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Thinking about the whole system first is not just for business! Groups of teenagers from Kosovo worked on projects, funded by UNICEF Innovations Lab Kosovo, to change their communities one step at a time - using a systems perspective.
The UPSHIFT project taught young participants how to design and implement projects that would have a social impact on their community. UPSHIFT seeks to increase the employability and professional readiness of Kosovo youth teaching them skills of entrepreneurship.
Each of the projects starts with the teams setting goals. They were proactive in getting people impacted by their projects involved early through questionnaires and interviews. It is often difficult for adults to keep focused on their goals, so these young team members duly impressed me!
Their projects vary greatly. Some include:
Offering math classes for elementary and high school students to help them learn it in a way that is easy and fun
Creating a No Bullying campaign
Delivering art workshops making puppets from eco-friendly materials to see children be creative rather than spending their time in front of the TV or computers
Creating space for talented girls in technology to report on difficulties they face in working in this field thru the “IT has no Gender” project
Thinking about the entire system is the key skill in dealing with complex issues. If teenagers in Kosovo can be Systems Thinkers, so can the rest of us.
Systems Thinkers think big. They dream big. They aren’t afraid of tackling large, complex social or business issues. They don’t believe there is no solution just because one hasn’t been found before.
Systems Thinkers are comfortable with change and uncertainty. They are fine with ambiguity in their projects. They are willing to leap into the unknown and accept they may have some failures along the way.
Want to be a Systems Thinker? I specialize in coaching leaders with technical backgrounds to be Systems Thinkers. Contact me: Valerie.MacLeod@HainesCentre.com
Read more about Systems Thinking
If you are interested in the innovative projects: Kosovo Innovations
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