KCDW Challenge 2014

Kansas City Design Week Design Learning Challenge, Jobs in the Year 2050
Can you imagine what jobs will be like in the year 2050? What kind of challenges will future
generations face, and what type of skills will they need in preparation for careers that haven't
even been invented yet? 

K-12 teachers and students, college design students, entrepreneurs, and design professionals joined co-facilitators Doris Wells-Papanek, Director of the Design Learning Network, Alison Crane, Teacher Lead from Blue Valley North High School, and Jessica Fertig, Kansas City Design Week Liaison at this first of its kind Jobs in the Year 2050 Challenge on Saturday, March 1, 2014. 

Using the design learning process as a framework to address this challenge, the daylong event took place during Kansas City Design Week and was hosted by the Kansas City Art Institute. 

The premise of the challenge is anchored in a recent study conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers where they surveyed more than 200 employers about their top priorities in new hires. Overwhelmingly, they want candidates who are team-players, problem solvers that can plan, organize and prioritize their work, along effectively express themselves in a verbal manner. 

The source of inspiration began by Doris reading a recent help wanted advertisement, which in turn lead her to a series of insights into how we might empower young people today to prepare for jobs in the 21st century within an ever-changing global society.

Desired Impact
The challenge aimed to guide high school students as they learn how to think critically, innovatively, and sustainably about not only their own careers, but also about their future community. The desired impact was for all participants to gain a greater understanding of the past and present of their city’s economy in order to create job opportunities that promote the physical, environmental, economic, and community health of the city’s future. It is the hope that this challenge will continue to promote creative methods of discovering new ways to involve youth in shaping the future of communities.

Worldwide Preparations
Just weeks prior to the KCDW event on March 1, a creative network of industry-leading designers, artists and educators went back to the future as part of a worldwide design learning challenge hosted by the University of Lincoln, UK on February 11-13, 2014. 

Participants linked with luminaries of the design world from across the UK, the USA and China and worked together to look ahead to 2050 to tackle pressing issues around the education, employability and creativity of the next generation from multiple perspectives including art, design,
the humanities, science, technology, engineering and math.

Doris Wells-Papanek,
Feb 5, 2014, 1:29 PM