GOOD NEWS! Students solve climate adaptation issues

Today, K-12 students from all over Denmark officially begin the task of designing climate adaptation solutions for their shore-lined home country, who – like many other countries around the world – suffer from more and more frequent floodings from massive rain storms or hurricanes pushing sea levels up. That’s really good news!

In Denmark, all municipalities were recently subjected by the government to address climate change and the consequences of e.g. increased rainfall and more frequent ‘visits’ from storm and hurricanes by creating local, individual climate adaptation plans.

This, we thought, was a really good and foresighted idea! However, we took it a step further and said to ourselves: “Why don’t we connect our successful education initiatives with this need for future climate adaption solutions?” And that is how we (in collaboration with the Danish government and the Lauritzen Foundation) came up with a challenge for Danish school kids called “Denmark’s Design to Improve Life Challenge (Danish link only)“, aiming at using society’s water related challenges as a unique and meaningful learning resource for the students. While activating the same students as a big innovation- and inspiration resource for society.

We will of course follow the progress of each design team, each class, each school and each municipality intensely and bring you detailed updates on their ideas, their progress and their general state of mind. Next milestone is in May, when the finalists for the Challenge are revealed… Stay tuned!

The winning students are revealed at a grand event i Elsinore on August 29th 2013 and will receive a cash prize of DKK 50.000!

Project background
The challenges of the future must be solved and Denmark can play an important role in solving them, but it requires that all minds are on it. Because the good idea does not only come from brilliant scientists or tech-savvy mastodon companies – it can come from all of us.

Innovation is the good idea transformed into value and with the new innovation strategy, it is the Danish government’s ambition that we all become more skilled at innovating. This both applies while we’re in school, building a career and in civilian life.

Therefore, education should – much more than now – be focused on sustainable innovation and innovation competencies – from kindergarten to ph.D. – as a step on the way towards more sustainably, innovative employees and more sustainably, innovative new companies.

Project course

•    Early 2013, the schools receive material about the challenge and suggestions for teaching methods and teacher guides.

•    In the schools, the students come up with concrete solutions to the challenge. Each school then selects two winning teams whose solutions are uploaded to the initiative homepage. Thereafter, four winners are selected from each municipality and they go on to compete nationally, presenting their solutions at a big event.

•    A jury selects the ten best solutions who then progress to the final where their solutions are publicized.

•    The national winning team is selected by the Danish Minister for Children and Education, the Minister for Business and Growth, the Minister of Science, Innovation and Higher Education and the Minister of the Environment simultaneously as INDEX: Award 2013 is awarded in Elsinore.

About the initiative
•    The initiative is launched as part of the Danish Government’s innovation strategy as a trial in a series of primary- and youth schools.

•    The students will get to know some of the world’s global challenges and learn to design new, sustainable solutions to these.

•    Sustainable design is imperative to the initiative because to solve global issues requires cross-disciplinary thinking and keeping the end result in mind from the beginning of the innovation process.

•    INDEX: Design to Improve Life® is responsible for the implementation and the execution of the initiative.

•    The initiative is financed by Lauritzen Fonden as well as Danish Ministry for Children and Education, the Ministry for Business and Growth, the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education and the Ministry of the Environment.

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