The second phase of the Equity Partnership began on 14th January with 28 educators from Equitable Education Fund (EEF) supported schools in Thailand’s rural provinces invited to Shrewsbury International School Bangkok Riverside to partake in a series of CPD workshops geared towards providing them with the tools to teach entrepreneurship to their students.
With the help from two Shrewsbury Alumni, Tata Boonsita and Pinn Janvatanavit, Business and Economics Teacher Mr Greg Threlfall delivered a series of scenarios and challenges to the participants, aimed at conceptualizing, designing, prototyping and marketing products for retail.
The initiative is a collaboration between Shrewsbury, corporations and the government-supported EEF with aims to promote education, income equality and encouraging young people to think innovatively. It is hoped that this kind of knowledge-sharing amongst educators will in turn help students across Thailand to contribute their own ideas, products and skills to the Thai economy.
The training day began with an icebreaker and activities on how to teach the concepts of ‘Design Thinking’ to high school students. This five-step concept helps show students how they can develop creative ideas for products designed to fix identified problems. Problem identification is key to the marketability of a product, and products that provide realistic solutions may have the capacity to turn a profit, providing economic growth.
Perhaps the most enjoyable part of ‘Design Thinking’ was when the teachers were asked to prototype their solution by creating it from playdough – giving a physical solution to problems such as: ‘Elderly people who still enjoy long-distance travel but don’t enjoy the physical pain it can cause’. This particular team designed a specialised medical solution that prevented pain.
After the educators, who are from all corners of Thailand, completed the prototyping the were then asked to consider how they would market and sell product in stores and to online audiences. This challenge built awareness regarding the importance of presentation and branding to the commercial success of a product.
Shrewsbury is delighted to be a part of the Equity Partnership and well placed to give vital expertise in CPD sessions such as these. At this session we were very lucky to be able to call on two former Shrewsbury students who are now directly involved in the industry to give advice and assistance to participants.
Tata (Class of 2013) studied Graphic Design at the University of Southern California and has worked on projects for companies such as IMAX and Twentieth Century Fox. Pinn (Class of 2013) attended Smith College in Massachusetts, USA before working in the Education sector and now runs her own online confectionary business, ‘The Rolling Pin’. The duo, alongside Mr. Threlfall laid the foundation for the next stage of the Equity Partnership; a visit to the provinces to begin formulating ideas for real products.
Shrewsbury will again be involved with this by sending educators to run further CPD sessions and create an understanding of entrepreneurial thinking that will hopefully lead to products that solve problems. The trips will also be a wonderful opportunity to understand the resources available and the problems that may be faced further down the track.
The ultimate outcome is to bring viable products to market where all proceeds will be reinvested back into the areas they come from, in effect, creating wealth and knowledge for rural communities all over Thailand. With support from Shrewsbury and the entities in the Equity Partnership this ambitious undertaking will, no doubt, yield excellent results.