Applied Creativity Labs for Young Inventors

IVE’s Applied Creativity Labs (ACLs) aim to give children and young people the creative behaviours and thinking skills they need to develop innovative solutions to real world challenges, in the classroom or via remote online delivery.

“What we have concluded,” wrote Land, “is that non-creative behaviour is learned.”*

We believe the opposite is also true; that creative behaviour cannot only be learned but taught.

Click here to watch a video about our ACL delivery!

*Source: George Land and Beth Jarman, Break-Point and Beyond: Mastering the Future TodaySan Francisco: HarperBusiness, 1993.

What’s involved?

Applied Creativity Labs focus on real world challenges, such as air pollution, food sustainability, single-use plastic and waste reduction.  Applied Creativity Labs are for children and young people in schools and/or youth groups.

What’s the process?

We begin the process by presenting young people with an overview of what the ‘challenge’ is (ie. air pollution), we then deliver our bespoke creativity training and give them access to a resource-bank of ‘experts’ from industry, business and universities.

Young people then explore, develop, and refine their best original, applicable solutions to the challenge.

The groups prepare to pitch their best original, applicable solutions to the challenge to a panel, dragon’s den style. The best ideas are considered for further development.

Watch our explainer videos

When, where and how?

Online Delivery

An online lab is delivered over nine one-hour-long sessions. All participants need to be able to access the Labs via Zoom, whether in groups in class, or individually from home.

Read an online ACL Case Study

Classroom Delivery

A full lab includes 1 full initial day, up to 7 weekly hourly sessions and one final half day pitch event.

Read a classroom-based ACL Case Study

What are the impacts?

By applying creativity to real-world challenges – such as air pollution in Leeds – learning becomes ‘real’ and young people take an active part in creating their own futures.

Applied Creativity Labs:

  • Help young people think divergently
  • Develop problem-solving skills
  • Help young people think freely and more creatively
  • Develop their resilience, confidence and independence
  • Develop their team work
  • Develop their ability to innovate
  • Develop their critical thinking skills
  • Develop their presentation skills.

Read our interview with two of our young inventors one year on

Impact Reports

Each ACL we run is accompanied by an in depth impact report from Research Toolkit Ltd. Click the project titles to view the reports.

Improving Mental Health – online ACL on the topic of mental health with 10-14 year olds in Calderdale, 2020.

ReVision – online ACL on the topic of placemaking for wellbeing with 15-25 year olds in Yorkshire, 2020.

#breatheLeeds – in class ACL with schools on the topic of air pollution, 2019.


Each Applied Creativity Lab includes invaluable partnership contributions from a variety of experts.

Partners on the ReVision Applied Creativity Lab, 2020

ReVision connects young people with experts in city planning and placemaking, landscape architecture, heritage and waterways. Delivered in partnership with Ignite Yorkshire, with thanks to the Canal & River Trust, CITU, Civic Engineers, Leeds Civic Trust, Re-Form Landscape Architects and Yorkshire Design Group, and funding from National Lottery Heritage Youth Accelerator Fund.

Partners on our first digital Lab, supported by Youth Endowment Fund, 2020-21:

Delivered in partnership with  the West Yorkshire Police Calderdale Early Intervention Team. Thanks to Creative MindsInspire Ignite, Lucy Randall-Smith, Mental Health In BusinessNoah’s Ark CentreSouth West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation, Kooth, Leeds NHS Clinical Commissioning Group and TimeOut Calderdale.

Partners on our Food Sustainability Lab, 2019-2020:

Delivered in partnership with Lawnswood SchoolShire Oak Primary School and St Matthews Church of England Primary School. With thanks to AsdaFood RevivalFuture FarmersLeeds City CouncilHarewood Food & Drink ProjectLeeds Food PartnershipMagpie Creative Agency,  Rethink FoodWaste-Food Solutions; and Zero Waste Leeds.

Partners on #breatheLeeds, our first lab on air pollution, 2019:

Delivered in partnership with Manor Wood Primary, Mount St Mary’s Catholic High School and John Smeaton Academy. With thanks to Leeds City Council, The University of Leeds, Mott MacDonald, Engie, Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust, Magpie Creative Communication Agency, Siemens, The Priestley International Centre for Climate and Sustrans.

Get involved

If you would like us to bring an Applied Creativity Lab to your school or youth group or would like to get involved as an ‘expert’ offering your perspective on any of these problems please contact:


    We work with children aged 5-19 across a broad spectrum of social, emotional and mental health challenges. Common diagnoses and learner profiles amongst our students include ADHD, PDA, FASD, Autism and Attachment Disorder. As a result of these diagnoses a lot of our students have become disengaged from the traditional classroom learning experience and have very little confidence, after sometimes years of being overlooked in a large group setting.

    With trepidation we began the first session, and with Sarah and the teams warm welcome and non-judgemental approach the two groups were more at ease. With each week that passed, the groups were becoming more and more engaged and increasingly willing to communicate their own ideas and experiences. Not only this, they were able to listen to the ideas of others and offer constructive advice, even if they did not agree with what was being said. The students have grown in confidence, and learnt different ways of communicating and thinking creatively.

    Before the project began, I naturally thought about different children of varying abilities and wondered who would be fully engaged with the project. What I have noticed in this session is that ALL children were fully engaged in the sharing of ideas. It was fantastic to see children who can be quieter in group situations share their ideas and really start to think about what could be possible (no limits).

    It was refreshing to observe the children grab the opportunity of being creative thinkers, so often at school, they are bound by structured lessons and before embarking on long writes, we give them model texts and guide them through a series of activities. Thank you ever so much!

    I thought the way you communicated with us and organised the presentation was very structured and professional. [The Labs] gave the young people a taste of a working environment which was well thought through and considered.

    IVE brought the young people in and gave them credit. There was respect and confidence in everyone […] and it was a pleasure to be included!

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