InnovIA 2015: Early Childhood Development Innovation Studio

Today one of the RLabs Innovation Incubator and Accelerator (InnovIA) incubatees hosted an Early Childhood Development Innovation Studio at its Cape Town Hub. The event brought together more than 25 practitioners who were looking at how innovation in the ECD sector can bring about lasting change in the lives of children.  In South Africa only 34% of young children are receiving ECD Education and the Innovation Studio were exploring ideas on how can we possibly ensure every child has access to quality ECD education.

The main question that was addressed by the practitioners in the studio were:

“What windows of opportunity are being opened through provisioning of quality ECD to young children in South Africa?” 

The question was approached through the eyes of three stakeholders in ECD Education being the child, parent and ECD practitioners. Following the Center on the Developing Child approach by Harvard University the various teams worked through addressing some key challenges in from each of those perspectives but also provided possible solutions that will ensure the benefit of the child in the long-term. 

According to the Harvard Center on the Developing Child:

“Innovation offers a continuous cycle of idea development, testing and feedback that can help improve our ability to implement successful interventions and ultimately change the trajectory of more children’s lives.”

During the Innovation Studio we realized that there are 3 key areas in order to innovate in our current context and that is New Ideas based on research and experiences (Seeds), People & organizations who are willing to test promising ideas, learn from failure, and catalyze broader impact (Soil) and policy, funding as well as professional environments to support innovation (Climate). The practitioners brainstormed a number of interesting ideas ranging from re-creating the ECD physical environment with LEGO Blocks to building the ideal ECD technology solution. 

On behalf of RLabs we would like to thank all the participants who contributed to the ECD Innovation Studio.

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