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Stas Ustisnov from Presentation De La Salle Bagenalstown Secondary School Co. Carlow


The B!G Idea: Changing the World with Creative Mindsets

4 min read

The B!G Idea: Changing the World with Creative Mindsets

4 min read


The B!G Idea: Changing the World with Creative Mindsets

It takes all kinds of skills to make real change in the world around us. The B!G Idea project believes that creativity is one of the most vital skills of all.

How can we expand minds, democratise creativity and equip our young people with the crucial skills needed to address the issues that will affect their generation? Well, it all starts with big ideas and lots of them.

An innovative Transition Year programme, The B!G Idea introduces students to creativity as an essential, valued skill with exponential benefits for our wider society.

With creativity set to be a required top skill by 2025, according to The World Economic Forum Future of Jobs report, The B!G Idea – supported by Creative Ireland – is bridging the gap between creative industries and second-level education in remarkable ways. 

School student wearing mask and Lego glasses

Through its expertly-designed curriculum of free online workshops, teaching and learning materials, students are getting to grips with key creative processes, design-thinking concepts, inquiry-based learning and critical thinking. They’re getting hands-on too, thanks to the programme’s engaging, problem-solving challenges.

The result is an inclusive, empowering and fun learning environment where experimenting, inventing, risk-taking and even mistake-making, are expected and encouraged. 

"Creativity will be a required top skill by 2025, The B!G Idea bridges the gap between creative industries and second-level education in remarkable ways"

From 500 acorns…

Fundamentally believing that creativity is an in-demand skill that can be taught, The B!G Idea introduced 500 students across Ireland to this very notion between January and May of 2021. It delivered the programme to a diverse range of students, teachers and communities too, across a geographic spread of urban and rural, unisex and single gender and DEIS schools.

From co-created briefs, the student teams had the opportunity to choose a current social, environmental or ethical challenge relevant to their own lives. These challenges included combatting racism, health and wellbeing, the housing crisis, fighting pandemics and our ageing population.

The programme also enormously expanded students’ understanding of creativity’s true power, with an incredible 100% of students confirming that they now have a greater understanding of creativity compared to before the programme. 

“I am actually more creative than I thought.” – Brian, TY Student – Carlow

The students’ 15 weeks of hard work was celebrated with a showcase event that saw some of the top projects awarded, while an innovative online exhibition displayed all of the students’ creativity-focused solutions in all their glory. Check out the exhibition here.

Above: Students Aisling Bradshaw and Hannah Fanning. Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

A meeting of young minds and mentors

Not only did 2021’s programme broaden and challenge 500 young minds, it also connected them with some of the industry’s very best creative figures. The B!G Idea’s impressive panel of 101 mentors offered students direct, real-world advice throughout the programme, sharing their valued knowledge and industry insights.

Just some of the creative professionals who mentored students included Dermot Bannon, architect and TV presenter; Claire Dowling, Director of Creative Deloitte Digital; Dr Alex Milton, Head of School of Design NCAD; Lorna Ross, Chief of Innovation at VHI; Diarmuid Gavin, garden designer and TV presenter; and Celine Dee, co-founder, RichardsDee.

The sheer volume of experienced mentors delivering advice and support has resulted in an enormous direct knowledge transfer between experienced and future talent. With 100% of 2021’s participating students confirming that they’ve learned new skills and 90% of them now motivated to volunteer, it’s no surprise that 137 schools (just over 10,000 students) signed up to The B!G Idea’s (now closed) 2022 waiting list. 

And it’s not just the students and schools looking to hone their creative chops; the mentor panel is set to jump from 101 to 400 eager experts in 2022.

The future looks bright and the ideas are only getting B!GGER.

Find out more about The B!G Idea.

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