Nesta’s innovation predictions for 2018

’10 trends, tech breakthroughs and social movements for the year ahead’

Innovation foundation Nesta have made some predictions for the coming year in terms of tech breakthroughs and social movements.  Predictions include drones delivering public benefit, Artificial Intelligence creating prize winning art, the internet going green, tech giants racing to buy a healthcare provider and the increased use of complex simulation methods to experiment with new ideas.

You can read the full article on Nesta’s website.

Designing a Future Economy

Research from the Design Council on the role and value of design skills

The Design Council have published the executive summary for Designing a Future Economy – a report looking at the role and value of design skills to the UK economy. The research looks at the skills used in design, the link between these skills and productivity and innovation, and future demand for skills.

The results portray the high value of design to the UK economy – with design skills adding over £209 billion in GVA. The research also found that people using design skills are 47% more productive than the average UK worker.

However, the research also found evidence of an emerging skills gap. With a decline in the numbers of students choosing Design related subjects at school, the report also outlines some suggestions on what could be done to reverse the decline; ideas include incorporating design into STEM subjects and improving support for design skills within career-long learning.

The full research report will be available in January 2018, but for now, the executive summary can be accessed through the Design Council’s website: Designing a Future Economy

 

 

Learning to create more a-ha! moments in learning

How do you learn? I learn through doing; a-ha..! Knowledge applied through reflection of a real life experience.

Those ‘A-ha!’ learning moments come for me, more often than not, when I’m doing or trying something out; experimenting for myself or more crucially doing it with others.

I spoke to a university graduate and a current postgraduate student recently and they expressed a similar view. They described learning as not knowledge being poured in but in the application of new knowledge; both expressed a desire for more opportunities for active learning in the classroom, for discussion and collaboration across disciplines to share ideas and perspectives. ‘I want to know what I can do with this knowledge; my knowledge out in the world.’

We see that magical ‘aha’ moment a lot when students bring a problem or an idea to work through together in the Ideas Labs we run weekly in the Learning Zone during term time.

Working on your own idea is a motivated process of being willing to challenge your dearest held assumptions, experimenting to apply knowledge you have or new knowledge you have found, joining the dots to make sense of what’s needed to move forward and validate an idea as an opportunity. It’s about the search for desirability, feasibility and viability of a solution users want, need and will pay for; even just paying with their time; whether it’s a project, a social enterprise or a business venture of some kind.

The Teaching and Learning Studio at Stanford University is a place where educators from all disciplines experiment with new ways of engaging students using design thinking and experiential learning to solve wicked problems. The studio supports educators to develop strategies that help students develop skills and mindsets for the 21st century and I was very fortunate to be an awardee of the EEUK Richard Beresford bursary, a personal development fund for educators, which part funded a trip to the studio for the learning trip of a lifetime.

Fresh from d.School inspiration, I’m grateful for a whole new network of international colleagues to exchange ideas on shaping learning using human centred design that puts the student at the centre of the experience.  So forward thinking are they at Stanford d.School, that it’s an annual thing for educators to pitch their major and minor courses to students on d.School’s ’Pitch Night’…

I want to learn to facilitate more of those ‘A-ha!’ learning moments for students who come to the Enterprise Team’s Ideas Labs sessions. It’s about creating the environment for students to ‘try on’ mindsets and behaviours; practice being curious, resourceful, imaginative, questioning norms and assumptions, observing, ideating, making connections and big leaps to confidently create new solutions; seeing failure along the way as as the stepping stone to the next experiment…and that’s a tough one for us all to ‘try on’ in our practice.

It’s about the quest to develop all students as creative problem solvers;  ‘innovators’  in every discipline. This skill, rooted in creativity is needed in every shape and size of organisation to remain competitive and for employees, leaders and entrepreneurs to continue to find ways to create new value.

So what is Design Thinking and how does it relate to designing learning and facilitating learning experiences and how an it be used as a pedagogical tool?

Design thinking is a mindset. It is optimistic, collaborative, human centred and creative and it’s experimental. It’s the confidence that everyone can be part of creating a more desirable future, and the design process empowers people to take action when faced with a difficult challenge. That kind of optimism is well needed in education and in students heading out into a challenged global environment.

Image result for design thinking

Design thinking is a team sport and through small design challenges we and our learners can learn the attitudes and mindsets to collaborate and create, experimenting by framing a learning through design challenge, unpacking assumptions about the challenge or problem, exploring the problem space with users, defining a point of view about the challenge.

Through optimistic and energised ideation a design team can  learn to ‘turn off’ the evaluator mindset and generate ideas through divergent thinking; brainstorming, building on one another’s ideas, generating lots of ideas to create great ideas, and learning that sometimes seemingly wild ideas are the spark to something better; out of the box possibilities; solutions to wicked problems. Ideas are selected for development through voting and the design team builds to learn through improv and role play to imagine possibilities before building simple, fail fast mockups and prototypes to share with users for feedback. What works, what doesn’t..? Return to prototype… return to test… iterate…until ‘Ahah! We did it! Our solution has cracked the problem; what a feeling… ‘like something inside me changed.’

Image result for design thinking for educators

The Design Thinking Toolkit for Educators contains the process and methods of design. Developed by the global design company Ideo, (Founded by David Kelley who also founded Stanford’s d.School). The toolkit offers new ways to be intentional and collaborative when designing educational experiences, and empowers educators to create  impactful student centred learning solutions, but also to integrate design thinking into problem based learning as a creative problem solving process. The process empowers students to get creative, starting by solving simple human centred challenges to prepare them for tackling seemingly insoluble challenges.

‘Educators from across the world are facing design challenges every single day, from feedback systems to daily schedules. Wherever they fall on the spectrum of scale – the challenges educators are confronted with are real, complex, and varied. And as such, they require new perspectives, new tools, and new approaches. Design Thinking is one of them.’ Ideo.com

What was woefully missing in my education, and my daughter’s after me, were those serendipidous ‘A-ha’ moments in learning, and it’s this creative, human agency, I now believe that is at the heart of our work as educators. We have a short window of opportunity to intentionally develop learners as creative problem solvers, innovators and value creators beyond their discipline; skills for living and for lifelong learning.

‘Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.’

Benjamin Franklin

My thanks to Enterprise Educators UK for part funding this learning experience with the Richard Beresford Bursary. More details on how to apply here.

Resources:

Teaching innovators can download Design Thinking for Educators here.

A Canvas to design learning here

Sir Ken Robinson’s ‘Whats the point of creativity at University’ here.

Disruptive Innovation Festival 2017

Online, open access event that asks the question: what if we could redesign everything?

Accessing the Disruptive Innovation Festival is simple as it is all online and free! The festival will involve 200 hours of content streamed throughout it’s three week duration, including live studio discussions, animations, pre-recorded videos and roundtable debates with leading thinkers. Whilst watching you can chip in with your your own thoughts or questions.

When? It’s already kicked off – 6th-24th November

Find out more on the thinkdif.co

What’s new for 17-18?

If you’ve engaged in Enterprise & Innovation support through us previously, you are probably wondering what’s happened to the Wednesday IdeasLab and Thursday StartupLab sessions.

We found that so many people were bringing new ideas, having just a couple of fixed-time drop-in sessions per week wasn’t giving everyone enough time and space to get the attention they needed

So, this year we’re opening up more slots and letting you call the shots on when they should happen.  We’re still calling them Labs, but there are now lots of different Lab types to choose from.

How does it work?

The idea is simple – we’ll help you put together a personalised development programme and you work through it at your own pace. Whenever you’re ready to work on something new, you book a Lab session and we’ll supply the space, the know-how, the resources, and, where appropriate, bring in like-minded collaborators.

To make this work though, there are a couple of other things that have changed.

  • Firstly, before you start ‘dropping in’, we’ll ask you to register or re-register by completing a short Registration Form so we can get you into the system.
  • Secondly, we’ll book you in for a 1-2-1 chat (called an IntroLab) so we can find out more about you, what you are trying to achieve and what you are looking for right now.
  • Thirdly, we’ll get you underway so you can start putting together your bespoke development programme from our new menu of different Lab types. Regardless of what you are working on or where you are up to, there’ll be something for you.

To get started right away, please complete the Registration Form.

To find out more about Labs, please visit this page.

‘Embrace Failure’ – James Dyson

Sir James Dyson discusses prototyping, failure and patents

In a recent interview on Radio 2’s breakfast show, British inventor Sir James Dyson talks about why he sees failure as something exciting which should be embraced. He also answers questions on whether he’s ever invented something in a dream, how many patents they hold and whether he uses his own hairdryers…

It a great, short interview – well worth a listen on the Radio Two website. 

Innovative clothes that grow with your baby…

Example of design focused innovation

Buying new clothes every few months for a growing child can be costly and resource consuming. This is why engineer Ryan Yasin, 24 has come up with new children’s clothing range, ‘Petit Pli.’ Petit Pli clothes are made from an inventive new material inspired by solar panels and satellites. The material grows along with the child – so one garment can be seven sizes in one!

Petit Pli was the result of over 500 prototypes and now Yasin’s efforts have been recognised through becoming the UK winner of the James Dyson Award! But he is not stopping there, him and the team are currently working towards trying to make a garment out of a single material, allowing for it to be recycled more easily!

Read more about Ryan Yasin and his innovative design on the Wired website. 

 

 

Paid Internships with Nesta Innovation Foundation

Recent graduate interested in working for an innovative organisation?

Nesta are an innovation foundation, their mission is to ‘seek out, spark and shape powerful new ideas, joining with others to take on the big challenges of our time and shift how the world works for everyone.’ They are currently advertising 12 six month internships, within a variety of areas across the organisation including, government innovation, International innovation, Health and Design. All internships at to be paid at London Living Wage.

Maybe you’re a graduate looking to take your next steps? Why not take a look to see if something catches your eye? The full list can be found on the Nesta website.

Applications close at 10am on Tuesday the 29th of August 2017.

 

£50,000 Inventor Prize

Got an idea for a product that could improve people’s lives?

Calling all inventors, entrepreneurs, shed-tinkerers, DIYers or life-hackers – if you have an idea for a product which could help improve people’s lives, the Inventor Prize could be for you!

Nesta are launching the prize in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The prize aims to inspire and harness the potential of the UK’s home-grown inventors and stimulate user-led innovation. The prize will support individuals and small organisations to take their innovative products from idea to market.

The deadline for applications is the 22nd of October 2017.  In November, a panel of judges will select 10 finalists to receive £5,000 as well as bespoke mentoring to develop their product. Then the overall winner will be announced in September next year, winning £50,000 to make their dream a reality.

To find out more and enter the competition visit the Inventor Prize website.

Electric cars will be soon charging while driving!

Wired-up roads are the future, mostly due to Tesla Motors, who triggered the interest in electric cars that this generation feels.

Nikola Tesla, a genius will be not only please but also excited as his enthusiasm towards electrical vehicles has triggerred the interest of many. The wireless transmission of power is the future and is now turning into a reality. From a electric cars mat when you were a child to wiring the most popular roads in Britain, electric cars are certainly on the uprise.

These electric cars are in more demand than ever due to their low local emissions, but they are also known for their expensive prices and not having a long enough driving range. So imagine if you could charge them without a plug in cable, or even while moving.

Technology is advancing at a faster rate than ever with electric tooth brushes and smart phones being charged by being placed on top of a pad. Thanks to this technology, some electric cars are able to be charged by parking on top of charging pads, so that advancement of wire-up roads are closer than ever before! Recent studies show these roads with wireless charging coils are not expensive as you think and that the biggest part of the cost is the construction work itself.

Read our official report here.