Born to Be: the Deutsche Bank youth engagement programme

The “change maker” generation

Young people are by no means only focused on their own future – they are also concerned about our society and the environment. Climate activist Greta Thunberg, girls’ rights campaigner Malala Yousafzai and the students taking part in the Fridays for Future demos – they’re all campaigning, making others sit up and listen, searching for far-sighted solutions. Young people want to make a difference, but often don’t know how to. That’s where Baut Eure Zukunft (Build Your Future) comes in. The project encourages 8th to 10th graders in Germany to join forces and tackle pressing social problems and issues that they personally encounter.

Deutsche Bank – Born to Be - Build Your Future

“Today, schools have to provide young people with an education that enables them to tackle complex social and ecological challenges. Besides acquiring knowledge and skills, these young “change makers” need to learn how to develop creative and efficient solutions in teams. Innovative projects such as Build Your Future provide important and beneficial support for educators.”

Margret Rasfeld, author of “Schule im Aufbruch” and reform educator


Over 2,600 downloads of the Build Your Future toolboxes

A lesson with a difference

Build Your Future is reliant on design thinking techniques and teamwork. Seven digital theme toolboxes are currently available as online educational resources. While working on their projects participants learn key skills. They experience working both in a team as well as independently, they learn empathy and they grow in self-confidence. Regional Build Your Future camps with design thinking experts provide students with additional support. “It was totally different to the standard classroom setting – it was really varied,” said Chantal at the end of one day at a camp. Teachers are often amazed when they see how focused, independent and keen their students are to work on their ideas using the newly learned techniques.

Young people can enter their project ideas in the nationwide BautEureZukunft@challenge contest. Entries can take a number of forms: presentations, photo stories, three-dimensional models, posters or video clips. The six teams with the most convincing proposals are then invited to the two-day long final at the bank’s Quartier Zukunft in Berlin, where they compete head to head.
In June 2019 the challenge’s motto was: “Living democracy: How can students play an active part in shaping society and make their voice heard?” and its template was the new “democracy” toolbox supplied by the German Federal Ministry for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.

The finalists delivered coherent proposals to the members of the jury, who included Norbert Kunz, managing director of Social Impact: “We are delighted at the dedication and enthusiasm the teams displayed while working on their project ideas. The second year of this challenge has shown us how perfectly suited design thinking techniques are to develop far-sighted solutions to complex questions.”

Deutsche Bank – Born to Be - Build Your Future
Deutsche Bank – Born to Be - Build Your Future
Deutsche Bank – Born to Be - Build Your Future
Deutsche Bank – Born to Be - Build Your Future
Deutsche Bank – Born to Be - Build Your Future

All opinions welcome

The winning project this year was the “Young and political” YouTube channel students from the Peter-Lenné school in Berlin proposed. They plan to use the video platform to present political issues to their peers using a variety of appealing formats such as quiz shows, challenges and talk shows.

The second-placed team was a group from the Carlo Schmid School in Mannheim, which developed its “I want a future” app to motivate others to attend school. Younes was one of the team and said, “I’ve never experienced anything like this before. I met so many new people and surprised myself at how open-minded I could be.” Headmaster Marco von Grzegorzewski was also pleased at the success of his pupils: “This was a very special opportunity for the children to show just how much thought they give to shaping their own futures and they also showed us the kind of social support facilities they would like to be available.”

Build Your Future is the springboard for many forward-thinking project ideas. The next step is to make the plans of the next generation a reality.

Build Your Future is a joint initiative established by Social Impact, Deutsche Bank Foundation and Deutsche Bank. In 2019 the project won the golden Stevie Award as “CSR Programme of the Year”.


8-grader, Evangelische Schule Berlin

Deutsche Bank – Born to Be - Build Your Future

A total of 102 projects have been submitted to the nationwide BuildYourFuture@Challenge contest

More information about Build Your Future (only in German):

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