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Case Study: Owlstone Nanotech – User-centred design clarified applications and route to market

Owlstone Nanotech was set up to develop products using its unique technology – a chemical detection system on a chip. The detector is revolutionary because it is 100 times smaller and 1,000 times cheaper than previous technology.   The start-up challenge When the company launched in 2004, it faced a challenge familiar to all technology start-ups: how to explain...
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Case Study: Materfad Barcelona launches the first online map of advanced materials for design – the DAMADEI platform

The "Design and Advanced Materials as a Driver of European Innovation" (DAMADEI) project that Materfad is undertaking in collaboration with Happy Materials of Prague and the Danish Design Centre of Copenhagen is now online. Materfad Barcelona, in collaboration with Happy Materials of Prague and the Danish Design Centre of Copenhagen, has launched the website of the DAMADEI...
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Case Study: Innovative Wheelchair Adapts to Children’s Needs as they Grow

Product Design Consultancy Renfrew Group, in partnership with the NHS recently unveiled an innovative modular children’s wheelchair ‘Chair 4 Life’ designed to address the unmet needs of disabled children and young adults.   Chair 4 Life (C4L) is aimed at maximising mobility and independence for disabled children as they grow into adulthood. As children...
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The next generation user interface: adapt or die?

As technology becomes more complex, the burden falls on the user interface (UI) and its designer to intuit user need and adapt to user want. Products such as the Nest thermostat, which learns about your favourite temperature, and the Mercedes-Benz, which automatically unlocks when it detects the keys in your pocket, have cracked the code, but most have not.  With the vast majority...
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Why brand-centric UK firms now need to be UX-centric too

Earlier this year, Econsultancy and User Experience (UX) consultancy, Whatusersdo, publiished an extensive poll on the UX industry today. They found that, although 93% of the companies surveyed agreed that optimising user experience will improve conversions, just 55% are currently conducting any user testing.  The survey also uncovered the fact that, even though the majority of...
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Making big data beautiful

There's no overstating the enormity of the data we have to deal with everyday.   "In 24 hours” , says Rick Smolan, author of The Human Face of Big Data ,” we are deluged with all the information an ancestor of ours from the fifteenth century would have been exposed to in an entire lifetime." And, with the Internet of things just around the corner, it's...
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A fantastic year for design – Designs of the Year awards

How will they decide between the genius of a foldable wheel, self-focusing glasses or the unique architecture of the Shard?  The judges of London’s prestigious design awards are not to be envied when, in April, they’re forced to make a choice. In the meantime, all 99 nominations for the sixth annual Design of the Year Awards are on display at London’s Design Museum....
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A report from the Design Council's 'Responsive State' Design Forum, 26 March 2013

Yesterday, as part of Sharing Experience Europe (SEE) the Design Council hosted a 'Design Forum: Responsive State' breakfast event to explore the contribution design-led innovation can make in public sector innovation to resolve challenges around innovating with fewer resources, providing more personalised public services on a larger scale and delivering greater transparency in...
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The Ellen MacArthur Foundation's Teardown Labs explore some challenges around design sustainability

Thank you to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for submitting these accounts of their Teardown Lab hosted in Tunbridge Wells. Bringing together a mix of design & technology teachers and designers, this was an opportunity for these professionals to discuss design from different sides of the process.     TearDown Labs 2012 – A teacher’s...
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"New designs for a circular economy" – Round 2 of this TSB competition to open on February 11th

  The Technology Strategy Board will shortly be opening the second round of the feasibility studies competition “New designs for a circular economy”.  This competition is intended to help companies work with designers and other partners to radically rethink the design of products, components or systems to generate value by retaining or regenerating materials...
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Design in Action – can design operate as a strategy for sustained economic growth?

This guest post is submitted by Professor Georgina Follett, Deputy Principal Knowledge Exchange in the Creative Arts, University of Dundee/ Director Design in Action: Arts and Humanities Research Council.   Design in Action   The relationship between the research community and its potential for economic benefit has long been a fascination. Aside from the...
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Design in Davos

A guest post, direct from the World Economic Forum in Davos, from Professor Rachel Cooper   Is design in mainstream thinking? Do the CEO’s, Politicians, top academics and thought leaders recognise the value of Design. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, you will find anyone you care to imagine that have influence in the world, from Angela Merkel and David Cameron, to...
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Design Thinking Meets Business Thinking

case study research by Nina Kelly   In an exciting new initiative, the Greenwich Peninsula, home to the O2, to Ravensbourne and to an emerging new business and residential community, is embarking on a collaborative association with one of the world’s leading educational institutions: Cambridge University. Through a series of virtual and physical events and a mentor...
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Designing a people-centred future

In September last year, the Creative Industries KTN co-hosted an event on 'Designing a people-centred future', with the UK Science and Innovation Network. The event, held in Helsinki, addressed a number of different challenges and scenarios, exploring the way in which a people-centred approach to issues such as City-planning can influence future thinking and planning. ...
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Enter Nesta's £50k design challenge: Hands off My Bike!

Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation, is currently running the ‘Hands Off My Bike!’ challenge prize - which calls on people from all over the UK to come up with breakthrough innovations to make it more difficult to steal bikes and have the potential to increase numbers of people cycling in the UK. The winning innovation will be the one that requires the longest...
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Case Study: Design and Digital

The Good Night Lamp : a family of interconnected lamps that allow you to communicate remotely with, and feel closer to, loved ones who are far away.   The Goodnight Lamp recreates a small part of the experience of living on the same street, helping you to feel closer to your relatives and friends who are further afield. A series of smaller lamps, designed to look like...
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Case Study: The Design Option

The concept of a Design Option was introduced into selected R&D projects in 2011. Among these was the Sepsis 1 programme - a £5m collaborative R&D competition which sought to develop point-of-care diagnostic tools to assist clinicians and health workers in the management of sepsis. Another programme was the Stratified Medicine SBRI call, where £7.5m is on offer for ...
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Design Freedoms in Additive Manufacturing Competition

The Technology Strategy Board has recently launched a £7m Competition to fund collaborative R&D projects which make innovative use of 3-D Printing processes. As a well-established tool for rapid prototyping and tooling, 3-D Printing is also capable of enabling new approaches to the design, manufacture and distribution of end-use components and consumer goods in a wide...
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Case Study: Independence Matters

Older adults represent a huge untapped market and commercial opportunity. This project aimed to highlight that opportunity, while showing how design could contribute towards the development of new applications and services. Independence Matters was a collaboration between the Design Council and the Technology Strategy Board’s Assisted Living Innovation Platform. The...
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Good policy by design

By Dr Benjamin Reid Europe has a thriving design industry with an annual turnover of more than €36bn, and the EU has a long track record of developing and promoting innovation policies. But it’s only relatively recently that they’ve started to consider these elements together: the role of design in innovation policy and the connections between the EU’s design...
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People-centred design and the IoT: 10 Key Questions

by Rachel Jones. This article originally appeared on the IoT SIG site in May 2012.     The IoT SIG recently ran a thought leadership event on the theme of 'People-centred design and the Internet of Things'.   The group identified ten key questions for the future of IoT which were explored and developed through the course of the day. ...
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Case Study: Titan Enterprises

Dorset-based technology firm, Titan Enterprises, had spent almost ten years developing a revolutionary ultrasound meter for measuring the flow of various liquids. But Titan lacked the product design and branding expertise to ensure the technology fulfilled its commercial potential. Referred to the Design Council’s Designing Demand programme by Business Link, Titan was...
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Case Study: The Great Recovery

The Great Recovery is a new initiative developed as a partnership between the RSA and the Technology Strategy Board. The Great Recovery will use innovation to address the challenge of designing products which can be more easily recycled. It works on the notion that the current linear model of ‘take-make-dispose’ is throwing up major economic and environmental...
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The GreenHack Challenge - connecting students with businesses, designers & academics

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Designing Smart Cities in 2013

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Case Study Film: Design in Innovation

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