2,000 students grab chance to pitch design to big companies
Dubai - This edition of the challenge has been opened up to students from Grade 5 to Grade 12.
By Sarwat Nasir
Published: Sat 8 Dec 2018, 9:26 PM
Some 2,000 UAE high school students are competing in a design contest, where selected ones will get to present design solutions for big brands and firms such as The Dubai Mall.
The challenge, called Project Design Space, is being held for the third time by the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (Didi).
Last year, 1,200 students registered to be part of the competition and finalists presented solutions to "real-world problems" to clients such as Expo 2020. This year, they will be presenting to firms like the Emirates Marine Environmental Group, Landmark Group and The Dubai Mall.
This edition of the challenge has been opened up to students from Grade 5 to Grade 12.
Mohammad Abdullah, president of Didi, said: "Aiming to nurture and mentor the next generation of designers in the UAE, Project Design Space seeks to provide invaluable experience in solving real-world challenges and igniting a passion for design. Last year's tremendous response has generated a lot of interest among corporates and across the design industry in general, who were keen to join us in this year's competition. We have chosen an interesting cross-section of collaborators, which we hope will encourage even more design students from all areas of interest to enter."
Throughout the 16-week challenge, each participating school will receive training and programme materials. Then, the participating students will be mentored by their teachers during after-school club meetings to design solutions based on the clients' briefs. Finalists will then attend a 'design boot camp' hosted by Didi, where they will receive expert feedback and coaching from the university's faculty and staff.
The aim behind the competition is to support the development of design knowledge as an academic discipline, as well as to give students the opportunity to experience the tasks and challenges that come with a career in design.
The real-world challenges that the students will be tackling include designing the retail pop-up store of the future; crafting an omni-channel customer experience; conceptualising a habitat for turtles; and energising a brand through story-telling.
Following the application round, schools will then work on their ideas and designs before submitting their prototypes to Didi by February 24, 2019. Finalists will be invited to an event on March 23 at Didi's university campus, where teams will pitch design prototypes to their clients and attend an award ceremony.
Ellen Thorne, an English teacher from The English College, which was among last year's winners, said: "As a global player in today's developing innovation and design field, Dubai offers the perfect platform on which to run Project Design Space.
Students' creativity, higher order thinking, economic understanding, business development, public speaking and group work skills are improved through their participation in this project.
"The opportunity to be given exposure to large companies and brands is a valuable experience and highly beneficial for the students' future. The challenges faced by participants build reliance and all students come away having achieved personal milestones, with a widened skill set and an immensely proud feeling from representing their school in such an event."