Project Summary and Reflection

Creative confidence is one of the cornerstones underpinning design thinking curriculum and research (Kelley and Kelley, 2013). However, design thinking is currently only being taught at A-level and GCSE Design Technology. An earlier engagement with this methodology and skill set, is highly valued by employers, as outlined in the 2018 McKinsey report. We believe that as natural masters of imagination and intuition, who have not been exposed to stereotypes and rigid ways of thinking, young people are positioned to easily grasp and absorb the fluid interactive and dynamic approach to solving problems that design thinking offers.

This project uses the power of 1) storytelling and 2) practical tools (following learnings from the characters’ journeys), all embedded in a children’s book to foster creative confidence through gratitude in young people aged 7-8 years. Organizations such as IDEO and Google are pioneering the movement of Creative confidence through tools such as the crazy 8’s (Google, 2022), pencil exercise (IDEO, 2022) among others. This project adds what we think is a valuable self-transformative tool to the mix.

After having spoken to wellbeing consultant and skills coach, Dr Nese Ceren (see appendix A), who echoed my thoughts on the size of the gap in education on creative confidence, I realised the missed opportunity that lies in this field. I hope to create some forms or partnership or collaboration with local schools and libraries in Coventry to introduce the book into mainstream education. When practiced in classroom settings, the benefits are seen across multiple dimensions (Wilson and Foster, 2018), namely:

  • Ontological (inward): attentiveness, calmness, and enhanced wellbeing
  • Teleological (forward): enhanced resilience
  • Metaphysical (upward): big picture thinking and widening of perspective or vision, as they learn to see the seemingly unobvious, hidden solutions, cross-pollinate ideas and connect the dots while problem solving

Moreover, the book’s impact on childrens’ mental health (UN Sustainable Development Goal 3-Good Health and Well-being) is also intended to have knock-on effects on other SDGs such as SDG 4 (Quality Education) by reducing absenteeism in schools, improving decision making and readiness to learn and engage, thereby also enhancing attainment through improved academic scores. Thus, the book will seek to produce more engaged and more effective learners in higher education, thus improving their academic outcomes and their progression opportunities after graduation.

The inclusion of a parents and teachers’ guide in the book and on the book’s website will help these stakeholders guide children to make the most out of the book, achieve learning objectives and monitor progress. More importantly, the guide encourages parents and teachers to participate in conversations on gratitude and mental health with their children, thereby promoting an immersive two-way exchange rather than a one-sided educational model focused on telling children this is how they ought to act or behave.