By Chris Clemente
Design something that solves a problem.
The brief is quite simple really. No hidden agenda, no fine print, just good ol’ ideas that can make life better. That’s the premise of the James Dyson Award.
For 14 years now, the James Dyson Foundation has run their charitable competition to inspire young minds from all over the world to solve one problem at a time through design engineering. They give a chance to young inventors to bring their creative solutions forward by providing the platform, the exposure, and ultimately the money (grand prize winner gets £30,000) to bring their ideas to life.
There are 27 participating countries in total, but this year will be the first time that the Philippines will be part of the competition.
“Young engineers and designers have perspective and unbridled intelligence that makes them incredibly adept at problem solving. Their ideas can easily be dismissed, but if nurtured and celebrated, they are transformative,” believes James Dyson.
An alumnus of the competition spoke at the launch event that took place in Dyson’s new demo space at The Podium last May 23 to talk about her experience. Though she didn’t win, Esther Wang was able to birth a product that addresses a concern close to her heart. She invented the Rabbit Ray, a toy bunny that helps explain medical procedures to children in the hospital, specifically children undergoing chemotherapy.
Her invention puts kids at ease with procedures such as blood extraction, putting a butterfly needle, putting a drip, etc. Her toy is accompanied by a book that tells a story as well as situates the medical instruments in fun illustrations to keep them from being intimidating.
She says, “Entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted. I went without salary for 5 years. The good thing about the James Dyson Awards is such that it is for young graduates, so when you are young, you do have a longer time to experiment.”
The best inventions are often the simplest yet provide an intelligent solution to a real-world problem. Past winners have sought to tackle overfishing, sustainability in the fashion industry, and food waste. Last year’s winner was the sKan, a low-cost, early detection melanoma skin cancer device engineered to prevent misdiagnosis.
The deadline for entries for the James Dyson Award is 12:00am GMT on July 20, 2018. For more information about the competition, you may visit their website here.
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