Design Thinking Helps Japanese Youth Create Apps


As part of Microsoft Japan's YouthSpark Live Digital Youth College in 2014, IMPACT Japan held a Design Thinking workshop in Sendai, the capital city of Miyagi Prefecture and the largest city in the Tōhoku region. Thirty university students participated in the event to create apps for social good.

Design Thinking has been used to find compelling new solutions for fields as diverse as healthcare, wellness, food, sustainability and financial services – by focusing on the target audience and learning directly from them. The method uses visual tools, lots of brainstorming, and the creation of simple prototypes at a quick pace to come up with the most viable idea that can be improved upon over time.

The Digital Youth College participants used these design principles to create their own app ideas that could help to ultimately tackle the difficult challenges faced in the area of job skills training.

Watch this video to see how the students worked together in small groups and gained the confidence to build their business plans and bring their app ideas to life, in a relaxed and fun environment!

Held at Cocolin, a co-working space, the event was sponsored by Microsoft Japan, along with Makato, a Tōhoku-based NGO partner established after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, whose mission it is to find, nurture and accelerate local entrepreneurs to the global stage.

With the success of this event, Microsoft Japan is planning even more YouthSpark Live events in 2015.

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