A year 10 innovation – turning the humble fava bean into an economic success.

Walking past Naomi Chapman’s classroom recently caught my eye as her windows were decorated in  post-it notes and fluorescent writing.  I went in to investigate. The atmosphere was humming with discussion as groups of students in Year 10 Economics were intent on their latest project, part of the growing NZ Innovation Challenge run by Young Enterprise. Their brief was to:

Investigate a problem
Develop and evaluate potential solutions
Build a prototype solution
Gather feedback from stakeholders
Persuasively present a solution

Using the principles of design thinking students have researched, problem-solved then come up with plans to turn their chosen idea into an economic success story. I was intrigued by the choice of one group who wished to do something with the humble fava bean – or broad bean. This required more than thinking up tastier ways of cooking it. Students had to turn at least two disruptive technologies into enablers and develop a sustainable product that will enhance New Zealand’s economy. This is high level critical thinking stuff!

A variety of spaces were used to explore ideas – including the windows – with brightly coloured notes and images drawing attention and offering inspiration in all directions. But what struck me was how insightful the students were about the collaborative process itself. Check out the video to hear what they have to say about it.

How good is to hear a student say that ‘everyone’s opinions are taken  into account and no-one is left out’? This was group work at its best: purposeful, engaging and inclusive. Well done to everyone involved.




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