Eight of the world's best strategic designers are to mentor students at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA), to help them develop and commercialise their innovative ideas, products and processes for the marketplace.
The eight mentors are all members of British Design Innovation (BDI), the UK's most influential strategic design organisation, whose member companies generate over £200 million in annual turnover. BDI represents many of the most qualified product, service, innovative 3D packaging, digital and brand designers in the world, who have decades of experience in sectors such as aeronautics, biotechnology, consumer electronics, food and drink, medical, nanotechnology, telecommunications and transport.
They will use their expertise to support the graduate and under-graduate students who have reached the second round of the UCA's Ur Idea competition - part of a Creative Innovation Award scheme to develop students' entrepreneurial potential by progressing creative ideas which have commercial possibilities. A prize of £2,500 will be awarded to the winning student.
By combining educational and commercial benefits through guidance on entrepreneurship, commercial sponsorship and potential IP income, the BDI mentors will also help UCA embed an entrepreneurial culture across the university. Mentoring will take place at the Farnham and Rochester campuses.
"BDI support for the Creative Innovation Award scheme provides participating UCA students with a genuine opportunity to gain valuable advice and guidance from design industry leaders," said Uwe Derksen, UCA's Acting Director of Research & Enterprise and a BDI South East Director.
"Students were asked to enter the Ur Idea competition with their creative ideas in order to test their commercial and market potential. Mentoring by industry leaders will give the students a good grounding in the realities of business - an experience that will help their future careers."
The initiative underpins the recommendations contained in Delivering the Innovation Dream: The BDI Report, which was delivered to HM Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills in March 2009 and calls for the engagement of strategic designers by universities, science parks and innovation incubators throughout the UK.
A typical strategic design company is BDI member company Priestman Goode, which in January won the contract to design the fastest and most advanced train in the world for new high speed rail lines in China.
Strategic design is viewed as an effective way of linking innovation, research, management and design through the analysis of trends and data, which enables design decisions to be based on facts rather than aesthetics or intuition,.
The eight BDI mentors at the University for the Creative Arts are all strategic designers working in a UK design industry that represents over £4.5 billion sector turnover and an average £1 billion of export income: Gus Desparats,TheAlloy; Mike Elam, Hyphen Design; Phil Gray, Quadro; Jonathan Knight, Frazer Designers; Stephen Knowles, IDC; Geoff McCormick, TheAlloy; Paul Pankhurst, PDD and Les Stokes, London Associates.