Ciarán Harris

CO-FOUNDER, PRINCIPAL UX

Gen+ - Inspiring leadership in Scottish Schools

I write this as I travel back from my first ever trip to Scotland, albeit a fleeting visit. I was over to attend the Gen+ launch event.

Gen+ is a charity we worked with to develop a blended learning platform, free for Scottish school kids aged 11 to 15 years. The mission is to teach kids some essential life skills that are just not taught in the curriculum. Skills such as leadership, initiative & resilience, taught in a blended setting. Teachers & students will use the platform in class, to inform discussion, and relate the lessons to their real life experiences. Taught in a joyful & adventurous way.

There were so many things in the project that set a high bar…

Children are some of the most challenging users to design for. Children on the cusp of adulthood moreso. As digital natives, they expect flawless user experiences. A platform that enables them and then gets out of their way. But also it needs to excite & inspire them, without being too prescriptive or even condescending. No pressure!

the Gen+ user interface
the Gen+ user interface

The Gen+ team are a heavy hitting outfit too, led by CEO & teacher, Victoria Vardy. Along with Samantha Bedford, Andy Laszlo, EA, Becca, Sophie & Lydia. They are a team driving for success. Driving change across the Scottish education system.

The Gen+ team - Andy, Lydia, Elizabeth Anne, Victoria, Sophie, Becca, and Samantha.
The Gen+ team - Andy, Lydia, Elizabeth Anne, Victoria, Sophie, Becca, and Samantha.

The Gen+ team - Andy, Lydia, Elizabeth Anne, Victoria, Sophie, Becca, and Samantha.

The exceptional vision! Funded by the Peter Vardy Foundation, Gen+ is the vision of Peter & Victoria Vardy. A vision to drive change in the Scottish education system. To fill in the gaps in the curriculum, to give kids essential life skills, to inspire future leaders. While visiting and meeting the Gen+ team ( in real life! ) along with the Peter Vardy team, it was clear to me that vision & values play a large part in both organisations. Indeed, the Vardy Group’s visions were up on the office walls. It’s easy to relate them to the Gen+ initiative, through generosity & audacity. A vision for change. And it’s clear from this project that great user experience design is a multiplier for that change.

Victoria & Peter Vardy
Victoria & Peter Vardy

Victoria & Peter Vardy

Partnership & coordination. For a project like this it’s essential for partners to work closely together. Especially when all are workeing remotely. We were a team spread around the world. Each&Other working on UX Research & Design. Ciarán & Ronan were in Dublin, while Simoné worked from several South American locations during the project. Edly working on development of the LMS (learning management system). Junction18 working on the lesson content & instructional learning. ThinkFour working on video content. The Gen+ team coordinating us all and bringing the vision to life.

great ux design is a multiplier for change

The launch event itself was lovely. Lovely to meet the team - in real life, and their wider support network. Lovely to meet the other partner organisations. Lovely to see this product come to life. Lovely for the collective team’s efforts to be appreciated by educators for the change driver it will be. One Head Teacher said “tonight I’ve seen the future of education!”

tonight I’ve seen the future of education!

As a bonus we were treated to a couple of inspirational business speakers, including Bob Keiller. The theme of the evening was being authentic to your values, both at an individual level and at an organisational level.

Since we distilled our values we've endured a pandemic, and our team has substantially grown. Although we’ve endured a pandemic, and Each&Other has grown substantially since, I can genuinely say we’re authentic to our values, and I’m proud of the change we bring about.

Each&Other's values
Each&Other's values

Each&Other's values

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