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  • Industry Insights: Understanding the Pitching Process

    We sometimes fall in love with our own ideas. Once we spent a lot of time thinking, prototyping and developing, we can get attached to them, and that’s a good thing. It means we believe in the product we have created and the purpose it has.

    However, we should always be able to step away and look at our ideas through a different lens. Because when the pitching process starts, it is not what you or your team think about the product. It’s how the audience you are pitching to will perceive it that counts. Remember, it’s the first time they are going see it.

    Be honest to yourself. And also, be aware of the people in the audience. try to understand them if you can. What have they done in the past, how do they approach their work. They need to be engaged, even entertained, while you are pitching. How are you going to engage and entertain them with your pitch?

    There’s a question I always ask to myself when I have to present something new: Can I explain this idea in ten words or less? It’s a tough one, but it allows me to focus on communicating the most important things, without getting lost in irrelevant details.

    Here is an example of my own work, where I was challenged to find ways to help raise funds for a charity called “Pathway” that helps homeless people get personalised medical attention when they are treated in a London Hospital.

    This is the idea we had, in ten words: Up-cycle former homeless clothes to show transformational impact of healthcare.

    So, when pitching your idea, keep that in mind: what ten words describes your product? Your audience might not be aware of all the work you put behind it but if the idea is relevant and catches their attention it will come alive and grow in the real world. Focus on that.

  • Design Ventura 2017 Pitching Day

    The Design Ventura 2017 Pitching Day happened in December and it was a great day that encouraged the shortlisted schools to present their ideas in front of a panel of judges. Have a look at the video below to find out more:

  • Design Ventura Pitching day 2017

    Back in December, the Design Ventura team welcomed the top ten shortlisted schools for the Pitching day where each team had a chance to present their idea and prototypes in front of a panel of judges. The judges were really impressed with the level of professionalism and confidence students revealed in their three minute pitch.


    The judges from left to right: Alice Black, Christoph Woermann, Anna Bullus, Naomi Cleaver and Duncan Sanders who kindly replaced Sebastian Conran for the day who sadly couldn’t attend. The panel had a fantastic time seeing all the presentations and questioning the students (who were so well prepared and gave very persuasive answers!).

    Here are our top ten shortlisted schools ready for to start their pitches.

    Whilst the judges were busy deliberating and having to make a very difficult decision of choosing all the prize winners, the students and teachers had a competition of paper towers which was a lot of fun!

    The day ended with the judges giving constructive feedback to all teams.

    The winner will be announced in February at the Celebration Event.


    All photos ©Richard Heald Photography/Design Museum

  • School post: Paignton Community and Sports Academy

    The following post is written by Paignton Community and Sports Academy School. We loved the students commitment and enthusiasm in the school pitching event. You can read the full article here.

  • Top #5 tips for your submission

    As we are getting closer to the submission day – 14 November at 5pm – we thought that you could use some last minute tips. For a detailed handout on how to submit your entry step by step, please click here.

    1. One submission per school. Remember, your school can submit only one entry so choose wisely! You can still feature other ideas on our website by submitting a blog post, or tweeting about it using the hashtag #designventura.
    2. Short and sweet. The shortlisting panel will be going through a lot of entries so make sure that your form is easy to understand and straight to the point.
    3. Be ready for submission. The final submission form is very important, please refer back to the judging criteria. When you log in to submit your entry, have your files saved on your computer ready for uploading. We recommend that you add your school name to the top of each A3 sheet and submit your attachment in pdf format.
    4. Evaluation form. Please make sure that both teachers and students fill in their evaluation form.
    5. Let’s do it! Enter your school’s idea even if you don’t think you have a ‘winner’. Our judges see the potential in all ideas. Remember: all schools that submitted an idea will receive certificates to mark your student’s participation.

    We cannot wait to see all your ideas! Good luck everyone!



  • 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.”

  • 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.


  • Photographing your product or prototype

    As you begin to prepare your Design Sheets for entry to the Design Ventura competition, you will invariably be thinking about how you are going to present your ideas visually. Drawings work really well to show your design concept, and diagrams and technical illustrations to accompany your written explanations will show exactly how your product works.

    A prototype/mock up of your product is a great way of showing our judges how your design will work and how it will look, so please make sure you include photos of these prototypes if you can. Here are some tips for taking a great product photo:

    Natural Light
    Set up a table near a window for your photoshoot – sun diffused through cloudy skies or a white sheet makes an excellent setting for a product photo. Really bright direct sunlight or a camera flash create strong dark shadows and make products look less attractive.

    Use a big piece of paper or a plain colour piece of cloth as your background to make your product really stand out. To create a seamless sweeping backdrop, stick your piece of paper to the wall and drape it over the table in front and then place your product on top.

    Learn how to create a seamless backdrop in this tutorial from Fstoppers.

    Set your camera or phone up on a tripod to make sure the image won’t be blurry. If you don’t have a tripod, improvise! Find a place to rest your camera and use the timer setting to make sure the photo isn’t affected by shaky hands. Sometimes, even a steady hand can create a blurry photo, so find away to rest your camera securely on the table for the optimum shot.

    To really help the Design Ventura judges understand your design, it is a good idea to take photos of your product from a couple of angles. If it opens, show it open and closed. If it has a great design on the other side, make sure to take a photo of that.

    Photos are a great way of telling your products story – Globe Academy’s Design Ventura entry for a foldable plate, Dish Dash, used photographs to help explain how the product worked.

  • Pupils present ideas at Mill Hill School

    On Friday 16th September our Year 10 pupils presented their ideas to their peers in lesson time.

    Pupils were given two minutes to present and explain their final design using the official ‘Ventura’ judging criteria.
    All the pupils did extremely well and some interesting ideas for the them ‘Change’ were observed.
    Next week we decide on the four pupils (from 32 in total) who will be chosen to participate in the comp.
    All pupils are very excited to be taking part in the challenge and will receive an internal certificate of participation.
    Attached are some photos of the presentation that took place and some of the blank challenge pack.

    Chris Mckay (Mill Hill School)




  • Tips for effective communication

    To be able to communicate effectively and engage your audience can be a challenging task and requires practice. Even politicians and public figures have practised speaking many times to develop this skill. The more you practice in front of a trial audience and ask for feedback the better you will be on the day of your presentation.

    From my own experience, speaking in front of an audience can be daunting. People pay as much attention to what you say as to how you say it.. So it is just as important to work on the way you deliver your message as the content.

    The key components of effective communication are content, structure and delivery.

    Ask yourself what you expect the audience to take away after your presentation and do not assume that your audience has previous knowledge about what you are going to talk about.

    Concise and simple content is more digestible than when it’s lengthy and detailed. Think about 3-5 main bullet points or headlines that best summarise your content.

    To structure your presentation it would be useful to ask yourself the below questions:

    • Who is your audience?
    • What is the problem?
    • What is your solution/idea?
    • What is your product?
    • What are the key features and how do they solve the problem?
    • Key takeaways

    Your presentation should be engaging to the audience – one person reading from a powerpoint is not very memorable. Some ways to make your presentation more engaging could be by asking questions, telling a personal story they can relate to or using puzzles and analogies.

    Body language, eye contact and tone of voice can also influence the impact of your message.Try using your arms when emphasising a strong point or modulate your voice.

    Planning ahead and practicing will give you confidence in communicating to an audience, not only when trying to pitch, but in any situation where you need present in front of a group of people..

    Finally, try to have fun and see your presentation as a chance to let people know about your unique idea!

    Written by Ha Dinh, Treasury – Deutsche Bank