January 17, 2020

IGNITE 2019: Stories behind the illustrations

At this year’s IGNITE workshops, academics joined entrepreneurs, students encountered policy makers and NGOs.

In some sessions, the diversity of participants sparked intense discussions, in others you could literally watch their heads smoking as attendees were finding new, and innovative solutions for some of the most pressing topics around job creation in fragile states. And along with all this: a small team of young artists armed with pen and paper who illustrated the inspiring ideas and insights coming up: Architects of the Future.

The aim of these illustrations was to transform outcomes of the sessions into real stories, rather than a dry report. Stories that present tangible solutions and that people will remember for a long time afterwards. Here are some of them:

1. The Roadmap & Four pillars of job creation

The Roadmap of successful job creation
Reflections on four pillars of job creation

The Roadmap: “What do refugees need to achieve their goals?”

In the top right corner, you see the network of displaced people which they create and manage during their path of finding a job. The experts agreed that 

“this network is a key factor for success.”

The yellow circles below show hurdles a refugee has to pass on his way to employment. Among these: language barriers and risk aversion of businesses, just to name a few of them. The illustration continues with solutions to overcome these challenges in the top left corner.  Generally speaking, it became evident that a focus on individual skills and opportunities is of utmost importance. We further need to stop seeing displaced people as a homogenous group of people with the same challenges.

Four pillars of job-creation

Every personal journey of finding a job or becoming an entrepreneur begins with a backpack full of personal experiences. As this journey continues, this backpack is being filled bit by bit, with more skills and new experiences. These might be: education, a cultural background or an entrepreneurial mind-set. While walking on the yellow arrow towards becoming employed/an entrepreneur, challenges might occur, but also new opportunities will cross the path.

The opportunity what was identified as the most impactful was to foster a culture of experimentation and entrepreneurship, and everyone can contribute to this: Whilst successfully walking the entrepreneurial path oneself, this positive example inspires and encourages others along their way.

Creating and entrepreneurial mindset is key.

This illustration captures the participants' expectations and the main challenges to focus on during the session.
This visual shows aspects which are seen as the global benchmarks for success.

2. Pathways to Prospects

Pathways to Prospects: Learning from scholarship programmes

The three parts of this visualisation represent three different parts of improving higher education opportunities for youth: 

  1. The transition into higher education, with its issues and solutions,
  2. Innovative models shaping the skills needed during the education.
  3. How to best support students after they finished their graduation.
    The biggest opportunity to join the workforce after graduation is seen in a strong network of alumni where (former) students support their peers. However, not only the network between students, but also a network in communities is important to create job opportunities and guarantee further support for youth.

3. Creating jobs in Syria

Creating jobs in Syria

Improving economic inclusion of youth in Syria comes along with many challenges. These especially correlate with the complex, and rapidly changing social and political situation. Solutions to these are primarily focused on agricultural and digital opportunities.

4. Matching youth to jobs

Matching youth to jobs

The process of matching youth to the jobs they need is categorised into three different elements: the universities on the lower part, students in the middle, and the professional world of work on top. Businesses, students, and universities: all of them have to join forces to create more job opportunities, skill-up and stay connected. Governments need to support these key players with laws that support the creation of jobs.

“Everyone is responsible to teach students all the skills they need to find a sustainable job.”

5. Women entrepreneurs in conflict

Women entrepreneurs in conflict

This illustration tells the story of five successfully created businesses by women in conflict: Jumana Salous, Hala Bughaighis, Mayaz Alhashmi, Faten El Houni and Abir Sarras. By presenting their businesses, hurdles and success stories, especially women’s resilience in conflict became apparent. By seeing them as actors of change and providing specially tailored support their inclusion can significantly contribute to a country’s economic recovery.


Do you want to learn more about what happened during IGNITE 2019? Then have a look at our event page where you can listen to the IGNITE podcast series, read more about every workshop in the report or watch the official aftermovie.