30 June 2012 | Posted inBlog News & Updates
Posted by Deborah
There’ve been several events in the past six months which I’ve attended and this past week was the culmination with a Design Expo and Awards. I wasn’t surprised at the amount of manufacturing that goes on here, as Birmingham is known as an industrial city. However, what did surprise me is that a university took the lead on this push to use Innovation, Design and Creativity as a competitive advantage; I thought that government or private industry would lead these types of initiatives. I’ve always thought of universities as being disconnected from the real world, being ivory-tower organizations; I never thought of them being movers and shakers. Perhaps I’m out of touch with what modern universities are doing and how they want to be an integral part of the community, not just a reflector and examiner of it.
There are a number of classic companies that were involved like Morgan cars and Aga Rangemaster but I also learned about companies I’d never heard of like Acme Whistles that invented the first whistle for the London police in 1883. There were also some new brands which were highlighted at the awards like Café Blend, Disorder Boutique and Fei Liu jewellery. The winner in the student-business enterprises category was Aston University with their Hydrogen City Concept Car. This is just the first year for the event and I only wish I could have helped out more during the design expo week. I was only able to help with the final night as we were having interim presentations for our dissertations the same week. Next week all the student volunteers will participate in a download for the event where we contribute our thoughts on how to make it better next year. It’s great that they actively solicit opinions from the students, many of whom are in the 20-25 age range, as they are the designers of the future.