Student Perspective: Design Ventura International & Independent Category

Posted by Sophie Cunningham on May 10 2019

Design Ventura, Teacher

Student Molly Meaker tells her experience of working with fellow students from The St Michael Steiner School to create the International and Independent Category winning product ‘The Copper Line’ for Design Ventura 2018.

From left to right: Emily Barnard, Dominic Mugenis Mendonca, Lexie
Skilbeck-Murray, Molly Meaker, Fernando Coxon and Daniel Waring

Having never really studied design before, I was quite excited when Miss Wallace announced that we would be entering a competition called ‘Design Ventura’ hosted by The Design Museum in London. We had around a term to design/invent an educational, eco-friendly and useful product to submit.

The first stage was to split our class into two teams, and once our designs were complete we had to pitch our ideas to the whole of high school and a few teachers. Our audience would then vote on which idea they liked best to decide which team entered the competition.

Coming up with our concept took quite a while. We spent a lot of time looking online and trying to figure out what market we wanted to focus on. After a couple of hours of browsing youtube and random brainstorming we landed on our gem; an experiment which demonstrates the electromagnetic field. Pretty random, but with a bit of creativity and thinking outside of the box we realised that this experiment reminded us of the underground. The experiment comprised of a battery with two magnets on either end travelling around a loop of tightly curled copper wire. If you can’t visualise what I am describing, google it and a video will come up. Beware, as you may find yourself thoroughly hypnotised by a little battery travelling around and around and around…

After realising it reminded us of the underground, we had no trouble on choosing who our target market was. We decided that tourists, families and design enthusiasts would like our idea. Very quickly after that we named our company ‘Mind The Gap’ after the iconic and very catchy announcements on train platforms. After spending another couple of hours chatting about our idea (amongst other things) we moved on to designing our product.

Dominic did a great job of drawing an underground carriage to stick onto the battery, so it would look like a miniature train carriage. Emily spent a good couple of hours on the packaging, making it look like the underground sign. Fernando hit gold on our fantastic product name; The Copperline. We all loved it because it sounds like an actual underground line. Dan did a fantastic job on helping with the product development and creating the prototype, and Lexie did a superb job of sorting out the financial side of the project.

‘The Copper Line’ Prototype

After we pitched ‘The Copperline’ to the high school, our idea was chosen to be put forward to the Design Ventura competition. After a few weeks, we heard back from the judges and turns out we made it into the top three for the International and Independent Category! We were all pretty shook. Our next stage was to create a video pitch, going into more detail about our product. After we sent our video, we were invited to a prize giving at the Design Museum.

On that fateful Friday, the six of us traveled up to London and enjoyed a nice meal at the fantastic restaurant Leon before claiming our prize. We were all super excited and quite nervous for the prize giving. The suspense was intense as they announced the order backwards, from third to first place. Drum role please… We won the category! I remember the pure satisfaction and joy when they announced that we came in first place. After about five hundred photos of us with our certificate (which now sits proudly in the glass case by reception), we had tea and cake. They provided some delicious lemon cake and chocolate brownies!

Overall my experience of being a project manager was both challenging and exciting, and I am so proud of the team. Well done!