Over the course of 2011-2012, Latitude conducted an innovation study, Trash to Treasure, asking more than 250 kid-innovators (ages 8-13) from across the world to illustrate their answers to this question: “How can technology help us solve our growing trash and pollution problems?”

What did they come up with? Everything from water-powered cars to trash-eating robots, to more grounded solutions like selling unwanted items on eBay.

Trash to Treasure Drawings by Latitude

Through an analysis of kids’ solutions, we uncovered the following key themes:

Latitude - Trash to Treasure - Infographic

Infographic created by Latitude, (cc) some rights reserved.
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Trash to Treasure is one in a series of creative problem-solving studies that Latitude has conducted with children over the past few years. Kids can be excellent innovators, thinking beyond what’s assumed to be practical or possible. They also have a special, more intuitive relationship with technology, and can serve as a window into our technological future.

About the Research

Over the course of 2011-2012, Latitude partnered with schools in the Czech Republic, France, Germany and the United States. Children (n=270), ages 8-13, completed a brief, kid-friendly series of questions covering basic demographics and probing their understanding of waste management, recycling, and other sustainability-related processes and problems. (Questionnaires were administered in the children’s native languages and responses were translated to English.) Next, they were asked to illustrate and describe how technology could help solve our growing trash and pollution problems. Latitude coded these submissions to quantify various themes present in the children’s ideas.

Header image: Pirata Larios, (cc) some rights reserved.