Applied Creativity Labs for Young Inventors

IVE’s Applied Creativity Labs (ACLs) are designed to give children and young people the creative behaviours and thinking skills that when applied to real world challenges help them develop innovative solutions.

“What we have concluded,” wrote Land, “is that non-creative behaviour is learned.”
(Source: George Land and Beth Jarman, Break-Point and Beyond: Mastering the Future TodaySan Francisco: HarperBusiness, 1993)

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



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.

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, refine and 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.


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

Youth Endowment Fund supporting first Digital Delivery of ACLS:

We are soon to begin runing our innovative Applied Creativity Labs online, with four groups of young people selected through a partnership with BARCA; providers of universal and targeted services for young people in LeedsThe Prince’s Trust and the West Yorkshire Police Calderdale Early Intervention Team, to support young people at-risk of being drawn into violent crime through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Partners on our Food Sustainability Lab:

AsdaFood RevivalFuture FarmersLeeds City CouncilHarewood Food & Drink ProjectLeeds Food PartnershipMagpie Creative Agency,  Rethink FoodWaste-Food SolutionsZero Waste Leeds and Lawnswood SchoolShire Oak Primary School and St Matthews C of E Primary School

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

Leeds City Council; The University of Leeds; Mott MacDonald; Engie; Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust; Magpie Creative Communication Agency; Manor Woods Primary; Mount St Mary’s Catholic High School; John Smeaton Academy; Siemens; The Priestley International Centre for Climate and Sustrans.

What’s involved?

Applied Creativity Labs focus on real world challenges, such as air pollution, food sustainability, single-use plastic and waste reduction. We run labs for children and young people in any setting.

IVE’s Applied Creativity Labs are built on a 20+ year history of developing young people’s creativity skills (IVE formerly known as CapeUK). Their development is timely. The Programme for International Student Assessment(PISA) tests a sample of 15-year-olds across the world every three years and plans to assess creative thinking in 2021. Creativity, originality, problem-solving, critical thinking and ideation are all future skills identified by the World Economic Forum for 2022.

A full lab includes 1 full initial day, up to 6 weekly hourly sessions and one final half day pitch event. The Labs are free to schools and youth groups as part of our charitable programme offer.

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. We enhance and develop the creativity of children, young people and also staff in schools (via our CPD programme ‘Developing Independent Learners’).

‘After a fantastic introductory whole year group session last week, both myself and the children were incredibly excited to start thinking of ideas to promote clean air today.
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!’ -Teacher, Manor Wood Primary

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 the Final Impact Report from #breatheLeeds:

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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:

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