Unleashing student-led innovation

Learning the leadership skills to co-create a future everyone wants.

Young people are well aware and deeply concerned about what is going on in the world today. They are concerned about issues like climate change, inequality and social justice.

Young people are also well aware and deeply concerned about what is going on in their schools. Issues like bullying, difficulties with fitting in and mental health that create a challenging learning environment.

What if school was a place where students learnt the skills to meaningfully navigate their challenges and become the change they seek? What if it was a valuable playground for learning social technologies that enable them to co-create the future — not be its victim? What if they learnt the leadership capacities to come together and unleash student-led innovations that shape a brighter future?

These questions are at the heart of our new Benefit Mindset schools program — the Everyday Leadership Lab.

Creating space for future making

“We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.” — R. Buckminster Fuller

Our program supports students with developing these capacities within a special kind of learning and leadership environment called a Social Lab.

Social Labs are a participatory ‘holding space’ for attending to complex challenges such as wellbeing and social change. They draw on a range of tools including storytelling, prototyping and reflection. Social labs create the space for young people to find their own voice, shift how they see their place in the world and become valuable co-contributors to a future they want to create.

Social labs are used all over the world — addressing challenges big and small. An example of a large-scale lab is the Global Wellbeing and Gross National Happiness (GNH) Lab, co-founded between Germany and Bhutan. This Lab brings together leading innovators from developing countries, emerging economies, and industrial nations to prototype new ways of progressing wellbeing around the world.

An inspiring education based example is WellAhead, a lab focused on “creating long-term change — shifting culture, structures, priorities and practices of schools and the education system at-large to better incorporate social and emotional wellbeing”.

Everyday Leadership Lab

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”- Peter Drucker

Our program focuses on how students can make an everyday difference in their schools and communities by contributing their whole selves. How students can put social innovation at the centre of their everyday experience.

It’s a forum for discussing meaning and purpose in life. A space for students to think about how they relate to each other, how they relate to their environment, and how they relate to themselves. A place for collective ‘aha’ moments that enable everyone to come together to create the future.

In co-creative style, rather than offering our program as a fixed offering, we use a co-contributor approach. This means we co-create the program the students and schools we partner with. Programs could end up running as a 3-day intensive, or be a year-long or a multi-year program.

We believe giving young people the opportunity to develop these capacities is vital if we want to give them the best chance to thrive. Our dream is to have a community of schools running Labs in their own unique way, supporting each other with this important work.

If you’re interested in finding out more about this project or perhaps you want to get involved, we’d love to hear from you.