When we exhibited Rory’s Story Cubes® at ‘The Education Show’ in Birmingham in 2009, there was much discussion about the Labour government’s ‘Creative Curriculum’ which was planned to launch in September 2011. The main feature of this was to introduce more Design Thinking into primary schools. This was a direct response to calls from industry to educate a more creative workforce for an unknown future.
Teachers were unsure about how to teach such a subject as very few resources yet existed. It was also an area that the traditional educational suppliers were not experts in. Although the Conservative/Liberal Democrat government changed the rollout of this, it is still the focus of industry talk and what education advisers such as Sir Ken Robinson advocate.
We have had many discussions with educators from the US, India, some African countries, Singapore, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and other EU countries. The same transition is being attempted in every country; to adapt the education system to better suit the needs of tomorrow’s world. The prevailing view is that in their lifetime, today’s children will have to continuously problem solve and relearn skills. This will be essential to keep up with exponentially changing job roles and technology.
Attending Education conferences since 2010, we have heard talks about the skills that children need to be learning. These include: Divergent Thinking, Problem Solving, Understanding Multiple Outcomes, Making Connections, Discussion Skills, Presentation Skills, Self-expression, Evaluation of Ideas, Giving Feedback, Collaborative Working and Empathy.
We realised that these were the skills we learned while studying design in Art College. We set out to create a toy that lets children explore these skills in a playful way.
We made The Extraordinaires Design Studio to introduce children to the world of invention, design and creative problem solving. The ‘sandbox’ experience invites children to design wildly imaginative solutions while building empathy for the Extraordinaires characters. At The Creativity Hub, we publish games and playthings that foster Imagination, Empathy and Self-Esteem. We envisage a world where these attributes are valued and fostered in every individual.
We hope that by people will enjoy inventing chairs for the Evil Genius, music players for the Giant and remote controls for the Ninja. More importantly we hope they discover their ability to stretch their imaginations, to design and problem solve and to understand the needs of other people. We hope too that they will apply this to solving problems in their everyday lives.