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  • Design Ventura 2020 Celebration Event

    On Friday 11 July 2021 the Design Ventura team welcomed the top seven shortlisted schools to the Design Museum for a day of celebration.

    The event was kicked off by Fiona MacDonald, Head of Learning at the Design Museum, who was followed by Tim Marlow, CEO and Director of the Design Museum and Christoph Woermann, Chief Marketing Officer at Deutsche Bank.

    To begin the celebrations schools enjoyed a talk about the Design Museum’s exhibition Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street by Rachel Hajek, Assistant Curator at the museum, followed by visiting the exhibition.

    Sneakers Unboxed Curator Talk by Rachel Hajek
    Students enjoying the Sneakers Unboxed exhibition

    In the afternoon students enjoyed lunch followed by the award announcements! The award ceremony was live streamed so friends and family could watch at home. The highlights can be watched here: Winners Announcements

    The Awards

    Fiona MacDonald began by announcing the top Design Ventura Online Mini Challenge winners, a online challenge for year 7 & 8’s rolled out during the pandemic with over 3,000 entries. The shortlist was:

    Betsy – Davison High School
    Ivy – The Nottingham Emmanuel School
    Emma – Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School
    Tom – Liverpool College
    Lara – Walthamstow School for Girls
    Aoife – Didcot Girls’ School.

    Lareena Hilton, Global Head of Brand Communications and CSR at Deutsche Bank announced Liam Anderson from Trinity School as the Teacher of the Year award. Judges then took it in turn to announce the Design Ventura awards:

    Outstanding Finalist: The Burgess Hill Academy with ‘Play Cube’
    Commendation for Good Design Process: County Upper School with ‘Safari Matchimals’
    Commendation for Entrepreneurship: Ferndown Upper School with ‘Build & Play’
    Commendation for Most Market Ready Product: Trinity School with ‘Magic Leaf’
    Third Place runner up: Davison High School for Girls with ‘Positivitree’
    Second Place runner up: Parkside Community College with ‘The Shoe Button’

    Brief Setter Yinka Ilori announced the winning team Heckmondwike Grammar School with ‘Sow Beautiful’, a flower seed canon used to grow flowers and create a source of pollen for bees. You can watch their pitch video here.

    The winning team from Heckmondwike Grammar School with Yinka Ilori

    Following the award ceremony, the Design Ventura Exhibition was unveiled including all the student made prototypes. This year the display included the top winning designs from the online mini challenge and the Design Ventura 2019 past winning product Creative [Un]blocks by Twynham School. The exhibition will run from 12 June – 22 August 2021. You can book free tickets to see the exhibition here.

    Schools visiting the Design Ventura Exhibition
    The winning team with their prototype of ‘Sow Beautiful’

    Following the event, a number of the school groups were interviewed for press, you can read some student insights into their products on PBS News Hour and you can see the winning team talking about Sow Beautiful on Leeds Local TV.

    Thank you to all the schools, judges and guests for attending for this very special event celebrating the achievements of the Design Ventura 2020 finalists!

    All photos ©Richard Heald Photography/Design Museum

  • Design Ventura 2017 winning team featured in the Schools Week

    Design Vetura 2017 winning team from Weatherhead High School was featured in the Schools Week. You can read the full article here.


  • Design Ventura in the Weston Mercury news

    The Weston Mercury news dedicated an article about one of the top ten products shortlisted in this year’s Design Ventura project. You can read the full article here.

  • Design Ventura in the Academy Today news

    An article about the Design Ventura project and one of the top ten schools (Hans Price Academy) was published in the Academy Today news. Read the full article here.

  • Design Ventura in the Bath Echo News

    A great article was recently published at Bath Echo about the Design Ventura Project which featured one of the top 10 shortlisted schools, Beechen Cliff in Bath. You can read the full article here.


  • Design Ventura in the London Live

    You might have noticed that the Design Ventura was featured in the London Live back in October. If you missed it, you will have a chance to see the London Live piece below. It is full of great insides about the project.

    Here are a few words that we would like to highlight:

    …about this year’s briefing in the words of Anna Bullus whose work is the inspiration for this year’s brief setter: “We are looking at everyday problems people have and how you can design simple solutions.”

    …about why we do the Design Ventura project in the words of Catherine Ritman Smith, Head of Learning at the Design Museum: “We want to inspire and show young people by their own actions how great they are and what potential they have.”


  • Meet the 2017 Design Ventura brief setter

    Anna Bullus of Gumdrop Ltd and my gumboots, is this year’s brief setter.

    Anna left School to do a foundation course at Camberwell College of Art where she specialised in Three Dimensional Design and graduated with a Distinction. She went on to study Three Dimensional Design at the University of Brighton where her idea for the Gumdrop was first born. During her degree Anna specialised in plastics and material experimentation, which led to her developing an interest in recycling.

    One day when walking home from University, Anna decided to pick up every piece of litter she could find, take it home and Google each piece to find out what happened to it once it became waste, and if there were other uses for each material. Inside an empty crisp packet was a lonely piece of chewing gum that soon became the brainchild for her Gumdrops.  When Anna Googled ‘chewing gum’, to look at who was recycling it and what it was made from, she could not find anyone or anything that re-used chewing gum. She quickly realised that chewing gum was everywhere, and was a major litter problem that was going unnoticed, and with that Anna decided to give gum a second life.

    Anna found herself in her final year at Brighton in a Chemistry lab experimenting with different materials, temperatures, resins, you name it she tested it. After hundreds of experiments she came up with a mouldable material which could be used to manufacture a bin which would collect chewing gum and subsequently be recycled to make new bins, the Gumdrop bin was born. Anna breathed a huge sigh of relief knowing that she at last, had a product to use for her final year project, but little did she know this was going to become her career.

    After leaving University with a First Class Honours Degree, Anna gained experience as a Product Designer with Hulger, and Case Furniture as a Junior Product Developer in London. At the same time Anna was showcasing her ‘gumdrop bin’ project worldwide, this generated a huge amount of demand so much so that Anna decided to leave Case Furniture to set up her own company, to tackle the global problem of chewing gum waste.

    Anna needed to develop her material into a product that was commercially viable, so she approached the Polymers Department at the London Metropolitan University. Here, she spent three years developing her material from recycled chewing gum, now known as Gum-tec. Gum-tec can be used in existing manufacturing processes such as injection and blow moulding.

    With her material ready and a new Gumdrop bin designed and produced, Anna launched the Gumdrops in 2010 with Legoland being one of the first sites to take them on. The Gumdrops have now travelled far and wide across the UK. Gumdrop Ltd has attracted some fantastic companies like BAA, Royal Mail, Amey, ISS, Westfield Shopping Centres and Wrigley’s. The Gumdrop Bins are proving to be a great success and reduced gum litter by up to 46% in the first 12 weeks of use.

    It is not just the Gumdrop bin that has developed and grown. Gum-tec is now being used to make other products such as Gum-tec Gumboots, dog bowls, rulers, frisbees and sports cones. This range of products is set to expand and grow in the future.

    Anna has gone on to be nominated and win many awards for her innovative ideas, including being nominated in 2010 by the Financial Times for a place in the ‘Top 50 Women in World Business Ranking,’ in the same year she was also placed in Management Today’s ’35 Women Under 35 to Change the Future’.  In 2011 she was selected as one of Kevin McCloud’s ‘Grand Designs Green Heroes’, and also selected as one of the ‘Top 20 Young Entrepreneurs’ by Start Your Own Business Magazine. In 2012 she won Tomorrow’s ‘Best Cleaning Product,’ was given a  ‘Homes & Gardens Eco Designer of the Year Award,’ and was also placed in Wired Magazine’s ‘Europe’s 100 Hottest Startups 2012.’

    Anna aims to deliver innovation on a global scale and continues to pursue her goals by educating and inspiring the public to reduce chewing gum waste.

    The future’s green with a drop of pink.

  • Volunteering for Design Ventura

    Hello, I’m Peta Miller, a dedicated graphic designer, working at Nash Design. I studied at Ravensbourne & Middlesex, and immediately after graduating I travelled to Australia to start work for a big group in Perth, called Hulme Dickson Springham. This is where I acquired valuable commercial experience before returning to the UK and joining Nash Design (then called John Nash & Friends). I have the pleasure of working with many super premium global brands, and I am devoted to turning great ideas into powerful design communication.

    I have been volunteering for Design Ventura since it was launched in 2010 and thoroughly enjoy being part of such an inspirational project run by a team of really committed people.

    After each workshop, you leave feeling completely enthused. It really is great fun helping the students develop their ideas. The teachers have told me that the students really appreciate having ‘real’ designers to show their ideas to and get feedback. One boy in the winning team the year before last, was so motivated by the competition and full of ideas, I’m sure he’ll end up being the next Steve Jobs! I spoke to his parents at the award ceremony and they couldn’t believe the transformation in his character since taking part in the competition, they said he now points out to them objects that could be improved through design wherever they go!

    I would highly recommend fellow designers, of all disciplines, getting involved, the amount of time you put in is totally up to you, and you get the satisfaction of knowing that you might have helped inspire future generations of designers.

    Register to become a Design Ventura expert

    See what Paul Jenkins from Triple Double has to say about volunteering for Design Ventura.

  • Design Ventura shortlisted for Enterprising Britain Awards

    Design Ventura have made the shortlist for Enterprising Britain Awards 2017.

    Watch out for further news!

  • Design Ventura Judging Panel 2016

    “This year’s Design Ventura Pitch day is on Monday 12 December. This is when our top 10 shortlisted school teams will come to the Design Museum to present their product ideas to our judging panel of design experts.

    This year our judges are:

    Alice is Director of the Design Museum. As well as developing audiences, exhibitions and programming over the last eight years, Alice has led the museum’s project to transform the former Commonwealth Institute into the new home for the Design Museum.

    Alice began her career in banking in New York and her experience in the UK spans work in the public and private sector, in large, multi-site national museums as well as independent museums.

    Asif Khan’s London-based architecture practice was founded in 2007. Works range from cultural buildings and masterplans to houses, temporary pavilions, exhibitions, installations and products.

    Asif was a Designer in Residence in 2010 at the Design Museum and was awarded Designer of the Future at Design and has been a Design Museum trustee since 2015.

    Chris is Director of Capital Markets & Treasury Solutions at Deutsche Bank and has supported the project since the first year of Design Ventura, including being on our first judging panel 5 years ago.

    Chris’s involvement is part of the Born to Be, Deutsche Bank’s youth engagement programme.

    Michael Skapinker is an FT associate editor. His column on Business and Society appears on Thursdays. Born in South Africa, he began his journalistic career in Greece and joined the FT in London in 1986. He received the Work Foundation Members’ Award for his contribution to the understanding of working life in 2003.

    Sebastian studied Industrial Design Engineering at Central St. Martins, where he gave the Sex Pistols their first booking and designed the record sleeves and posters for The Clash. After working at corporate identity consultancy Wolff Olins and leading hard-goods development at Mothercare, he founded Sebastian Conran Associates design studio in 1986, which he continues to lead.

    Sebastian has taught furniture design at the Royal College of Art, lectures frequently and judges many international design awards.”

  • Celebrating Design Ventura 2016

    “This year’s Design Ventura Celebration Event took place on 15 February 2017. The event, held in the new Design Museum in Kensington, brought together Design Ventura 2016’s shortlisted school teams, their teachers, family and friends, Deutsche Bank employees, Design Industry Experts, the Design Museum team and special VIP guests to celebrate the success of Design Ventura 2016.

    The event was a chance for school teams to discuss and explain their Design Ventura products with the other guests. Students took full advantage of this opportunity – acting as spokespeople for their products and ambassadors for their schools.



    The event also saw the unveiling of the exhibition of Design Ventura prototypes, showing students’ work on the 1st Floor balcony, in a display designed by Alphabetical. Our shortlisted teams this year had made their way to the top ten teams out of over 10,000 students who took part, so putting their prototypes into a professional exhibition space was a fitting tribute to their hard work.

    Last Year’s Design Ventura winners Finchley Catholic High School came to the event to present a cheque of £1,570.48 from the proceeds of their Design Ventura product, Dazzle Racer, to their chosen charity, Great Ormond Street Hospital.

    The final, and most anticipated, element of the Celebration Event was the announcement of the Design Ventura 2016 awards.

    Presented by judges Naomi Cleaver, Sebastian Conran, Chris Ruse, Christoph Woermann and Michael Skapinker, prizes were awarded to the top ten schools: Dame Alice Owens School, Invicta Grammar & St Marylebone School snapped up the Outstanding Finalist titles; Woking High School received a commendation for championing change; Alexandra Park School received a commendation for communication; St Olaves Grammar School received a commendation for good design; Chancellor’s School received a commendation for innovation; Endon High School came in at third place; Reepham High took the second place prize; and Harrogate Grammar were our much deserved Design Ventura 2016 overall winners, with their product, Aqua Hook.The final, and most anticipated, element of the Celebration Event was the announcement of the Design Ventura 2016 awards.

    Presented by judges Naomi Cleaver, Sebastian Conran, Chris Ruse, Christoph Woermann and Michael Skapinker, prizes were awarded to the top ten schools: Dame Alice Owens School, Invicta Grammar & St Marylebone School snapped up the Outstanding Finalist titles; Woking High School received a commendation for championing change; Alexandra Park School received a commendation for communication; St Olaves Grammar School received a commendation for good design; Chancellor’s School received a commendation for innovation; Endon High School came in at third place; Reepham High took the second place prize; and Harrogate Grammar were our much deserved Design Ventura 2016 overall winners, with their product, Aqua Hook.

    Teacher of the year prize was awarded to Laura Pearl of Alexandra Park School.

    The Celebration Event was a great opportunity to all those who were involved in Design Ventura 2016 to celebrate all their hard work and the fantastic products developed by our 2016 shortlist teams and Design Ventura prize winners.”

  • Design Ventura Pitching Day 2016

    The Ventura Team were very impressed on Monday when our top ten schools came in to pitch their products to our panel of judges. Everyone looked smart and had sent in their presentations before the day, so there was time for all the teams to have a short run-through of their pitches and to get some feedback from our volunteers.

    The judges; Alice Black, Asif Khan, Chris Ruse, Michael Skapinker and Sebastian Conran had a tough job choosing which teams to award prizes to, but they have reached a decision and all the prize winners will be revealed at the Celebration Event in February.

    Our judges (left to right) Asif Khan, Alice Black, Chris Ruse, Sebastian Conran and Michael Skapinker.

    Our top ten teams in the auditorium before the pitches begin.

    The judges deliberating over the top ten ideas.

    The day ended on a very hands on activity – redesigning an Ikea lamp.

  • Design Ventura Shortlist 2016

    Congratulations and thank you to all Design Ventura schools that have completed the project by submitting an entry and participating in the project’s evaluation.

    Our panel of shortlisting judges have selected the top entries from the 240 schools who registered to take part, the shortlisted schools will be invited to pitch their idea to a panel of judges here at the new Design Museum in mid December.

    All schools that have submitted an entry will receive participation certificates in the post. The shortlisted schools will be contacted separately by email and letter with details of the pitching event.


    The Design Ventura top ten shortlisted schools for 2016 are…..
    (in alphabetical order)


    Alexandra Park School, London

    Grow up
    A flat packed plant holder that encourages the reuse of containers.

    Chancellors School, Hertfordshire

    Light up your life
    A DIY lamp kit with bendy legs to adapt to many terrains and uses.

    Dame Alice Owens School, Hertfordshire

    Forest Fits
    A unique set of seasonal themed coasters which fit together to create new shapes.

    Endon High School, Staffordshire

    Skyline Solvers
    A tactile, changeable puzzle with images of London’s most popular landmarks.

    Harrogate Grammar School, Harrogate

    Aqua Hook
    A water bottle hook that can be clipped to any loop outside of a bag to carry a bottle.

    Invicta Grammar, Maidstone

    Eazy Squeezy
    A device that can help you to make a cup of tea safely and without mess.

    Reepham High School & College, Norfolk

    An interactive toy with pop out shapes that can be combined in different ways to create imaginative, fun characters.

    St Marylebone School, London

    A biodegradable plant pot which changes colour when moist to reveal an image inspired by the Design Museum and to indicate when you need to water the plant.

    St Olave’s Grammar School, Kent

    Marble blocks
    A puzzle game which fits together to make a course for a marble to run through.

    Woking High School, Surrey

    A colour changing t-shirt to encourage young people to embrace each person’s individuality.


    Schools in this category will be contacted separately.
    The shortlist for this category is…..
    (in alphabetical order)


    Chigwell School, Essex

    Shadow stories
    A bedtime story aid that allows a scene or character to be projected onto a wall or ceiling with the use of a light or torch.

    Mill Hill School Foundation, London

    Flip Switch
    A product that allows children to expand their imagination by creating scenarios for their characters in iconic landmarks backdrops.

    Royal Grammar School, Newcastle

    Kit Control
    A visual checklist enabling the user to physically and mentally check off items of sporting clothing as they pack their sports bag.