Marco Polo Project
We bring cultures together

Out of the Box

Intelligence by Design

What is Intelligence by Design

Intelligence by design is a modular program that equips young people with the skills and mindsets to articulate, explore and redefine key personal and professional challenges in the face of growing uncertainty. The program offers four connected two-hour modules which can be delivered as a whole or separately. Intelligence by Design nurtures the underlying mindsets needed to adopt and apply Human Centered Designs, and complements our Design for Diversity program. Intelligence By Design was developed on the basis of iterative prototyping and extensive engagement with international students, advocates and education providers. It was designed and piloted in partnership with Melbourne University, Monash College, Insight Academy, New Dream English, Kaplan Institute of Business, Melbourne Polytech and TAFE International, with support from Foundation for Young Australians and the City of Melbourne.

Program structure

1st steps, start with stories

The challenge: Young people experience a high level of cognitive dissonance between collective narratives which are increasingly fragmented, and often even apocalyptic, and the need to articulate personal narratives about their future. The result is apathy, frustration, a sense of disconnect, and the lack of capacity to create consistent personal strategies, or even identify first steps.

Our approach: This workshop will guide participants to unleash the power of storytelling to imagine possible futures and new communities, and take the first steps towards creating them.


Embrace uncertainty: your questions unlocked

The challenge: Young people are faced with uncertainty. Their reaction is to seek answers by feverishly binging on knowledge, narratives and experiences. This only brings them a feeling of tired hopelessness – as it does not address the real challenge. Namely, embracing the intrinsic uncertainty of their existence.

Our approach: This workshop explores a process of reflective questioning – starting with the self and progressing to others – to achieve a contextual understanding of how we might use curiosity in more nurturing and effective ways.


Meaning making: talk with purpose

The challenge: Young people are not well equipped to make adequate self-assessments of their own value. Therefore, they are not confident to start conversations with others, effectively share the most valuable thing they have to offer during those conversations, or even retrospectively assess whether a conversation was valuable or not.

Our approach: This workshop will help participants develop confidence in interpersonal engagement by providing them with a series of frameworks to self-assess their own progress, and therefore develop intrinsic motivation and a sense of achievement.


Count me in: test your limits  

The challenge: Young people have many commitments, and struggle to make the most of the time they have available. They tend to push against deadlines, shove activities in and arbitrarily drop things, often creating a personal trade-off at a suboptimal time with negative consequences. This reduces their agency and makes them less capable to make their own decisions, leaving them stressed and overwhelmed.

Our approach: This workshop trains participants to accept and understand their limits, and make decisions about the use of their time in line with those limits.