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Children on an inventive ride

April 16 2012, DHNS: 19:23 IST

Innovative Minds

Breaking convention and out-of-the-box thinking seemed the order of the day at ‘Design FUNdaas’, a workshop, held recently.

British Library collaborated with United Arts Society for this workshop to sensitise children between the ages of 8-12 years about creative and analytical thinking and introduce them to a multitude of opportunities.

In the era of ever changing technology, this workshop seemed to be the need of the hour. “I sent my son here hoping he learns to question things. It’s not only about design but the thought process. Especially since the current education curriculum is far from adequate when it comes to creativity,’’ says Kavitha Srinivasan, parent of a nine-year-old at the workshop. And indeed, the children were in for an enlightening, inventive ride.

With the focus being design, children were led by Rahul Ajmera, a product designer from National Institute of Design, with remarkable skills in various creative art forms and Vineet Singh, a creative facilitator and theatre person. At first, the adolescents were introduced, very simply, to the concept of design and were exposed to everyday objects like spoons and chairs, modified creatively yet usefully.

The young group was then encouraged to put on their thinking caps and sketch out their version of a table to see how best they could create an evolved version of the same.

But, there was a catch…it had to be created while retaining the basic elements that make the object. “After all, a table, crucially, must be steady however absurd the design,” emphasised Vineet.

The plethora of ideas that followed would truly have given Steve Jobs a good run for his money. There were magnetic tables and floating ones, some with umbrellas and theft censors but all with some quirky additions. Surprised by the phenomenal results, Rahul Ajmera stressed the importance of tapping children at an age when they are still untouched by convention. “Even in this group, the younger ones came up with more outrageous ideas like a time travelling table. That is true design thinking…letting one’s mind run free,” he said.

With the hope of empowering children to see something beyond just the surface level, the workshop spurred on the kids to think for themselves. Budding innovator, nine-year-old Nithin S said that his eyes were opened to this ‘make culture’. “Now that I understand it, I plan to utilise waste products at home and create things…maybe ice cream sticks for a pen stand,” he added, And with that innovative mindset, the sky really is the limit.

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