Ecology, community places and a more cyclist-friendly city are the favorite subjects of high school students in Sfântu Gheorghe, we learnt at the closing session of the INNOVATORY program in Sfântu Gheorghe on 29 May, where 13 high school teams from 6 schools presented their projects that they have worked on over the past weeks with their teachers.
Students identified problems in the city and looked for possible solutions to them. Their solutions included intelligent car parks, the promotion of ecotourism with concrete routes, or spaces where even minors can have fun and be safe in the same time. Others have planned exactly which streets should plant trees or which two spaces would deserve to be linked by bicycle tracks. Students have illustrated their ideas with movies, models or even Minecraft game presentation.
The INNOVATORY program was based on the Design Thinking method. Within the project, a methodology based on this practical and creative problem-solving method has been developed through a human-centered approach. The steps of this method are Discover, Describe, Design ideas, and create prototypes (Ideate & Prototype), Test, and Implement. In the Design Thinking method, thinking together, collaboration on innovative solutions, prototype testing, the whole process of shaping an idea is just as important as the final outcome. This method encourages interdisciplinary creation and contributes to the development of creativity skills.
A total of 64 students participated in this process and were facilitated by 9 teachers who also participated in a workshop where they learned about the Design Thinking method.
The best seven teams were also awarded. The winning teams came from the Mihai Viteazul National College, the Mikes Kelemen Theoretical High School, the Berde Áron Administrative Technological Technological Highschool, the “Puskás Tivadar” Technological High School.
The jury was composed of Antal Árpád, Mayor of Sfântu Gheorghe, general school inspector Kiss Imre, Rácz Attila from Design Bank and Balázsi-Pál Ágnes, executive director of PONT Group.
INNOVATORY, a social innovation project developed by the PONT Group, aims to develop a program to develop young people’s competences to identify problems in society and possible solutions to them, with the help of facilitators. Teamwork, critical thinking, empathy, solution-oriented planning are just a few of the methods and principles of work that are addressed in the program.
The project aims to contribute to encouraging interdisciplinary, participatory creation and contributing to social and urban development through a youth project that contributes to the development of young people’s creativity skills by addressing specific Design Thinking methods.
The INNOVATORY program in Sfântu Gheorghe is carried out in partnership with Sfântu Gheorghe City Hall and Local Council, the General School Inspectorate of Covasna County and is funded by Bethlen Gábor Fund Alap from Hungary.
Photo credit: Vargyasi Levente