The second edition of the Making Innovators Kids boot camp kicked off on the 19th day of August 2019 at the University of Nairobi’s Chiromo campus based C4DLab.
The five day event was aimed at inculcating the innovation culture into the minds of children between 6 and 14 years old.
The children underwent intensive training and mentorship to finally come up with a solar oven which they pitched to their parents on the final day of the boot camp.
The first day exhibited a blend of anxiety and excitement. Great expectations, with the children reeking of confidence to not only impress their parents by successfully undergoing the training, but also showing their parents and the world how innovative they are.
Influence the future by influencing the kids
One of the C4DLab’s objectives is to build the silicon savannah and introducing the kids as young as 6 years old to Design Thinking is a great step towards scaling up innovation notion as evident in the opening remarks by C4DLab director Tonny Omwansa.
Omwansa welcomed the kids and highlighted a set of rules that were to govern the entire challenge.
He then grouped the kids into smaller units stating the importance of working in groups in Design Thinking.
“Design Thinking is all about Synergizing and bringing ideas together in order to come up with a perfect solution to a problem.” He said.
Omwansa however added that the kids will be assigned mentors and team leaders who will assist them during the Design Thinking escapade.
After their orientation to the program, the first challenge was for the different teams to come up with spaghetti towers using spaghetti, marshmallows and of course some paper tapes. Though Design Thinking is not about competition, the idea was to see how creative the groups could be with the different spaghetti towers they were to come up with.
Empathy and Definition
The teams then held a joint class session which constituted the stages of Design Thinking; Empathy, Define, Prototype, Ideate and Test. Empathy stage being the fist in the list, the kids were taught why getting into the shoe of the target user of your product is very critical and the importance of making the self understand the rest.
Having understood the needs of a target product user, the kids got a glimpse of knowledge of the importance of stakeholders within their target field of study which revolved around Energy with the challenge being creating a solar oven.