Our New Now programme connects the freshest emerging talent with industry for the mutually valuable sharing of ideas, knowledge and opinions.

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Since YCN's beginnings in 2001, we've been growing a network of 250+ universities, colleges and art & design schools throughout the UK and beyond. And, through our New Now programme, we enable leading brands and agencies to meaningfully connect with thousands of students and recent graduates in purposeful ways.

Such engagement includes:

• Setting live creative, marketing and business challenges.

We run programmes throughout the year to enable brands to get fresh and invigorating creative thinking in relation to all kinds of business challenges. Students and recent graduates are mobilised to work on briefs both as part of their courses, and in self-initiated ways. Partnering in this way provides our partners with lots of new and actionable ideas for content, campaigns, products and services as well as invaluable insights into how future and current customers perceive their brands. Past examples of challenges set include:

Hammerson. What will the shopping centre of the future look like?
Ted Baker. How can we better configure the signage and wayfinding within our stores?
— Childline. Produce illustrations or animations to help 13-18 year olds going through a tough time.
— Peabody. How do we represent community? Create an identity for Peabody’s community spaces.

• Bringing students and graduates into your organisation.

Connect with new talent for internship, apprenticeships and work experience opportunities; or bring smaller groups of students and recent graduates into your organisation for shorter-term assignments. Past partnerships have seen mobile phone brand Orange mobilise engage emerging illustrators for ongoing commissions, insurance company Zurich invite groups of digital design graduates to their headquarters to work alongside a marketing team on innovation briefs and Beck's partner with product design graduates on the bottle design of the future.

• Research and opinion

Our partners engage young minds nationally through the New Now programme to gather their views and opinions on all manner of ideas, campaigns and other questions. We can organise remotely run digital surveys, as well as in person sessions in our spaces that bring curated groups together around your topic or talking point. That could be getting views on the relevance of a new product, service or campaign idea, or empowering groups to capture and share back content among their peer groups. 

dn&co Account Director Zoe Barrett sharing with students as part of a visit to Central Saint Martins College,

From past partners to have set live challenges to student and recent graduates through the New Now programme:

“Firing up emerging creatives to explore your brand with YCN should be a page in every marketers handbook.”
Tea Uglow. Chief Creative Officer, Google Asia Pacific

“Our biggest challenge as both a coffee industry, and a coffee brand within that industry, is to get young people drinking our product. So who better to ask how to get those people into the coffee category, and our brand, than young people themselves!”
Corrine Hopwood. Marketing Director, Douwe Egberts

“Over 200 amazing pieces of work, we were blown away by the ideas and thinking demonstrated.”
Cassandra Stavrou, Co-founder, Propercorn

“The programme keep us abreast of new trends and how our younger customers think.”
Charlotte Raphael. Head of Packaging, M&S

“One of the most inspiring, galvanising and valuable things we’ve ever done as a business.”
Katie Pattison, Head of Marketing, Hammerson

We build capability

We help organisations of all shapes and sizes to become more capable in pursuit of their goals.

To do this we focus on what we believe to be the three key drivers of organisational capability — People, Purpose and Partnerships. Whether through our open learning programmes, or tailored consultancy work; we love bringing together creatively-minded groups to work and learn in modern and motivating ways.

Find out more about what we offer in this PDF, or by contacting YCN Director Nick Defty by email or on +44 (0)20 7033 2140.