Seeding the Future

Company: The Design Museum
  • Seed launcher called ‘Sow Beautiful

Design Ventura is the Design Museum’s annual design and enterprise competition for schools run in partnership with Deutsche Bank’s global youth engagement programme Born to Be

A seed launcher called ‘Sow Beautiful,’ designed by a team of school students from Heckmondwike Grammar School in West Yorkshire, are awarded overall winner of Design Ventura 2020

The winning design aims to bring the ‘buzz’ back to Britain using a seed launcher to grow wildflowers and combat the decline in British wild bees

The seven shortlisted state school teams will have their work on display at the Design Museum from 12 June – 22 August, with the winning product being manufactured for sale

‘Sow Beautiful’ will be sold in the Design Museum Shop from Autumn, with all sale proceeds going to a charity of the students’ choice

The Design Museum and Deutsche Bank announce a student team from Heckmondwike Grammar School in West Yorkshire as the winners of 2020 annual design and enterprise challenge, Design Ventura. Over 270 schools participated in this year’s programme, which includes the two runners up Parkside Community College school and Davison’s High School for Girls.

The Design Ventura programme enables students to gain real world design and enterprise skills and experience. Every year, the competition invites teams of students aged 13-16 from across the UK and internationally to design a new product to improve everyday life, which will then be sold in the Design Museum Shop. Students respond to a live brief set by a leading designer and must consider ethical, sustainable, accessible, and user-centred design principles, as well as business considerations such as budgeting and marketing, to create an innovative new product. This year’s design brief was set by artist and designer Yinka Ilori.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, schools were closed for much of this academic year. Despite the significant impact to education, students worked together (often remotely) to come up with innovative designs ideas and Design Ventura 2020 saw over 15,600 students from 270 schools take part.

The overall winner was selected from a shortlist of seven schools, who pitched their ideas to a panel of leading design and business experts including Shahidha Bari, Critic, Broadcaster and Professor of Fashion Cultures and Histories at London College of Fashion; Sebastian Conran, Designer and Trustee at the Design Museum; Yinka Ilori, Artist and Designer and Design Ventura 2020 brief setter; Duncan Sanders, Head of Trading at the Design Museum; and Christoph Woermann, Global Head of Corporate Bank Marketing at Deutsche Bank.

The Heckmondwike Grammar School team won with their design ‘Sow Beautiful’ – a flower seed cannon used to grow flowers and create a source of pollen for bees. The team impressed judges with their pitch video for Sow Beautiful, the rationale behind the product being to bring the ‘buzz’ back to Britain using a seed launcher to grow wildflowers and combat the decline in British wild bees and other pollinators.

The full list of winning schools are as follows:

  • 1st Place Winner – Heckmondwike Grammar School, Sow Beautiful
  • 2nd Place Runner Up – Parkside Community College, The Shoe Button
  • 3rd Place Runner Up – Davison High School for Girls, Positivitree
  • Commendation for Most Market Ready Product – Trinity School, Magic Leaf
  • Commendation for Entrepreneurship – Ferndown Upper School, Build and Play
  • Commendation for Good Design Process – County Upper School, Safari Matchimals
  • Outstanding Finalist – The Burgess Hill Academy, Play Cube

This year’s competition marks eleven years of the programme, which has seen over 108,000 students from 2,450 schools participate since its launch. Active Snap, the Design Ventura 2018 winning product from Simon Balle All-through School, went on to be developed commercially and was released nationally by renowned toy manufacturer TOMY UK.

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