About the Toolkit

What is this, exactly?

This Youth-Centred Design (YCD) Toolkit helps teams of colleagues, children, youth, their families or caregivers and organizational partners explore and design solutions together. The YCD toolkit has been built around human-centred design tools and techniques in six chapters to guide you through the design process.

These chapters are:

Who is this toolkit for?

The YCD Toolkit is for anyone interacting with children and youth—including the child within all of us! The steps of the YCD Toolkit are ideally experienced in a small group of 3 to 8 team members, although many of the resources and techniques can be used by individuals or larger groups.

Pro-tip: For your first time through the YCD Toolkit, it'll be best if the group members can remain the same. Don't worry, different people can join later!

How to use the toolkit

Most importantly—know that the YCD Toolkit is a prototype. It will continue to improve and evolve as more people use it and share their experiences. Any time you have a thought or suggestion that might make it better, please send us a quick note about your experience. You’ll see opportunities to do this throughout this website.

This toolkit has been created to be exciting and fun to interact with—like a game. Put this toolkit to use right away and learn from the viewpoints of children and youth. With these perspectives, your group will be guided through a series of design process steps. The toolkit is meant to be referenced, reused and built upon to ensure the needs of children and youth are front-of-mind for everyone.

Each chapter has been created around a step of the design process. The YCD Toolkit will grow and change over time—adding additional chapters and materials that support children and youth to be at the table co-designing with adults. Be sure to check back now and again to see what’s new.

We recommend setting aside 2 hours to complete the activities in a chapter. Completing the activities in a group works best, but individuals can also give them a try.

The first time through, there might be mostly adults in the group. As you get comfortable with the way the activities in each chapter have been built, you’ll notice lots of opportunities for kids to be at the table. The more involvement from young people, the better! Have all adults review the Guidelines for Working with Youth before they interact with kids.

Rules of the Game

  1. Assemble a diverse team. Different perspectives—especially from children and youth—add richness to this design process.

  2. Everyone gets a chance to participate. The Design Lead will be sure to ask for input from everyone in the group. Provide alternative ways to participate as well, in case someone is uncomfortable with speaking up.

  3. Set a schedule, but be flexible. Each chapter indicates time for the activities within it. These are suggestions to help you understand the depth and investment required of the group. Try to be flexible with timelines, particularly when young people are involved.

  4. Take notes. You’ll be capturing a lot on cards and sticky notes, but if other interesting insights come up, the Note Taker should jot them down!

  5. Defer judgement. During ideation, all ideas are valid. The time for narrowing down will come later. For now, don’t dismiss any ideas.

  6. Build on each other’s ideas. This is not the time for patents; if someone has a great idea, anyone can add to it and make it even better.

  7. Challenge each other to get wild. Some of the greatest ideas sound silly and even impossible at first.

  8. Laugh and have fun!

Pro-tip: When new people join your group, it's important to re-establish the safe space that you started with. Return to the "Create a Safe Space" workshop, and then continue with the next step.