6.7 Skills for innovation
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Innovative skills are part of the National Curriculum Framework document (2012) and are also part of the cross-curricular themes which have been developed, under Education for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Creativity.
Innovative skills are also included in the My Journey document which encourages the development of innovation in the choices that learners opt for, during their second cycle of compulsory education.
Entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation are considered to permeate all aspects of the curriculum. The overall goals of entrepreneurship education are to give learners the attitudes, knowledge and capacity to act in an entrepreneurial way and to acquire the skills that will promote their lifelong employability in a rapidly changing commercial, economic and social environment. This includes becoming entrepreneurial citizens in other spheres beyond industry or employability. These goals require the development of the 'soft' generic personal and interpersonal skills fundamental to becoming entrepreneurial, as well as the fostering of the more discrete entrepreneurial knowledge and understanding required to pursue entrepreneurial endeavours and to possess an entrepreneurial mindset that is both creative and innovative.
Creativity is generally recognised as both an innate yet often under-developed quality in young people, as well as a practical skill that helps to unlock an entrepreneurial disposition. It is a skill that can be taught and that everyone can aspire to. It involves opening up young peoples' thinking processes in ways that help them to look at familiar things with a fresh eye, to identify and frame a problem and to generate solutions whilst using their imagination, knowledge and skills to explore new possibilities rather than established approaches.
The ability to be innovative and the confidence to look for innovative responses to opportunities or problems encountered is best nurtured in a safe, supportive environment where this type of approach is encouraged, recognised and rewarded. Such a pedagogy requires allowing learners time to reflect on a situation and tap their resources and imagination to develop plans and solutions. It also requires time for the implementation of new processes and the application of new ideas. Teaching and learning for innovation might even include space to 'learn from failure'.
Providing pedagogical tools and support is intended to be part of the training provided to educators, with respect to all the cross-curricular themes within the Learning Outcomes Framework.
Aġenzija Żgħażagħ launched Groundbreakers, a project that supports young innovators to respond to challenges by developing an idea that reflects their voice and the space they wish to claim in society. Through a combination of activities and funding mechanisms, including a hackathon and mentoring sessions, young innovators will be encouraged and given the resources to research, explore, and cultivate ideas and skills to develop a concept through a process-based journey that will manifest itself in the presentation of a final pitch responding to an initial challenge.
GroundBreakers promotes a shared vision for the future of young people in accordance with the National Youth Policy – Towards 2030 and Malta’s Smart Specialisation Policy 2021-2027. The participants are invited to respond to challenges within the following areas Health and Well-being; Sustainable Use of Resources for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation; Smart Manufacturing; Marine and Maritime Technology; Aviation and Aerospace; and Future Digital Technologies.
GroundBreakers is structured over 3 phases leading the participating young people through an innovation, research and development process to a final pitching event. The best ideas at the end of this programme stand to benefit from awards amounting to 25,000 euro.
Phase 1 is made up of a 24-Hour Hackathon that presents applicants with a challenge in their preferred area and invites them to respond to it by developing an idea and proposing it to a panel of judges by the end of the event. Challenges will be presented by stakeholders who are locally active in the thematic areas. The best ideas proposed will be taken up for the next phase of the programme.
Phase 2 focuses on Innovation, Research and Development and is based on a learning process involving encounters with mentors and the acquisition of the resources required for the innovation, research and development of the proposal.
The mentoring process is a laboratory for the development of the ideas proposed by young innovators. The role of the mentors is to challenge, push boundaries, and provide support and insight to design, define and refine the idea for the presentation to be made at the final pitching session. While young innovators are given the space to independently choose design, materials, and processes for their presentation, they will be advised by a mentor who will be able to share experience and insight. Mentors will support young people to continue elaborating their proposed ideas into successful pitches to be presented at the final pitching session. Each team of young innovators selected will be supported through 20 hours of mentoring. As part of the mentoring process, young innovators need to present a proposal for a grant of up to 5,000 euro to support the Innovation, Research and Development process of their idea leading to the final pitching session. Aġenzija Żgħażagħ will be appointing an independent board to review these requests for funding. Only grant requests related to the development of the proposed idea will be considered for funding.
Phase 3 revolves around the Final Pitching session and Awards GroundBreakers will showcase the work of the young innovators participating in the process by offering the space for them to present their final pitches to a panel of judges. Judges will be reviewing the live pitching session. An Award of 12, 000 euro, 8, 000 euro and 5,000 euro will be awarded to those teams placing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.
Kreattiv is a non-formal education programme managed by the Arts Council Malta aiming to promote innovation and experimentation among young people. The programme engages educators (including youth workers) and creative practitioners in dialogue and collaboration while encouraging young people and educators to work creatively and innovatively through the application of different creative tools. The aim is to initiate creative projects through collaborations between educators, young people, creative practitioners and other relevant sectors such as science and technology. Chosen projects are then allocated a maximum of € 5,000 or € 8,000 if the applicant is collaborating with another entity.
Changemakers, supported by the Ministry for Economy, Investment and Small Business, Mita Innovation Hub, Malta Enterprise and Malta Innovation Hub organise the annual Malta Innovation Summit. This conference brings together top international and local business leaders and innovation stakeholders to discuss, learn and share innovation best practices through keynotes, presentations, expert panels, mater-classes, workshops and networking opportunities all aimed at boosting their innovation capabilities. As part of this conference Malta Innovation Summit organises an Innovation Hackaton. During this event young people have the opportunity to put their business designing skills to the test and give life to their ideas while getting a better understanding of what an innovation process really involves. Young participants are grouped in teams with a mentor who guides them through the process. Ideas are then pitched to a panel of experienced judges and winners are presented with tickets for the main day of the Malta Innovation Summit. In 2019 the Ideation topics included – Circular Economy; Healthy Lifestyle; Food Sustainability; Smart Cities; E-Mobility and Climate Change.