How young people learn to solve social problems

17. Aug 2020

Europe-wide project DOIT allows children and young people to develop resilience to cope with social challenges

The results of this three-year research project will be presented at an international conference <strong>in Salzburg on the 24th of September 2020</strong. With the help of an online petition, the findings of this project are now included in the European Curricula and educational policy strategies.
Europe needs more young people with an entrepreneurial mindset and skills who are capable of transforming creative ideas into innovations that will make our society more sustainable and cohesive. The promotional strategy of European educational policymakers and institutions has been emphasizing the importance of young entrepreneur development for many years. However, the results are not convincing. A more committed and practical approach is needed to upskill young learners and equip them with the right mentality and innovative skills that are needed in today’s society,” says the project leader Veronika Hornung-Prähauser of Salzburg Research.
Young people should be empowered to thrive in the world of social innovation by working together in order to find creative solutions to important social problems such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This is why the European research project “DOIT - Entrepreneurial skills for young social innovators in an open digital world” lead by Salzburg Research has developed a programme and educational resources that have been promoting entrepreneurial development and social innovation for the past three years.
At the DOIT conference in Salzburg, representatives of various European and Austrian institutions collaborated and signed the DOIT petition in order to include the findings in the European Curricula and educational policy strategies.
Materials for social innovation and entrepreneurial learning
DOIT provides a programme with relevant educational materials for social innovation and entrepreneurship learning in Makerspaces for young people (6-16 years), teachers and other facilitators. The so-called “toolbox” includes templates, printouts, different method and workshop descriptions, videos, recommendations and more resources that are available under an open licence. With this licence, the DOIT material becomes an open educational resource that can not only be used freely but also can be translated, modified and republished in other languages.

Results: More creativity and self-efficacy

The DOIT approach was tested and evaluated in pilot projects in ten European countries. The pilot workshops that were attended by 1,002 children aged between 6 to 16 years were monitored and scientifically evaluated. These projects were organised in Makerspace or temporary Makerspace facilities. For example, one of these projects took place at the BHAK Hallein in Austria.
The evaluation showed significant results, such as increased creativity, self-efficacy and entrepreneurial skills. "After the pilot projects, we were able to observe moderately to significantly higher values in both younger (6 to 10 years) and older (11 to 16 years) age groups while performing before and after tests," says the project manager Veronika Hornung-Prähauser. In addition, research findings showed how to encourage girls and how to work with children with disabilities. Recommendations were made that promoted working with "pop-up maker spaces" in schools.
These experiences are now the basis for DOIT recommendations for policymakers and practitioners.

In the Recommendation on key competences for lifelong learning (2018/C 189/01, 22 May 2018), the Council calls in point 2.5 for the Member States to pay particular attention to the importance of promoting entrepreneurial skills, creativity and initiative amongst young people. This can be done by encouraging young learners to have at least one practical entrepreneurial experience before they finish school.
In the DOIT petition, we propose a DOIT experience for every young learner accompanied by the DOIT programme for girls and boys aged 6 to 16. 
Everyone is welcome to participate. Please sign the petition so that more children in Europe can have the opportunity to experience being a creative young social innovator!

You can check more information here:
- Toolbox:
- Free DOIT online course:
- Final conference on 24 September in Salzburg:
- Online petition:

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Tags: makers, social innovation, youth