Currently a pilot in partnership with the Center for the Future of Arizona, DemocraSeed trains students on city and tribal youth councils to utilize design thinking in order to develop innovative programs to increase civic engagement. Equipped with these tools and knowledge, students will be empowered to create and pilot financially sustainable peer-to-peer civic engagement interventions.
DemocraSeed launched in June 2016 with a full-day training at ASU’s Tempe campus, where three youth councils and their leaders received training on design thinking, public speaking and civic engagement. The teams were awarded seed funding based on their pitches and will implement their project in the fall of 2016 with a final showcase in winter 2017. In April 2018, three new youth councils participated in a pitch event at the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona. Student's presented their ideas to state legislators and Dr. Sybil Francis.
The youth councils participating in the DemocraSeed pilot are: Salt River Pima-Maricopa Tribal Youth Council, City of Surprise Youth Council, Lake Havasu City Youth Council, Casa Grande Youth Council, Buckeye Youth Council and Chandler Youth Council. The J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute seeks to train additional youth councils across Arizona on how to use design thinking in order to implement meaningful, innovative programs in their communities.