If, for one day, you had the power to make your world work better, what would you change?

Aoife KellyNational

Junior Achievement, with the support of Dublin City Council and the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design, are delighted to bring you the Power of Design. This programme aims to raise awareness of the role of design in our everyday lives and introduces students to the use of design as a tool to make positive changes for people. 

Since launching in 2015 the Power of Design has undeniably gone from strength to strength with over 5,000 primary school students exploring universal design.

Role models play an important part in the success of the programme. Since 2015 over 200 business volunteers from supporting organisations have delivered the programme. The Power of Design volunteers come from a wide range of design backgrounds – not limited to engineering, graphic design, environmental planning, communications, and software engineering.

When asked about his experience, Ronald Malone from Version 1 told us that:

“ I really enjoyed the Power of Design, nice to give something back and see that not all schools have everything they needed and it made me realise that maybe my own kids take for granted what they have in their schools.  Some of the concepts even promoted discussion in my own workplace”

The Power of Design uses a ‘Shape’ video to highlight changes that we might not normally notice and how these affect us and the world around us. The overall aims are to promote wider awareness and understanding of design as a tool for positive change. Another key element of the programme is the ‘Meet the Normals’ video which introduces the diverse range of abilities and characteristics in people that can affect how easy it is to access, understand and use designs. The Shape video can be viewed here: https://www.makeshapechange.com/

Did you know that based on the results from student evaluations in 2020, 99% enjoyed participating in the Power of Design? One teacher referenced their experience:

“My class loved it, the concepts of inclusion and creating design that would cater for everyone. Making them more aware of what is around them and that everything is designed for a purpose. They enjoyed the concepts of understand good and bad design”

Why are the themes explored in The Power of Design important for primary school students, teachers, and volunteers to understand? James Hubbard from the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design explains:

‘’From and understanding that it is Normal to be Different, the design choices we make should be easily accessed, understood and used by all people regardless of their age, size, abilities or disabilities.’’

If your organisation would like to support Junior Achievement, you can get in touch via [email protected] AND if you are a teacher and you would like The Power of Design delivered to your class – we would love to hear from you!