On June 16-18, 2023, YCC Starachowice councilors took part in a design thinking training conducted by Ms. Edyta Rogozińska. The training took place at the Magnat Hotel in Jacentowo. The aim of the workshops was to show the role of the design thinking method and service design in solving the everyday needs of the local community and young people from Starachowice.

On the first day, the youth councilors learned what design thinking is and what stages it consists of. After a short theoretical part, the participants were divided into five teams of five. The first stage of the design thinking process is empathy towards other people. This part included, among others: looking for answers to questions: how to choose a persona? Who to interview? Whose needs need to be diagnosed? The next task was to conduct interviews. The first person asked specific questions, the second provided answers, while the rest of the participants observed the entire process from the side and drew conclusions. This exercise turned out to be very interesting. Immediately afterwards, each group was assigned a persona – a person related to Starachowice, who had previously been interviewed and who served as a starting point for the groups to create a new project. First, the participants started creating mood boards – boards presenting the characteristics of a given character. The next task was to diagnose the persona’s needs. After this point, this very fruitful day ended. Of course, there were outdoor energizers and integration games between individual points.

The second day began with a short warm-up in the park scenery. Fresh air and sunny weather had a strong impact on the creativity of our young people, who at that time were getting acquainted with the types of so-called brainstorming. The awakened creativity was certainly useful in the next step, which was coming up with solutions to the persona’s problems and prototyping them, i.e. creating a model thanks to which outsiders could understand and evaluate the idea. Testing the prototypes involved presenting them to other groups. Each participant could express their opinion on a given prototype. The feedback was then used by the groups for second prototyping, during which the final designs were created. Each model was a response to a specific problem faced by a specific person. Among them, you could find a garbage collection machine, an online forum for the Starachowian resident, and ideas for the development of the Palace. On this day, the participants certainly needed a lot of creativity, which was stimulated by interesting energizers.

On Sunday, the participants were divided into new groups and tried to transfer the design thinking method to our local area. That day, councilors planned future activities aimed at primary school students regarding the green participatory budget. How to encourage younger colleagues to take action? How to use design thinking when implementing this project? Answers to these and other questions were found by groups which, apart from the Starachowice councilors, also included Amelia and Oskar – representatives of the Youth Assembly of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship. After completing this point, it was time to evaluate. Those three days were filled with various activities and certainly gave the youth councilors many new skills and… memories.

The training was carried out as part of the Future Direction project – Starachowice Local Development Program co-financed by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2021 from the Local Development Program.

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