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Spring Union: Next Generation Inspired

Last week, Applied Works were very proud to host 100%Open’s fantastic quarterly Union event at our studios in Hoxton Square, on a theme very close to our hearts, Next Generation Inspired. We helped to curate an evening of speakers talking about projects produced with for or by young people. As with all Unions, each speaker had 5 slides/5 minutes and ended with an ‘ask’ for the audience. A common theme across the talks was to get kids learning through doing and making.


Joe Sharpe & Zoe Bather, Ingreedies

My wife Zoë and I began the evening talking about Ingreedies, and our mission to get kids excited about food. The idea started when Zoë first met my children and was introduced to family mealtimes. Our band of taste adventurers – the Ingreedies – were dreamed up as a means of teaching kids about the world around them through food. Our first book is due out this August with Laurence King Publishing, so keep your eyes peeled for it! Our ask was for introductions to partners who could help us extend Ingreedies to other platforms and events.


Harriet Ruff, IBM

What will drive a millennial to want to work for IBM? Harriet introduced Millennial Corps, a self-started community of over 4,000 young people, who are given space to generate ideas and act as a sounding board to the senior leadership of the business. Harriet’s ask was if other companies ran similar initiatives to discover leaders of the future.


Laura Service, London Transport Museum

Museums are safe, natural spaces to build skills. Laura spoke about the museum’s work connecting young volunteers with industry experts to create an exhibition map of architecture and transport with 55,000 buildings and an overlaid dataviz. Laura asked how organisations outside and inside of the heritage and culture sector are collaborating with young people.


Sophie Ball, Apps for good

Apps for Good is a global movement to transform the way technology is taught in schools, helping the next generation of problem-solvers and digital-makers to turn bright ideas into real tech products. Sophie explained a flipped classroom approach to learning, where students take the lead and the focus is on creating tech, not consuming it. Sophie’s ask was how do we enable industry to support young people regardless of postcodes and make it sustainable and scaleable?


Duncan Wilson, Intel

Duncan was another advocate of getting kids to learn by doing, through workshops in schools and tech tools like Rasberry Pi, Hackaball and TechWillSaveUs. He spoke about a sensor hub for schools that shares models of the real world inspired by Minecraft. Duncan asked how people could help to create software for the sensor hub that can process, store and share data at national scale.


Clara Sousa Silva, Twinkle Space Mission

Clara immediately grabbed our attention with an image of the Milky Way, and our place within it. Twinkle is a UK space mission that will analyse the light from the atmospheres of planets outside our solar system, to look for potential signatures of alien life. The mission is the first to run a dedicated schools programme; schools can Adopt a Planet and students will even have the opportunity to author original scientific work. Clara asked the audience how they could help Twinkle reach more young people.


Jonathan Attenborough, Lost My Name

Lost My Name produce “impossibly personal” books for kids. Jonathan’s talk was about the company’s second book The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home, which featured this amazing slide of astronaut Tim Peake reading the book from the ISS to a very lucky 7 year old as a bedtime story. Jonathan didn’t even have time to mention Dragon’s Den! His ask was how do you balance being data driven with creative freedom?


Emma Hope, Canon

Emma told us about Canon’s initiative to give equipment to schools to allow kids to tell their own stories (as an avid Canon user, my daughter would love to exploit this!). Emma said that what is good for society is good for business; “nurturing youth creativity keeps our business relevant”. She asked “How have you communicated your initiative on a large scale, with small budgets, without blowing your own trumpet? What was the one thing you did that you think made this successful?”


Helena Rice, Pop-up Parks

Playtime has decreased 50% since the 1970s. Pop-up Parks create vibrant play areas in urban environments that encourage children and families to spend time together, as Helena articulated in one of the evening’s most memorable sound bites, “we put play in the way”. Her ask was for access to more public space in which to continue offering free access to play, creativity and community to bring lasting change to our urban areas.


James Poulter, Lego

James flew in by the seat of his pants straight from City Airport to tell us a story about some of the items he found clearing out his late grandfather’s loft, including a Frank Sinatra record, a Singer sewing machine and a 1970s Monopoly set. He argued that we’ve lost touch with physical objects as everything has become digitally consumed by our smartphones, but that the Maker Movement among young people is reviving our connection to the analogue world. He asked us to get out there and meet young people and walk the floor with them.