Project Description

Social entrepreneur´s profile:

Children Solve Worldwide Problems – from Home, in Creative Ways! 

Her solution at a glance: From one day to the next, schools all over the world closed their doors due to the Coronavirus crisis. This is when Designathon Works launched an online design competition for children (7-12 years old) based on their innovative Designathon method. What for? To engage children in a creative problem-solving activity by letting them design solutions for problems related to the Coronavirus. At the same time working on our mission to educate the next generation of changemakers! 

Social Entrepreneur: Emer Beamer

Organization: Designathon Works 

Field: Education models and tools for children and youth 

Needs for social innovation to have more impact: Business development and fundraising; Digital; Marketing and communications   

Read Designathon Works´ concrete needs facing Covid-19:

  • Business Development and Fundraising: Before Corona they had a three-track business model, of consultancy for schools, commission to design and run design challenges and thirdly sponsorship for our yearly global event. With the addition of their online track they would need to structure a strategy for the business model behind it. They wish to create more focus in their current services and product portfolio, with the online track as the main driver. They are looking for ways to change and/or replace their current tracks.

  • Digital: High on their wish list, they would need help with coding, UX, data analysis, preparing the site to be used in multiple languages, with multiple themes (like poverty, energy transition or water) and by multiple partners in our network.

  • Marketing and communication: They have now entered the online education market and are promoting their offering through social media, mailings and webinars. They would like to take it to the next level and plan a long-term communication and engagement strategy to built a global community across channels. Questions to answer are: How can we involve more children? What partners do we need to optimise our marcom strategy? Practical daily questions also arise, such as how often to follow up with subscribers and participants.

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Before and after Corona: From workshop to online empowerment!

The mission of the social enterprise before Corona:

Empowering Children to Design a Better World!
It’s Designathon’s mission to unleash the creativity of 1 million children, teaching them to become changemakers for a better future. Working with 188 certified facilitators in 45 countries in the world and having trained more than 700 teachers worldwide, Designathon wants to empower children ALL OVER the world.

What changed with Corona?

Obviously, all workshops were cancelled once the crisis began. But that did not stop Designathon from having an impact. On the contrary! They transformed their work and created meaningful online experiences and educational materials for children between 7-12 years old. By doing so, they also address the mental and existential challenges kids and families are going through.

The (biggest) challenge: Kids feel powerless and families struggle 

There are many challenges regarding education and the struggles of being stuck at home for many children and families worldwide. From boredom to increased tension at home, or to the risk for children’s learning development, the challenges are multifaceted. At the same time, teachers struggle as they need to shift to online schoolingDesignathon connects the dots and empowers children in safe online spaces to create solutions to worldwide problems and supports teachers on their journey to take learning online. 

The solution: Online designathon projects & the corona challenge  

 In the online designathon project, children meet in virtual spaces to connect, develop ideas for problems, sketch them, and build prototypes afterwards (if they want to). Within this project there are weekly prizes for the best ideas. That not only keeps children busy, it empowers them to be changemakers – especially in these times of crisis.
In the corona challenge, they get the chance to come up with solutions to the corona crisis itself – a highly empowering experience for children who can feel overwhelmed by all the measures, the restrictions, and the overall situation. The available projects also include: ‘Preventing Single-Use Plastic’ and ‘Clean Water for all’.

Apart from that, Designathon also offers guidelines for teachers, parents, and caregivers on how to host online project classes from home.

The impact: The reaction so far has been overwhelming with people signing up from India to Australia and Netherlands to Peru, and sending in their ideas. 160 teachers have signed up and as did 50 homes. Network partners in Spain and Turkey are translating the program to run competitions locally.

Designathon Works hopes to further widen their impact by offering an even better user journey and to fine tune and scale the whole idea!

The personal biggest worry and hope:

Ashoka: How are you dealing with the situation and what is your biggest personal worry?

Emer: I worry most at this time about the people with haphazard incomes from Delhi to New York to Nairobi, in any place where the governments don’t step up to mitigate the impact of the crisis. The effect this has on the children growing up in stressed households, having less opportunities and how this will impact their futures.

Ashoka: “What is inspiring you and giving you hope that we can overcome this crisis?”

Emer: “To me, as someone who works towards a change maker world, the most inspiring has been seeing, through the worlds shared experience of the corona virus, the multitude of initiatives to lend a hand to step up, to do what is good. Now I am hoping feverishly that we can develop this, as our new normal.