Young Americans Blog

Launching the Builders Lab

By: Casey Macaulay Published: April 21st, 2014
High school students shared great business ideas on Post-It notes.

High school students shared great business ideas on Post-It notes.

A car pool variation of a bus stop to ease commuting’s effect on the environment, trackable stickers for your keys or whatever else always seems to go missing and an app for teens where they can post what’s on their mind anonymously – these are all great business ideas, born in the Builders Lab exhibit at last week’s TEDxYouth @MileHigh event.

 

Launching the Builders Lab

The Builders Lab is a space for entrepreneurial youth to share ideas, become business savvy, and most importantly, learn from each other. As an exhibitor at the TEDx event, Young Americans Center took the Builders Lab from the web to a real life actualization. Our interactive exhibit aimed to rev-up the entrepreneurial juices of the TEDxYouth attendees.

 

Activities

A hot tub in an office. Nice!

A hot tub in an office. Nice!

First, participants made Builders Lab key chains made out of corks in just a few easy steps. The idea was to get kids to realize they have it in them to make things, and that products can easily be created from everyday items. Seeing as we ran out of materials, I’d say this station was a huge hit.

Next, we encouraged participants to write down business solutions in the areas of Health and Fitness, Transportation, Education or to come up with a new Mobile App. Their ideas went on post-it notes, and soon the table was a rainbow of awesome and incredibly creative ideas. Some of my personal favorites were a car that could be folded down to the size of your hand, a pet locator app and a jetpack for every kid (who doesn’t want one of those?). I can’t express how inspiring it was so see the TEDxYouth attendees to get excited about thinking like an entrepreneur.

Students tinkered and assembled keychains to take home.

Students tinkered and assembled keychains to take home.

The final station was my favorite. We tasked kids with imagining their future business headquarters, and build a model of it out of Legos. Middle and High school students alike loved revisiting the brilliance of Legos while coming up with architectural wonders. With employee well-being in mind, one 6th grade student chose to include a hot-tub in his HQ — a novel (and genius!) idea. If new buildings were approached with the creative eye that so many of these students had, skylines would become so much more interesting to say the least.

Lots of fantastic business ideas!

Lots of fantastic business ideas!

The speakers at the TEDxYouth @ MileHigh event were clear role models for adults and young people alike, it was hard not to hang on to their every word. I left the event feeling extremely fulfilled, inspired and excited for the innovation that the workforce of the future promises to deliver.

Check out more of the ideas from the Builders Lab exhibit here.

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