Folding bike helmet wins James Dyson design award

  Resembling an accordion ball Christmas decoration, the helmet can be flattened, while a honeycomb structure, visible when unfurled, gives it strength. “It is one size fits most,” said Shiffer. “These [helmets] are quite sturdy and the honeycomb stalls are arranged in such a way that they can protect the head from a blow from […]

Saving Design Thinking from itself

Sevra Davis writing for the RSA on a danger facing ‘design thinking’  And yet, as more and more businesses, governments and institutions describe themselves as ‘design-led’ ‘design thinking’ is in danger of being devalued. Too much of what is practiced under the name of design thinking seems to comprise little more than running structured workshops. […]

Using kaizen to improve higher education courses

(Note: entries like this are my ‘thinking out loud’ as I explore my PhD research topic of innovation in teaching and learning, so are aimed at a very specific audience – me! Feel free to share, quote, comment, argue, contradict etc) This is a summary of a paper by ML ‘Bob’ Emiliani, Using kaizen to […]

Quality Assurance v Quality Enhancement – what’s the difference?

What’s the difference between Quality Assurance and Quality Enhancement? They sound the same but both are very different philosophies. For a number of years – at least as long as I’ve been teaching – QA was a key aspect of further and higher education in the UK with entire departments dedicated to it. The Quality […]

The innovators: this solar table charges your phone without direct sunlight

With an orange-striped surface on its steel frame, a new table from London-based designers Caventou appears to be an ultra-modern piece of furniture for an arty homeowner. A closer look reveals a port on the side where phones can be recharged using power gleaned from solar cells that cover the surface. Rather clever. It’s the […]

The innovators: the LiquiGlide coating that gets mayonnaise out of the bottle

It’s not the mayonnaise that’s new, nor the packaging. The innovation is a coating developed in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that sits between the product and the packaging and which works to create a slippery surface that enables the sauce to slide from the bottle. Mayonnaise from the Norwegian foods company Orkla will […]

New UK passport design features just two women

The “Creative United Kingdom” passport, unveiled by the immigration minister James Brokenshire, and highlighting the successes in innovation, architecture, art and performance, includes portraits of John Harrison, who invented the marine clock, artist John Constable, and architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. There are watermarks of William Shakespeare on every page, while a page each is […]

The innovators: how tiny amounts of wind energy could light up Africa

The plastic sheets have slivers of bendable filaments that stand up and are moved by gusts of air. The filaments, which are encased in plastic, work using the piezoelectric effect – the ability of some materials to generate a charge in response to pressure. In this case, when the filaments are moved by gusts of […]