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YouthCafe

For young people who are in the middle of job seeking and may be suffering from isolation in front of their computers, YouthCafe is a bi-weekly meetup where young people in similar situations can get together and work on projects or share stories.

Photo of Haiyan Zhang
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*UPDATE*
If you're between 18 and 25, come join the first YouthCafe in London on Sept 26. We'll be a few inspirational speakers and a mini-workshop to kickstart things:
http://www.meetup.com/YouthCafe/events/82116972/

For young people who are in the middle of job seeking and may be suffering from isolation in front of their computers, YouthCafe is a bi-weekly meetup where young people in similar situations can get together and work on projects or share stories.

YouthCafe is held in a workshop format, to encourage participants to work towards a common goal and build something to perhaps show off in their portfolios. Groups could work on local projects, or even on OpenIDEO challenges.

Meetups can be held in local cafes or sponsored by businesses who could also facilitate.

YouthCafe is distributed as an open source kit, to be taken up by any community globally. The kit comprises of suggested activities, workshop formats, agendas and access to the online platform where organisers can discuss their learnings and in turn, refine the tools.

How will your concept support young people as they transition into the world of work?

This concept is targeted at young people who are motivated to initiate projects and just need a structure to do something. It offers the opportunity to network with peers, with local professionals and to create portfolio work to show to potential employers.

What online or in-person components of your concept will best support this transition?

The event is primarily offline while organisers can communicate online.

My Virtual Team

Ana Cecilia Santos Lydia Howland

Evaluation results

13 evaluations so far

1. IMPACT & REACH: How much impact and reach do you think this concept could have in helping young people transition into the world of work?

A great deal – something like this would really make a difference - 30.8%

A moderate amount – it’s certainly helpful but probably not a game-changer - 46.2%

Not very much – it’s unlikely to make a significant difference to young people seeking work - 23.1%

2. FEASIBILITY & RESOURCES: Thinking about the resources needed to implement this concept, how feasible will it be for your community to turn this concept into a reality? (Hint: when you think about resources, think: people, money, time, technology, infrastructure, partnerships and any other inputs for implementation)

Highly feasible – resources wouldn’t be an issue for my community if we tried to implement this - 38.5%

Moderately feasible – my community could do it if we could get find assistance with some of our resource constraints - 61.5%

Not feasible – it would be almost impossible for my community to implement this concept; it's just too resource-intensive - 0%

3. SUSTAINABILITY & LONGEVITY: Does this concept feel like it could be sustained as a project, business or movement over years rather than just months? Will continue to be relevant in future?

Yes – this concept has enough momentum to stand on its own two feet and remain relevant for years to come - 23.1%

Maybe – it’s not clear how long it would take for this concept to stand on its own feet or how it will continue to be but there’s reason to feel hopeful - 61.5%

No – this concept will have trouble sustaining itself in the long-run and probably won’t be as relevant in years to come - 15.4%

4. ORIGINALITY: How new or innovative is this idea? Are there many different versions of this concept out there already or is this something more disruptive and unique?

Very original – I’ve not seen anything else quite like it - 7.7%

Fairly original – there are similar things out there but this particular version brings a new element to the table - 84.6%

Unoriginal – there are already too many other concepts out there that are similar to this one - 7.7%

5. Overall, how do you feel about this concept?

It rocked my world - 23.1%

I liked it but preferred others - 53.8%

It didn't get me overly excited - 23.1%

25 comments

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Photo of Edmund Ng
Team

I think Youth Cafe could be used as a incubator or meeting place to get young startups going. The most challenging part is to get the awareness going.

Because it's a cafe at a physical location, you'll need to reach out to students living in a particular area. It's not easy to reach out to them unless you really know who they are.

That's a massive lot of effort required to inform schools what youth cafe is all about but if I were a school, I would probably be more inclined to build my own youth cafe within the school compound for safety and convenience issues.


Edmund Ng
http://www.CeoConnectz.com

Spam
Photo of Haiyan Zhang
Team

Photos and reviews are up from my prototype YouthCafe event on Wednesday night. Check it out: http://www.meetup.com/YouthCafe/events/82116972/

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Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

The concept worth spreading!
From my experience, as a consultant and coach, it is most challenging to get people motivated and sometimes "poking the box" (following Seth Godin) is the most difficult thing to do. What works really great in such cases is making a sort of obligation towards another person. It can aslo be a reciprocal obligation to do some work. People in pairs can promise each other to make some kind of research, plan or calculation in favour of other person. This means, all ideas or solutions will get a sort of validation from the outside, the motivation will be high as "I know she is doing it for me. I have to do it for her", and the "doing" part is going to happen.
Cross my fingers for your first meeting in September! I wish I could be there :)

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Really Great idea. There is a similar organisation called Meet Up in the UK that offer group meetings in several locations and across a massive variety of interests/skills. You can go along to meetings with people with the same interests or motivation as you, which can also allow more in-depth and focussed discussions. What can be quite daunting about them, however, is that there is not much discussion prior to meetings and young people are scarce.

Could be an idea to have skills/interest-specifc meetings similar to that of Meet Up. These can be supported by an online forum to enable people to interact prior to meeting so that they don't feel they are going alone without knowing anyone. For example, a meeting for people interested in Marketing could be kick-started on an online forum by asking people to comment on a campaign by a company such as Apple. This can enable people to get into the right mind frame, feed off each others ideas, build confidence, and most importantly be motivated to go!

Definitely worth persuing this idea!

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Hey Haiyan,

Great, sounds good! I think the first step is to provide a space - what I think most people do when starting out is to just take over a bit of a cafe or pub and have a generally discussion about a certain area where people could contribute and ask questions. Almost like a seminar set up but obviously more relaxed. Once you gauge how many people are likely to turn up, we could think about renting a regular space. I think keep costs low to start with and generate interest by posting what is discussed at each meeting. Could set up a Facebook group?

I think you could structure it in one of two ways; you could either post a question such as "Evaluate the latest Marketing campaign by Barcardi" and people can get some ideas together to discuss at the meeting, then during the meeting the group can collaborate ideas and consolidate, then post the final idea on an online group for people to look at. Or, we could invite people to speak about the industry they work in, such as "A Day in the Life of......", for example your experience in a Design and Innovation company and how you got there, people with experience in Digital Marketing etc.

Let me know what you think!

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

I love this idea because it brings young people out of their comfort zone to quickly remind them that they are not alone in the search for meaningful, fulfilling and rewarding work. The ideal venue for this sort of community gathering sounds like it might just be the Next Door Cafes, brain-powered by State Farm and IDEO! I have been privileged to visit one in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago, and felt both welcomed and driven while in the space. I would gladly attend YouthCafe group meetings, and know many others who would be eager to join the network of like-minded people!

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Photo of Haiyan Zhang
Team

Hi Claire,

Thanks for your feedback! I've just scheduled the first one on Sept 26 in London (not sure if you are here). It's on Meetup.com: http://www.meetup.com/YouthCafe/events/82116972/

I love the idea of having a creative, dedicated space and wonder how this might translate to events that move from place to move. How can we imbue it with the same sense of a new environment?

I'd welcome your suggestions for events or workshops that might be interesting.

-Haiyan

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Photo of T. Annie Nguyen
Team

Great concept! I think many people would find value and comfort coming to a place to work together, even if they are doing the search on their own. This concept reminded me about ING Direct Cafes, which is a different take on the banking experience and just focusing on providing services and cafe atmosphere for people.

Youth cafe helpers could be a resource and a speaker series would be nice to incorporate. I like the idea of sponsorship, which helps with the costs of hosting an event. It would be interesting if the Youth Cafes could change locations or host in different locations to reach more people too.

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

I love how this idea takes people away from the screen and promotes face-to-face interaction. To incentivize wary job seekers, we might want to incorporate specific focus to the meet ups so the attendees understand how showing up could lead to a job. Here are some thoughts:

A. The meetings should be age-specific so that there is an inherent sense of belonging to a group with the same struggle. There is a large maturity gap between 18 and 26, for example, and I doubt people on opposite ends of the spectrum would have a sense of value in workshopping together.
A1. Certain meet ups could provide opportunity for older members to mentor the younger ones.
B. Each meeting should concentrate on a particular subject, broad enough so anyone would benefit from attending, but still focused so participants know they will gain new knowledge and skills from the event.
B1. Guest speakers with careers in different industries could host or participate.
C. The organizing body should reach out to the professional community in order to encourage mentorship.

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Photo of Tristan Cooke
Team

Write a practical idea... I propose the problem is getting them in the door in the first place. The significant number of unemployed youths are not the ones who are easy to reach and get to show up.

Spam
Photo of Tristan Cooke
Team

Write? I meant, Great practical idea... anyway.

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Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Great way for community members to collaborate/mentor youth. I'd love to see a rotating *pop-up* in different neighborhoods, especially underserved communities.

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Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

I love this idea! Your idea of having businesses offer space and facilitation expertise is a jewel. This way youth can begin buiidling relationships with potential employers- which in turn keeps youth motivated because they know that there is potential for networking/getting noticed by people who can hire or refer them.

How would this initiative outreach to different demographics of youth and ensure an inclusive and diverse environment?

Spam
Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Interesting concept. To me this sounds like bringing together the best of a Starbucks(lots of tables, chairs, outlets, beverages, food, etc), a library(town-center, hangout place), and a career center on a college campus(resources, events, etc specifically for business-people, job seekers, and professional growth oriented people.)

I think in order for a concept like this to really take off, you may have to broaden the horizon of this just a smidge. Unemployment is cyclical, so what happens during a good economy? When there are limited job seekers, a place like this could go out of business. Just something to let bounce around in our heads for a bit. I don't really have a solution, just pointing out something to consider. Some possible ideas to build upon:

1. Let parts of this place get rented out to professional groups like Toastmasters, etc.

2. Host networking or recruiting events for companies, local businesspeople, etc.

3. Have study rooms to rent out, or collaborative spaces available. Check out what people are doing in Lower Manhattan at Hive 55- http://hiveat55.com/ or even http://sunshineny.com/ Its pretty cool, and certain aspects of these types of places could easily be integrated into a youth cafe like you are suggesting.

4. Charge a modest membership fee so that people feel like they are part of a community, and also feel like they have some "skin in the game".

4a. For members, immediately connect them with someone who is a mentor figure who can get the started on their professional growth, getting hired with the right company, taking advantage of the resources available at the youthcafe, etc.


This is all just brainstorming stuff I'm throwing out there. Sparking any ideas?

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Photo of Arjan Tupan
Team

Interesting, I read the concept more as something that people can organise in already existing locations. Sort of like the Open Coffee Club concept.
As for your remark about the good economic times, maybe then YouthCafe can focus on next career steps.

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Photo of Paul Reader
Team

Agreed Arjan and great concept Haiyan.
Need not be an expensive exercise (I guess depending on venue).
Most such venues probably have slow business times when perhaps such meetups could be scheduled.
This could be the genesis of some OpenIDEO Local Chapters where there might be some focus on employment issues, some on local challenges and some on open challenges.

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Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Bryan, I think point 4a could be a very important one. While building skills and relationships in this format is helpful, the reality is that without an experienced mentor that can vouch for the skills you've gained, it may not lead to jobs. Having someone to guide you and vouch for you is so important!

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Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Great ideas Bryan. I would give more thought to charging a small fee as this may deter the youth who really need this kind of service.

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Photo of Arjan Tupan
Team

Cool concept. And to start with the kit, I think we can use the OI Brainstorm Kit as starting point. Exciting.

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Photo of Haiyan Zhang
Team

Great idea! I wonder what should go into the kit. It's been a while since I left school :)

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Photo of Paul Reader
Team

It has probably been longer for me than almost anyone on OpenIDEO, but I do like this concept. In addition to the virtual and paper components I am tempted to suggest a basic Lego kit, jigsaws and board games.

Something that could encourage inter-disciplinary discussions would broaden outlooks too.
I know I keep bringing this up in almost every concept but I think the IDEO/biology collaboration in the USGBC challenge is a great example of what can happen when disparate fields of endeavour are brought together.

I often wonder too how many people know the origins of wi-fi (or going back further winsock).Sometimes the past as well as the present can stimulate thinking for the future.

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Photo of Sabine Kuznik
Team

I´m just about going to finish my education in winter. During school teachers have a defined program they have to do. And during my school time the IT teacher was not always up to date. But there were some young people at school who were really good at it. So in my opinion everyone has a talent and something I can learn from him or her. In the young people going to the workshop in the cafés could find out what their talent is and share it with others. What about supporting with a kit:
- at first what the young participants are good at
- second help them prepare a workshop on their special talent
- third support them in learning from each other during that workshop

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Photo of Paul Reader
Team

Thanks for this perspective from the point of view of someone in the target cohort.

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Photo of Juan Cajiao
Team

Very nice! We often underestimate how isolation and lack of basic resources (internet, printer, phone, cash) can hold back someone looking for a job.
I think in the USA there is something ran by the Government, at least this movie shows a place where unemployed ppl go for help and counselling: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa5qg7cB1ZQ.
I would like to join this team btw!

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Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congrats for this post being today's onsite Featured Concept!