Posts by Tanya Weaver

Can the conservative government turn the UK into a leading high tech exporter?

Published 03 June 2010

Posted by Tanya Weaver

Article tagged with: engineering, design, government policy, design report

Now that David Cameron is officially in the hot seat after we were all hung out to dry (mind the pun) whilst the conservative and liberal democrat parties were negotiating the ins and outs of our new parliament, it remains to be seen whether he will take onboard any of the recommendations laid out in the ‘Ingenious Britain’ report.

The conservative party commissioned Sir James Dyson last October to produce a report setting out proposals to make Britain the leading high tech exporter in Europe. For Dyson, who published his report in March, action couldn’t come soon enough: “Now, more than at any time over the past twenty years, I sense there is a real opportunity to set a new vision for our economy. To do this, a new government must take immediate action to put science and engineering at the centre of its thinking - in business, industry, education and, crucially, in public culture.”

Dyson realises, however, that there are no magic bullets but he has set out five key challenges that the Conservative government must tackle if Britain is to generate and export more technology:

  • Culture: Developing high esteem for science and engineering
  • Education: Getting young people excited about science and engineering
  • Expoliting knowledge: Collaboration, not competition, between universities, companies and not-for-profits
  • Financing high tech start-ups: Turning good ideas into world beating products
  • Supporting high tech companies: Creating the right conditions for R&D investment.

He sums this up by saying: “We need more entrepreneurs. We need more innovators. We need more scientists, engineers and designers who can turn ideas into working products. We need to be better at supporting the ecosystems that transfer new ideas from universities and which incubate new firms. We need an education system that equips young people and germinates the seeds of industrial ambition in them. And we need government to support innovating firms, especially smaller ones, both through the tax system and the power that comes from being Britain’s single largest customer.”

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Fancy getting your hands on £10,000 in new product development support?

Published 28 May 2010

Posted by Tanya Weaver

Article tagged with: design, design competition, design for manfacture

Designing and developing products is an expensive endeavour especially if you are a student or just starting out in the design world. So, the kind people at MetropolitanWorks, which is part of London Metropolitan University, are giving a few lucky people a helping hand through a new competition they have just launched.

The competition, called Metamorphosis, is looking to help six individuals take their innovative product ideas through the development process, from the drawing board to realisation. They will have access to MetropolitanWork’s wide range of facilities including rapid prototyping, 3D scanning, laser cutting, water-jet cutting, CNC routing and CAD (SolidWorks, Rhino and Pro/ENGINEER). Their finished projects will then be showcased at the London Design Festival in September on the MetropolitanWorks’ stand. The catch is that to be eligible you must be based in London and graduating this year or be alumni of one of six London universities (look at Metropolitan Works for more information).

Jodie Eastwood, project manager at MetropolitanWorks, had this to say to me about the competition: “The Metamorphosis competition is about helping designers - both our own graduates/alumni from London Metropolitan University alongside our friends from the Knowledge East community of institutions - to gain a thorough understanding of best practice in bringing new products to market. Six of the best will receive up to £10,000 in product development support at Metropolitan Works including specialist expertise and access to our fantastic digital manufacturing and rapid prototyping facilities.”

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Good for your health

Published 26 May 2010

Posted by Tanya Weaver

Article tagged with: design, design council, healthcare

Going to hospital isn’t an experience that many of us relish, even if it’s for a minor operation or just to visit a patient.  It seems that a change from the clinical white and impersonal feel that many of us experience as soon as we walk into a hospital as well as the inefficiencies and issues with cleanliness that are often the case with many healthcare systems, would be very much welcomed. In fact, there has been quite a bit of press recently about design in healthcare and how to rethink and improve the role of NHS hospitals and patient care in the UK. A number of organisations including the Design Council has been pushing this issue for quite some time. For instance, it has orchestrated a number of campaigns such as Design Bugs Out that is looking at redesigning hospital equipment and furniture and Design for Patient Dignity that recently commissioned six teams of designers and manufacturers to look at how innovative new designs can solve privacy and dignity issues (think of the standard hospital gown that often exposes the patient’s rear end to all who make walk behind them!).

Priestmangoode, a London-based design consultancy, has identified a compelling opportunity for using design to address some of the specific challenges thrown up by such cases for rethinking healthcare.  It believes that intelligent, efficient design has the potential to improve everyday life for millions of people each year. As a result, they have put together a paper - The Health Manifesto: A Smarter Role for Design in Healthcare – that provides a raft of principles, ideas and new thinking. Although not specifically a healthcare design consultancy, this area is something that managing director Paul Priestman feels very strongly about:  “I love new challenges and there seems to be a natural progression from the work we’ve done on micro environments such as airline seats and hotel rooms where we are maximising best use of space to healthcare. Hospitals, despite investment in the past decade or so, have still not moved on as much as consumer and leisure environments yet patient expectations have. Using the expertise we have developed from our work in product and environment design, we believe we can make healthcare more efficient, enjoyable to work in and use.”

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Marc Newson clocks in with new Atmos 566 timepiece

Published 14 May 2010

Posted by Tanya Weaver

Article tagged with: design, design for manfacture, design legend, marc newson, atmos 566, perpetual motion

When I received an invitation to the launch of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s  new Atmos 566 clock designed by Marc Newson to be honest I was more interested in going along to see the superstar industrial designer that is Marc Newson than I was in this luxurious Swiss clock manufacturer.

But perhaps I should have done a bit more research into how exclusive this brand is before attending or possibly the fact that it was being held at Brown’s Hotel in London’s Mayfair should have been a hint enough. I pitched up in my usual journalist attire of jeans and converse trainers only to be met by the hotel’s butler resplendent in his top hat and tails who quickly whisks me up to the first floor into a lavish room full of suits, even Newson is in a suit, albeit a linen one with no tie and trainers. Being the only design journalist I found myself trying to make small talk with representatives from titles such as Harper’s Bazaar, fine watch magazine QP and Millionaire’s Monthly (I made the last one up). But then the launch begins with the CEO of Jaeger-LeCoutre presenting the new Atmos 566 before introducing Newson, who says a few words about his design.


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