Sprout Design has won this year’s Design Business Association/ Royal College of Art 24 Hour Inclusive Design Challenge to create reading-aid prototypes for the visually impaired. What difficulties does the design industry face in taking prize-winning ideas to production?
Design consultancies typically enter competitions to raise their profile, and taking entries to market is unusual. Competition and commercial briefs differ, and winning entries are not always viable. Consultancies lack the time to find funding to develop their ideas. If a competition entry is valuable intellectual property it is often realised only after the idea has been disclosed – it is rare for speculative competition entries to be patented. We know that our inclusive design process is good at identifying needs and inspiring mainstream products that people want, and are confident we can take our ideas further.
Guy Robinson, Co-director, Sprout Design
Competitions pop you on top of the tree, but it doesn’t take long to come back down to earth. If a heady combination of ego and chutzpah has convinced you that your idea is the best thing since sliced bread, then stop. Designers are great at design, but we underestimate the skill and work needed to get anything to market. I would ask a fundamental question before contemplating taking a win to manufacture: do you plan to give up the day job?
Mike Pearson, Principal, Pearson Matthews