Two stories of innovation – the Bread Clip and the Fidget Spinner

Often stories re innovation only focus on those that have succeeded and even if we have heard the Dyson story a thousand times I believe it is useful to flag with students some of the reasons that the lone innovator/inventor does not succeed. Often this is simply due to bad luck, lack of resources or simply that they give up! A recent story is that of the ubiquitous fidget spinner that has invaded classrooms this year. The inventor Catherine Hettinger tried ...

Constructive Discontent, Dyson and G-Shock Watches

Another year is almost over and it would be remiss of me not to post a final Dyson focused article of the year as yet again he can be an excellent inspiration to all IB DT Diploma students. However to begin with I came across another inspiring designer who like Dyson had for many years produced 100's of prototypes before he came across a design that given time would become a design classic:- "I threw more than 200 prototypes out of ...

Simplicity of an Idea is Often the Key to your Major Project – the Shopping Bag Handle Anyone?

Hi all, For those of you coming to the end of your DP1 year over the next few months you may well be starting to think about what you will do for your Major Project. And if there is one piece of advice that I can give you as an experienced Design Technology teacher - is KEEP IT SIMPLE. The best ideas are always simple - and come from a thorough understanding of an issue and good old 'constructive discontent.' So I ...

Dyson Invented the “Google Glass” – Or Did He?

Hi DT Students, Another year is about to start and for DP2 you are over 2/3 of the way through your course, and for DP1 just starting the exciting journey. I thought I would start the year with an interesting story - about one of my favourite designers - James Dyson. Yes you have heard many stories and articles about him before but often it is always about his successes. Well as every designer knows for every success there are often many ...

Dyson Does it Again – Lone Inventor No More…

Just a quick note to teachers that if you did not know it already Dyson is one of the best examples to use throughout the IB DT course in almost all areas of the syllabus. There is a great article in the Guardian this week in which the idea of constructive discontent comes right to the fore as new rumours of what Dyson and his team are working on are published - supposedly the Dyson Hairdryer is next using the ...

Inspired by Design 3 – Three Designs to Change the World – Did they Succeed?

Well your academic year is well underway - and if you are in your second year your Major Project should be in full flow. If you are in your first year of studying for your Design Technology IB course - it may seem distant but you may already be worrying about what you will do for your Major Project and how you will succeed. Often a question students ask is how do you find and start thinking about what to do? ...

Inspired by Design 3 – The Slingshot and Other Ideas to Help the Third World – Teachers Ideas

Well the academic year is well underway - and DP2 Major Projects should be in full flow. BUT are your students  stuck for some innovative ideas - have you not managed to get your students to find 'constructive discontent' regarding a specific design project. I always find that it is important to not only inspire students but make them understand that the process they are going through is simply NOT EASY for anyone, and that even the best may fail. ...

Inspired by Design 2 – 3D Printing, Inspiration a Major Project Idea?

I am sure that one of the technologies that has inspired you more than most as you are beginning or have been studying your IB Design Technology course is 3D printing.  It is the perfect example of technology push - where a specific technology leads to great innovation and in the next ten years will change the face of design, prototyping and manufacture. If you are lucky enough to have a 3D printer in school - then make sure to ...

Inspire by Design 2 – 3D Printing Continues to Develop – Teacher Ideas

Please forgive me but my continuing fascination and passion for 3D printing continues to grow as the technology expands and continues to push the boundaries of innovation and design. I always think that this can be a great inspiration to students - as it really starts to enable everyone including students to be able to produce their own highly complex prototypes. It is the perfect example of technology push - where a specific technology leads to great innovation. If you ...

Inspired by Design 1 – Herman Miller

Well to start off the series of "Inspired by Design" focused posts - watch the video below which highlights the long and varied history of Herman Miller a design company that was started would you believe in 1905 - that is 108 years ago! Have you heard of them before - probably not - but do you recognise any of the furniture that they have been involved in supporting the design and manufacture. Do you recognise any famous designers they ...