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Seeding the future

A seed launcher to help wild bee populations has won the Design Museum’s annual design and enterprise competition for schools
Seeding the future

‘Sow Beautiful, a seed launcher designed by a team of school students from Heckmondwike Grammar School in West Yorkshire, has won 2020’s Design Ventura, an annual design and enterprise challenge.

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

The winning product will now be manufactured for sale in the Design Museum Shop from Autumn, with all sale proceeds going to a charity of the students’ choice.

‘Sow Beautiful is a playful and appealing product for families that tackles the real world problem of bee population decline. It will make a wonderful addition to the Design Museum Shop in Autumn 2021, during our Waste Age exhibition, where we  will be showcasing the importance of design for a sustainable planet.’

Head of learning at the Design Museum

Design in lockdown

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.  

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

‘I wish I had had a programme like Design Ventura when I was younger. I am here now but the young people behind me, they are the future of the industry, the future of design. We need to nurture that talent and support and encourage those  young people. Let them know that you can make a career out of design.’

Artist, designer and Design Ventura 2020 brief setter

Design Ventura 2020 winning team
The winning team: students from Heckmondwike Grammar School, West Yorkshire

Work on display

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, 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 seven shortlisted state school teams will have their work on display at the  Design Museum until 22 August.

This year’s competition marks 11 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 winner 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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