In order to determine what it takes to become a change-maker we need to answer three key questions. Why do we need changes? What does it take? And how do we get there?

A wise man once said that one of the most difficult things to predict is the future. But what we do know about it is: the world is becoming more complex, our knowledge becomes outdated very quickly, and problems will always exist.

So, what does it take to be prepared?

If you really want to change the world there are various innovative skills that are considered to be essential, these include:

  • Creativity – in the form of ‘divergent thinking’ as the unlimited application of knowledge
  • Cooperation – creating cross disciplinary teams and working together
  • Navigation – a strong awareness of the process and information seeking
  • Action – the ability of doing and acting responsibly, not just thinking
  • Communication – visual and verbal ways of making others understand your ideas
  • And a skill that is very important… the ability of learning –

You should be able to identify how and when you learn, and be able to put yourself in the best position to learn. Most critically, you need to be able to realise when you need to learn.

How do we get there?

Like many things, practice makes (almost) perfect, and the earlier you begin, the faster these skills become second nature. That’s why it’s ideal to make these principles and competences part of the school curriculum.

That’s why we’ve have created a concept called Design to Improve Life Education. We work to make it mandatory to teach innovation and design based learning in schools in Denmark. And this year we teach 10,000 students in Denmark and we cooperate with education authorities and schools in 16 countries all over the world.

Our main tool is the Design to Improve Life Compass. The Compass is a four phase-model that structures an innovative Design to Improve Life process. It comprises of a catalogue of techniques and structures that you can choose from when planning your process. The Compass can be used in various ways depending on your focus.

What can you do now?

First of all, thinking is not enough! Please don’t stop at the thinking, BUT please do get started! The three most important things to focus on:

  • Create a team – working with a diverse group often leads to the best ideas, and the more perspective you have, the better the overall outcome.
  • Do a thorough analysis – an insufficient analysis equals an ineffective solution or no solution at all. Comprehensive research is the foundation of a great solution!
  • Make mistakes and learn from them! Make sure you’re part of a team, company or organisation where mistakes are accepted, and in the appropriate circumstances, appreciated!

At INDEX: Design to Improve Life® we believe that design and design methods are a necessary way to foster new thinking and innovative solutions. But do it wisely. The world doesn’t need more white teacups.

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