£150,000 Working Well challenge now launched by Design Council with Nominet Trust

The Design Council in partnership with Nominet Trust have just launched the Working Well Design Challenge. Designers and youth organisations are being invited to join forces to design, build and launch new digital products and services that help young people develop their talents and earn a living. Two of their team joined us at our DYTE workshop and we’re really excited to see some of the themes from the day reflected in the challenge call for entries. Here Mike Smart explains more about the Challenge, and below Dan Sutch explains how Nominet Trust is developing its wider range of investments, informed in part by our exploration here.

With record numbers of 16-24 year olds not in education, employment or training, there is a serious need to improve how we support young people to achieve their goals. Unfortunately, jargon such as ‘NEET’ not only does many a disservice, but presents the situation as a problem of economic policy rather than an opportunity to do something practical to help.

Design Challenges bring designers, manufacturers and technologists together to demonstrate how design can turn challenges into opportunities. In this instance, we’re offering three teams £50,000 each to design, build and launch digital products and services that offer young people new opportunities to participate in society, both economically and socially.
We’re thrilled to have partnered with Nominet Trust to run this challenge. No young person should be forced into a bad job, unpaid work experience or unemployment, whether because of the current economic climate or a poor start in life. I’m especially excited that this challenge allows us to bring together the power of technology to challenge and disrupt existing ways of working, with the ability of designers to make products and services useful, useable and desirable. We all know that digital technology has revolutionised the way we discover and act on opportunities – everything from finding our way around to keeping in touch has been radically altered by the internet. However, if it wasn’t for designers making that technology simple and easy to use, the digital revolution would never have happened.

Working Well follows on from a number of previous Design Challenges. Recently, our Living Well With Dementia challenge recently resulted in five innovative products and services that have been critically acclaimed by dementia specialists and the design community. In the past we’ve also tackled violence and aggression in A&E departments, improving patient privacy and dignity, and reducing health care associated infections in wards.
This is an exciting opportunity for designers and youth organisations to really make a difference to the lives of young people in the UK. We’re looking to hear from people with expertise either in design and technology or working with young people. So if this sounds like you, then download the call for entries through our website and apply before the 20th June 2012.

Dan Sutch writes:
Nominet Trust is developing a programme of social investment to address the challenges faced by young people in participating socially and economically with their communities.  This grants and investment programme will seek to support new approaches to using digital technology to re-design ways of supporting young people.

As part of this, the Trust is working with a range of partners to identify the most significant challenges as well as exploring a range of approaches to using digital technology.  Through research and co-design; partnerships and project funding; evaluation and reflection, these key challenges will be refined and developed as we seek to ensure this programme creates the greatest value in addressing these social challenges.

Working Well a partnership with the Design Council; Digital Makers in partnership with NESTA and Digital Edge all contribute to this programme with a shared goal of better supporting young people to engage socially and economically with their communities through the use of digital technologies.  More details of each partnership and the challenges they’re seeking to address will be available soon at www.nominettrust.org.uk. We’re looking for partners and ideas to address these challenges, and look forward to working with you to do so.

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