Hackathon, Summer School, kids lab and workshop to rethink the school: Create the Humana Communitas innovating education

One can’t imagine growing and improving as a community without the ability to adapt to sustainable innovation on a daily basis. It is in this context that is inserted in the lifelong learning, lifelong learning: a process in which skills are acquited that make it possible to keep up-to-date and adapt in relation to innovations and to everything around us. 

In a period in which we increasingly speak of human creativity for the rethinking of resilient solutions but above all of society and the economy of the imagination, this skill serves to adapt more and more to the need for new knowledge and new tools to achieve even more ambitious goals. In fact, new technologies and the emergence of global issues will make lifelong learning essential, because only those who will be able to acquire new and different skills will manage changes and take opportunities to improve the situation.

This type of learning is not learned from today to tomorrow: we need trained teachers who are able to put every child in a position to be ready to learn with curiosity about innovations. But also innovative didactic methods and tools that not only start from the places dedicated to education and to the aggregation of everyone, schools but also make the individual identities to generate impacts on the community and give concrete answers that are always adaptable to the challenges our planet is facing us. 

In reality that aims at creating a true Humana Communitas, the role of education and learning are seen in this enlarged and inclusive perspective is central to the future of the entire humanity and of our world.

In the Future Food Institute, we felt this principle since 2014, working precisely on the great actions that can generate positive impacts and creating innovation in our ecosystems starting from the bottom, from concrete training and education proposals such as hackathons. For this reason, we started from these creative marathons, where the contribution of each individual, and with these different skills and positive ways of cross-pollinating the others with ideas, inspirations and totally unique approaches, becomes fundamental to solve those of world hunger, climate change or the reinvention of sustainable agriculture. 

We started five years ago from Bibimbap at the Milan Fuorisalone on the innovation of the organic food chain, and since then we have never stopped. The Zero Hunger Games, whose main objective was to find ideas to produce and distribute food in areas in difficulty, up to Chocothon, that supported the cocoa production chain and its economic development in Ghana, passing through the recent Hack for SDGs, dedicated to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 UN Agenda, we have come to organizing over 35 hackathons with 60 different partners and over 1000 people around the world, and we have also drawn some fundamental teaching, which is accompanying us in our educational mission of then enlarged community. 

Education starts with the desire to make a difference. A model of encompassing education like that of the hackathons, which includes individual identities, skills, and know-how communicating with each other, is just like a collective reflection: not only do we think together with solutions to everyday problems that we all share, but we begin to think beyond by current systems and transform one’s voice, often of protest, into concrete and tangible proposals. In the aftermath of Greta’s speech at the UN Climate Summit, we continue to understand more and more ow mature prospects and the knowledge of young talents can really make a difference, also and above all to respond to the challenges of change climatic: 

as Stephen Ritz do, who with Green Bronx Machines creates a new life, alternative and different, for sustainable cities and communities, recovering children from the streets and using the empty containers of the neighborhood as spaces in which to grow a garden with plants and vegetables, as we did at Agrogenerations. Giving space to a new generation that wants to get their hands on the earth, go back to their origins but at the same time create social innovation. In our Summer Schools with FAO, where we realized that to generate real impacts and (re)generate an increasingly vulnerable and threatened plant, it is necessary to really make a difference: to move from what is the design thinking approach, in which they think and rethink solutions fro what men want, that of prosperity thinking, in which they reflect on what the Earth really wants.

Education starts from small, to build great innovators. Giving shape and life to the world in which food innovation is the driving force and regenerating factor of the entire planet means, first of all telling about the true frontiers of the future: the management and recovery of food waste, the professions of the future that they will enhance human and environmental capacities and food growth that can accessible, clean and sustainable even in urban areas. To create a community aware of these challenges, it is necessary to start from those who follow it and live it every day, like children. In a world where 65% of children starting elementary school will do a job that does not exist today, it becomes vital to think about how to build paths of change and responsibility to really prepare them for the future, even from an early age. Perhaps starting from playing and coloring with vegetable waste, giving new value to food waste as we did in our Living Lab with Kids Labs. Or from making them, at the Franciscan Festival in Bologna, the heroes of SDGs with the board game Foodopoly, making them discover how to respect the environment and respond to the challenges of social inequalities and access to food.

The education of the future will always be at school. Bringing innovation into a wider perspective undoubtedly means giving value and integrating into the functional models and educational systems that make up the cornerstones of our communities: the scholastic ones. However, to ensure that the school maintains its fundamental role as a trainer of culture, knowledge, and inspiration, it is necessary to develop new skills in its spaces and spaces that can be used not only in the workplace, but above all in the same world of education, in which to build ferments, stimuli but above all tangible actions for social and environmental awareness. Like the one carried out by the Convivium Labs, using the SDGs as the heart of a healthy and regenerative diet of human and global well-being, or from the privileged stage of the CampuStore Maker Space to Didacta, the largest Italian fair in the education world, in which we have told in a series of workshops how to build quality education and social resilience in classrooms and neighboring places starting from the experiences of Food Shapers, our real food shapers, which we mapped internationally during the two editions of Food Innovation Global Mission.

Talking about the challenges of education, therefore, means telling and shaping the innovation and regeneration of ecosystems. Following this perspective, therefore, we can no longer conceive education as a mere tool or even think of it as a weapon, but as a whole instrument, a toolbox from which to build an increasingly resilient, ever more sustainable community brick by brick. above all more and more humana, which starts from the firm roots of its own skills and abilities and transforms them, from simple sources, of real re-sources, rethought and re-shaped for the future of the Planet.