After lots of hard work and preparation, Lab 1 is finally upon us. Today, 60 people have travelled from all over the country (from Hull, Portsmouth, Durham, Huddersfield and even from Scotland!) to gather in London for the first Innovation Lab.
We have brought together 28 young people aged 16-25 to share their innovative new ideas with the 4 not-so-young people who are eager to listen and a mix of 25 young people and adults as part of the project team who put the Innovation Lab together.
The adults in the project team include Billy Dann (a funder from Comic Relief), Dan Sutch (Head of Development Research at The Nominet Trust), Elise Le Clerc (from Right Here), Alexandra Molano-Avilan (from Right Here), Rob (from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation), Chris O’Sullivan (from Mental Health Foundation Scotland), Mark Brown (from One in Four magazine), Patrick Doyle (from Person First Solutions) and lots of other exciting people – computer geeks, designers, youth workers and mental health workers.
We started the morning with an inspirational talk from Chris O’Sullivan, who talked about identity, courage, the value of lived experience. Billy Dann then urged us all to “Be big, bold, brave and innovative!”
The programme for the day has been built around innovation and thinking as creatively as possible. We’ve split the group up into four smaller Labs and they are now hard at work creating fictional characters.
So far, the labs have created Sebastian, Rhys and Clarke.
Sebastian is privately-educated, plays rugby, has anger problems and hates getting out of bed. Rhys is a cheeky chap who supports Cardiff City FC. He takes drugs and suffers from paranoia. He also wants to be a DJ. Clarke doesn’t have a proper job but he loves phone apps. He struggles to make friends.
There are sure to be plenty more characters in the works, and later, the lab participants will be creating fictional situations and challenges for their characters to deal with. All ideas are created equal, and these fictional worlds will hopefully trigger some great ideas for new apps and technologies that can help these characters (and some real life young people) look after their mental health.
Written by Mei Leng Yew.