ASB Complete First VA 59 Minute Design Challenge

Date Fri 28th September

Last week, the Association of Scottish Businesswomen were privileged to participate in the first ever 59 Minute Design Challenge in the brand new V&A Museum in Dundee. The session held on Friday 21st September 2018 was the first in a V&A led programme, led by design practitioners Andrew Cameron and Dr Jen Baillie with support from the Design for Business board members Michaela Miller and Michelle Quadrelli.

Wendy Maltman, President of the ASB, said “It was fantastic to welcome our members to the V&A Dundee in the week of its opening for this exciting design challenge.”

26 members and guests were treated to a fast paced, hands on workshop. A workshop that promised, through a well-structured, step by step process, to change our approach to dealing with design or business challenges. Compressing ten weeks of design training into a bite sized 59 minutes. Could it be done?

The clock was set and would continue to limit the thinking time. There is nothing quite like being on the clock to maintain focus. Starting and stopping as participants moved from understanding a client’s problem to designing a “prototype”, and finishing with a plan to fine tune to an end product. Working in mixed teams to generate new and fresh thinking.

Describing the event as exceptionally good, ASB member Julie Hall added “It’s a very interesting way to use design to create solutions and new ideas. I will be using this at WEvolution”.

The background information on the V&A website describes the workshops as “providing practical experience which can be immediately applied to business, helping you to better shape the services and products you already offer and create innovative new ones your customers will truly love”. It didn’t disappoint.

The energy and creative buzz was fantastic as seven prototypes were developed, to address problems everyone faces in everyday life. Each one a very real and achievable design, quite capable of progression to a product or service of the future. All in just under an hour and, aptly, set in the V&A design museum which has got everybody talking.

Heather Borderie, ASB member and Operations Director at Glendoick Garden Centre said “what a treat it was to attend the 59-minute design challenge at the V&A. I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew I couldn't draw, so my word for the year (courage) was championing me on as I nervously walked through the door. I needn't have worried and the facilitators made the event so much fun. I learnt the system that they had successfully used in business to design anything, and it really worked. We put it into action - it wasn't complicated and it was collaborative. It is definitely a tool that I want to include in our work at the garden centre, to help keep driving the business forward. Oh, and I also learnt that I could draw!”

Members and guests attending also learned how local manufacturing business Scott & Fyfe, which would have been bankrupt six years ago, is now a thriving, innovative employee owned company. By completely redesigning the way they worked, they are evidence that changing the way one approaches a task or a challenge really does have tangible results.

The session preceded the Association of Scottish Business Awards, where 50 finalists and winners of 12 awards, celebrated in style at the Apex City Hotel that same evening.

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