Questioning Innovation with Jon Ord, episode 15

The guest this time is Jon Ord, Professor at the University of St Mark & St John, Plymouth, UK, and we had the chance to talk with him during the KA2 Now Conference in Berlin, where he gave the closing speech on “Challenges for Innovation in Youth Work.

He mentions during our conversation that some of the youth work that is still being done today is keeping the youngsters out of the streets, and keeping them busy, but times have changed and youth work must adapt.

We talked also about the cultural differences concerning youth work, and one of the examples mentioned was that in Italy youngsters have between 18 and 34 years old, but in the UK the average age of youngsters in youth centres is 13 and a half, something that makes a big difference in the subjects that they are interested in and how the youth workers have to adress them.

Jon Ord has a critical point of view about what really means to innovate in youth work, he mentions that innovation is a complex and multidimensional concept, and also, as we discussed is very much contextual, something that might be innovative in France might not be in Spain, and vice versa.

The definition of innovation is very much tied to business, to products and services, but youth work has to find a better definition to suit its needs.


Study part of a KA2 project that is mentioned in the podcast.

Jon’s book “Youth Work Process, Product and Practice : Creating an authentic curriculum in work with young people”.


Listen here (windows)

Listen here (iTunes)