Say YES! To Our Economy – Exploring the YES! – Young Economic Summit 2016

When the last presenters left the stage of the YES! – Young Economic Summit in Kiel, the audience members must have felt that they had witnessed something extraordinary. Two days of intense discussions and original ideas that tackled a variety of economic problems surely left them with a feeling of relief:  the younger generation is well prepared to solve issues that affect us all.

The YES! – Young Economic Summit took place for the second time in 2016. Organized by the ZBW Leibniz Information Centre for Economics in cooperation with the Joachim Herz Stiftung and the IfW Kiel Institute for the World Economy, it originated as a youth summit spin-off to the GES in 2015. The summit stands under the patronage of Federal   Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel.

Immediate Success and Source of Inspiration

Last year’s winning proposal of a deposit and recycling system for plastic bags (PDF, 1.9MB) by the team of the Gymnasium Wellingsdorf continued to thrive after the summit with over 50.000 supporters on change.org, a prototype bag was developed with the help of Stiftung Deutsches Design Museum and a professional designer, following a presentation at the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety in July 2016.

Also in 2015, Torsten Albig, Minister-President of Schleswig-Holstein, was even so impressed that he invited participants of the YES! to discuss their proposals on city planning with his cabinet in Kiel. Shortly after that, the two groups of YES! next generation ambassadors met with the cabinet of Schleswig-Holstein and presented their solutions to the long-term integration of refugees.

 

Presenters from the Lernwerft Club of Rome School Kiel are getting ready. Last minute rehearsals before they take the stage. (c) ZBW

Presenters from the Lernwerft Club of Rome School Kiel are getting ready. Last minute rehearsals before they take the stage. (c) ZBW

15 Solutions for Urging Problems

The YES! 2016 team proposals covered a wide range of social and economic issues, from a Uniform European Migration Regulation to “House of Cans”, an idea developed by students of the Erenköy Işık High School in Istanbul to achieve sustainability and inclusiveness through financial governance.

“It was amazing to see how much work and thoughts these young people put into their projects,” said Dr. Willi Scholz, head of the YES! project. “They studied their fields very well and came up with solutions that are a bit off from the approach economists and politicians would take – and that makes their ideas very refreshing.

Since the end of February, when the kick-off event in Kiel started the group phase, the students received support by scientists from the IfW, experts from the ZBW, and YES! staff members to streamline their ideas, find the right sources, and put together a powerful presentation.

 

Schleswig-Holstein's Minister-President Torsten Albig did not only listen carefully to the presentations. Like here, he engaged in talks with the presenters to learn more about their ideas and products. Here you can see him with the Hero Mug in hands (c) ZBW, Photographer: Sven Wied

Schleswig-Holstein’s Minister-President Torsten Albig did not only listen carefully to the presentations. Like here, he engaged in talks with the presenters to learn more about their ideas and products. Here you can see him with the Hero Mug in hands (c) ZBW, Photographer: Sven Wied

And The Winner Is …

The YES! is also a competition. All proposals are evaluated by all participants after the event. In addition, an online poll decides about the public choice winner. The three top rated solutions become part of the YES! petition. This petition’s goal is to push the solutions into reality and to inform the respective political and other institutions of these inspiring ideas – just like it happened with the deposit and recycling system of plastic bags last year.

This year’s nominees for the petition are:

  1. Refugee Integration Course System by Helene-Lange-Gymnasium Rendsburg
  2. Marine Temporarily Protected Zones by Lernwerft Kiel
  3. Network of the Ocean by Humboldt-Schule Kiel
  4. More Security on Streets through Nudging by Gymnasium Wellingdorf
  5. Smart Cities – Blueprint of our Future by Anne-Frank-Schule Bargteheide

Public Choice Winners

  1. PPP – Public Parley Partnership by Alexander-von-Humboldt Schule Einfeld
  2. Marine Temporarily Protected Zones by Lernwerft Kiel
  3. Reusable Bin by Peter-Ustinov-Schule Eckernförde

An Economic Summit Needs to Grow  

So far, the YES! has been a rather local event with school classes only from Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg, except for one school from Turkey. “We started out with 14 to 15 schools. In the future we want to expand the number of schools participating. There is so much potential out there,” explains Dr. Willi Scholz about the future of the YES!

We are looking forward to meeting the winners at the next GES event, where they will present their proposals to experts from all fields – and quite likely will make an impression on them as well.

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The YES! Online: http://www.young-economic-summit.org