Employability – Using Creativity and Design Activities to Enhance Students’ Focus on Value Creation

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There is wide consensus that the future labour market will be very different from today and also increasingly dominated by free agents (Weforum, 2018, Upwork, 2018). In order to meet the radical changes in the market, educational institutions are searching for new types of initiatives. Lately, a new concept has emerged, also in educational institutions – i.e. employability. There is a variety of definitions of employability. In this paper we subscribe to Cole & Tibby´s (2013) definition of employability that focusses on enabling students to be successful, not only in their work-life, but also in their personal lives. In the field of design research and practice, we see new initiatives that aim at helping young people develop new competencies, skills and activities in order to create quality in life (SIGWELL, Design Research Society) and to design a meaningful personal life as well as a fulfilling work-life (Birsel, 2015, Burnett & Evans, 2016). In this context design is not concerned with the creation of product design, rather, design skills are being used on a personal level. In this paper, which is founded in the field of design, we present a brief framework, the 4-foci model, that is affiliated with ‘a life design attitude’ (Sørensen, 2019). However, this paper argues that in order to enhance employability in an educational setting, you could start with one, generic activity early in the education, namely training students to focus on the questions: How can I use my knowledge and practice to create value for other people – and in an organisation? In a world where human beings are increasingly searching for meaning and purpose (Sinek, 2011, Pink, 2009) we tend to overlook the idea of letting students focus on the value and the meaning, they can create in real life. Although these questions can be considered a rather simple activity, they are challenging as they require creative design competencies such as seeing different perspectives, reframing, imagining, empathising etc. The paper presents insights from primarily one workshop for 50 (100) journalism students who were presented with these questions. Additionally, we bring inspiration from an external course for 27 entrepreneurs. The paper points to the central role of creativity and design activities in education and also to the challenges creativity is facing in regard to traditional values and assumption.
Publikationsdato14 nov. 2019
StatusUdgivet - 14 nov. 2019
BegivenhedTAL 2019 - Teaching for Active Learning - Syddansk Universitet (Odense), Odense, Danmark
Varighed: 14 okt. 2019 → …


KonferenceTAL 2019 - Teaching for Active Learning
LokationSyddansk Universitet (Odense)
Periode14/10/19 → …


  • Læring, pædagogik og undervisning