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UAE, international students to create real-world solutions in design showdown

Pre-Covid - Project Design Space 2020 (2)-1617779057799
DIDI’s Project Design Space offers student an opportunity to work on real design projects for actual clients, including government bodies, corporates and non-profit organisations.
Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai-UAE: Project Design Space, said to be the UAE’s biggest student design competition organised by the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI), has now gone global, attracting interest from international schools for the first time after going virtual for its fifth edition.

DIDI’s Project Design Space offers student an opportunity to work on real design projects for actual clients, including government bodies, corporates and non-profit organisations.

The 2020-2021 programme has been “optimised” for a digital-only experience. Featuring competitive design briefs set by Dettol Arabia, Eltizam, EY MENA, Global Village Dubai and Landor & Fitch, high-school students from across the globe will need to solve real-world design challenges facing those leading companies.

Strong participation

The competition has attracted participation from more than 100 schools from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt, Jordan and the United States, with more than 2,100 students across grades nine to 12 enrolled in the programme, where they form teams and submit a design proposal by May 2. The competition finale in June, where the selected teams will pitch their ideas to their clients.

Must-have skills

Mohammad Abdullah, president, DIDI, said: “Project Design Space has grown in participation year-on-year in line with student demand for design-related careers. Now in its fifth year, this learning platform helps the next generation of talent use design thinking to solve real business challenges. This year’s design briefs are exciting, creative and far from simplistic; solving them will require critical thinking, collaboration and complex problem solving — skills young people must develop if they are to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Mohammad Abdullah

School support

The programme is designed for high school students. Teachers from each participating school have received programme materials and training on coaching students on how to think and work like designers as they design solutions for their clients.

DIDI faculty, alongside the DIDI Project Design Space team, will also offer monthly virtual workshops for teachers and students throughout the programme to support students in their project.

Key areas

The key programme concepts of DIDI Project Design Space include Defining Design, Designer’s Journey and Design Modes and Methods. It will take students through the entire design journey — from concept, team creation, picking a design brief, and learning about the challenge, to discovery, with students required to conduct research and develop new perspectives about the challenge.

Pre-Covid - Project Design Space 2020 (1)-1617779053100
Project Design Space will take students through the entire design journey — from concept, team creation, picking a design brief and learning about the challenge, to discovery, with students required to conduct research and development.
Image Credit: Supplied

Final pitches

At the development phase, they will generate many potential solutions and develop ideas through multiple rounds of prototyping and testing. The final stage is delivery. Here, the teams will create a prototype and film a video to pitch their solution to the client. The programme will conclude with a boot camp in May and competition finale in June, where the selected teams will pitch their ideas to their clients.

At a glance:

Dettol Arabia: Design a product that promotes proper handwashing techniques while also saving water.

Global Village: Create an iconic structure for the family destination – the structure should be designed to possibly become a symbol of the park in future years.

EY MENA: Design a project that uses blockchain technology to build trust in an industry they care about and advance one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Landor & Fitch: Design the most sustainable brand in a key sector of the Gulf Cooperation Council economy. It is up to students to select the sector in which they would like to work.

Eltizam: Create a “theory of change”, a helpful tool for solving complex social challenges. At its most basic, a theory of change must be a plan for how to create impact.


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