The pursuit of happiness

opinion July 13, 2014 00:00

By Asina Pornwasin
The Sunday Na

4,044 Viewed

Cubic Creative co-founder Nutch Poovorawan explains why he dropped out of university to teach the new generation the life skills they need for a happy life

If there’s one goal everyone has in life it’s to be happy. But happiness isn’t a state of mind that we can take for granted. Sometimes, we have to learn how to be happy and that’s where Cubic Creative, a 10-year-old social enterprise, comes in.
The brainchild of Nutch Poovorawan, 28, Cubic Creative runs professional youth camps that set out to teach young people how to find their own strengths and acquire the life skills they will need for a happy life. 
When Nutch started out at the age of 18, Cubic Creative was still the brand name of an activity run by Kasetsart University Laboratory School Centre (KUS Academy Club). 
His first initiative was to offer tutoring in computer subjects to prepare younger students for their participation in the International Olympic Academy summer camps that he himself had attended for several years.
“My efforts at tutoring taught me I could create and run my own activity,” he recalls.
Confident at his success, he decided to expand the range of subjects, recruiting from amongst the student body to provide tutoring to the young. The team dreamed of extending its services to include science exhibitions and camps but quickly realised that it was over-reaching and amended the scope of activities to cover tutoring in life skills.
“Kids are not taught life skills, problem solving and creativity at school so it made sense to us to focus on these three components rather than on academic subjects,” he explains.
With the camp’s objectives undergoing such a change, the activity format also took on a new shape with the senior students training their juniors to develop their thinking process to solve problems. 
 “That’s been Cubic Creative’s concept ever since,” Nutch says.
 Buoyed by the success of the first camp, Nutch and his team decided to scale up the project, developing the fee-paying tutoring scheme into a more structured commercial training project and entering their plan for Krungthai Yuwavanich’s business plan competition.
Not only did they pick up top prize in the service category but they also gained a great deal of valuable experience is designing a business plan. They also took over the brand Cubic Creative and continued under the KUS Academy Club umbrella for another two years before standing on their own feet and running it as a private social enterprise business.
With good feedback coming in from participants and their families, Nutch decided to drop out of university and devote all his time and efforts to teaching life skills to young people and setting them on the path to happiness. 
“I believed I was doing the right thing,” he says. “And I was lucky that my parents respected my decision and supported me in my new career.”
The youngest child of Yuen Poovorawan, a former associate professor at Kasetsart’s Department of Computer Engineering and vice president of Information Technology, Nutch considers himself fortunate to have grown up in a happy and easygoing atmosphere that constantly encouraged learning. 
The concept of any social enterprise, he explains, is the application of commercial strategies to maximise improvements in human and environmental wellbeing, as opposed to maximising profits for external shareholders. Thus Cubic Creative strives to teach youth to learn how to live happily rather than focus purely on success.
 “Success can lead to both happiness and unhappiness. Our aim is to ensure people have a happy life whether they are successful or not. Happiness is the most important state of mind for any human being. And to be happy, they need to have life skills like problem solving, and creativity. These kinds of skills need to be taught. At Cubic Creative, we integrate these core values into all our activities,” he says.
 Cubic Creative’s three main activities are the Cubic Creative Camp, the Cubic Innovator Camp, and the Inner Camp. It also runs several schemes including the Cubic Guidance Programme, the Cubic Staff Programme, the Cubic Universal Programme, and the Cubic Scholarship Programme.
The Creative Camp is a diverse education camp for children and draws some 60 to 100 students every year. The Innovator Camp offers computer programming training for 20 to 30 students per class while the Inner Camp is a contemplative education course and has just 12 student per class. 
The company recently expanded the scope of its camps to include international school’s students and is all set to launch the new ‘Cubic Creative Camp 10i’ that will run from July 20 to 24 at Sirindhorn Science Home. The camp’s main activities are the same as for Creative Camp 10 but conducted in English. It is designed for 40 international students from grades 4 to 8.
“Our mission is to ensure society benefits from our services while also keeping our services sustainable. We balance these two things,” Nutch says, adding that he intends to run Cubic Creative until such time as it can run itself or until it collapses. 
“Happiness for me is doing what I love and also make a living from it,” he grins.
Nutch has never regretted dropping out of university and stresses how grateful he is even today for the support of his family.
“Parents should respect what their children are and what they choose to do and accept that their own expectations may not come to fruition. Likewise, children should believe in what they would like to do and be. They should not use others’ values to judge themselves. My advice to everybody is never to let society determine what we are or should be. Unless we make those decisions by ourselves, we can never be happy,” he says.