minoct’s tentacles separate microplastics, hazardous bacteria and other dirt from the water. The remnants of the dirt serve as fuel for The Minoct. This way it is self-sufficient and can quickly whizz on to another polluted location.
The Minoct was first presented at the AIWW where 20.000 visitors had chance to see it. One of the guests was Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte:
Contact us, if you are interested in a designathon for your theme or context. You'd be surprised how relevant children's imaginations are!
Global Children's Designathon
A day dedicated to celebrating what the world could be like when children design better futures using new technologies.
Our efforts culminate in the annual Global Children’s Designathon. During this one day event, children in the cities around the world come together to work in parallel and design & develop innovative concepts and build prototypes for one of the Sustainable Development Goals. During the day children have contact with each other through a live connection. They present their ideas to each other, and at the end of the day to a panel of experts, and a public audience.
With this project, we are highlighting the ability of the children to imagine and design a better future and simultaneously we are calling for changemaker education, globally.
The sixth editions of the Global Children's Designathon took place on November 16th 2019, in 39 cities around the world with 1.200 children working in parallel to design solution around Food and Climate Action.
Meet our global hosts here.
Global Children's Designathon is the backbone of our annual report: Global Voices of the Next Generation.
The first edition was published in 2017 and covers the topic of Water. Download it here
The second edition was published in February 2019 and covers the topic of Deforestation. Download it here
The third edition was published in June 2020 and covers the topic of Food and Climate Action. Download it here
Reports are probably the biggest of its kind and showcase the solutions to water, deforestation and food problems of more than 1.200 children!