Next month IDEA Birmingham – a collaboration of leading figures from business and academia – will launch its first Birmingham Made Me Design EXPO at the Mailbox, a week-long celebration of everything that is good about industrial design in the region.
From June 15 to 22, the city centre venue will host a series of events and exhibitions showcasing talent from across the Midlands which will culminate in an awards night. Categories will include Best Brand, Best Innovation or Radical Design, Best Collaborative Design and Best Emerging Brand and a Lifetime Achievement Award for an exceptional contribution to innovation and design.
The winners of each category will be decided by a public vote and people can vote online at www.ideabirmingham.co.uk for their favourites in each category. In a four-week series, we will showcase the shortlist for each of the categories and this week we are looking at the candidates for Best Design Collaboration between Education and Business.
Aston University Hydrogen City Concept Car 2012
The 2012 Aston University hydrogen city concept car is a collaborative effort between engineering and design students to research, design and race a new hydrogen vehicle. This year the team from Aston University have worked together to develop a hydrogen car to race in the prestigious Shell European Eco Marathon challenge race to be held in Rotterdam. Aston students have taken a radical and innovative approach to the design and manufacture of the car, looking ahead to a future car for 2020. The Aston car produces zero emissions using a quiet and clean hydrogen-powered fuel cell. The car itself is far from conventional – in fact, it actually folds up when you want to fit into that small city parking space.
In many ways the car challenges convention; hydrogen fuel, folding chassis, sustainable ply and cardboard composite constructions using scissor doors with an eco-fabric body and bio-polymer panels. For more on the team, log on to www.astonshelleco.weebly.com
Birmingham City University Gamer Camp
Gamer Camp is a partnership between higher education and the games industry, providing a route into employment for motivated, talented graduates by preparing them for either the games industry or starting up their own business. Following criticism from the games industry of undergraduate video games courses in the UK, Birmingham City University developed meaningful relationships with industry partners including Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), Codemasters, Freestyle Games, Blitz Games Studios and Rare.
Gamer Camp pioneered a new approach to teaching artists and programmers how to be work-ready for the video games industry. This approach has been inspired and informed by Swedish approaches to learning and teaching, the practical and career-focused approaches taken in other BCU courses and, crucially, input from industry partners.
As a student attending Gamer Camp, the whole course is a workplace simulation with students working in multidisciplinary teams to produce game product with support from experienced video games experts.
Gamer Camp represents an excellent collaboration between the game industry and education, made possible by the vision and hard work of Oliver Williams (BCU), Guy Wilday (BCU) and Maria Stukoff (SCEE).
Birmingham City University collaboration in learning and teaching with Mitchells & Butlers plc
Birmingham-based Mitchells & Butlers is the UK’s leading restaurant and pub company, with 13 brands including All Bar One, Harvester, Browns, Toby Carvery and Miller and Carter, encompassing 1,600 business units and 36,000 employees.
M&B approached Birmingham City University’s Business School (BCBS) to design a bespoke programme aimed at providing its 120 area managers with ‘local leader’ skills required to drive performance across their portfolios.
Birmingham City University developed a Post-graduate Multi-Unit Leadership Diploma (leading to an MSc) specifically for M&B’s area managers with the aim of accelerating the development of their capabilities and performance.
Launched in October 2009, the post-graduate diploma had an initial cohort of 23 area managers. Since this time, M&B has enrolled a further 31 middle managers and more than 72 general managers on an entry-level certificate qualification in Multi-Unit Leadership.
In recognition of its impact at M&B, it was cited in the CBI’s Skills Report in August 2011 as a best practice case-study. As a result, the Academy of Multi-Unit Leadership has grown quickly at BCBS providing courses for 32 brands, ten companies and 265 corporate students.
Birmingham City University collaborative design with Morgan Cars
A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between Birmingham City University and Morgan Motor Company recruited Matthew Humphries as their associate, who had already worked at Morgan on a student placement, proving his credentials by designing a concept car as an early version of what would later become the AeroMax (presented at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show).
The AeroMax cost £2million in development and was built on an existing platform. This highly-effective KTP project provided Morgan with a proactive, controlled design process, facilitating the creation of innovative concept and production vehicles to stimulate the market, attracting new customers to the brand. The new design process helped ensure a cost-effective and fully appropriate design for the Morgan production processes. Its efficacy was proven in taking the AeroMax from concept to low volume production, delivering a vehicle that offers a major leap forward for the company in terms of quality and design detail. All 100 cars were pre-sold, generating £9million revenues and £2million profit, representing a 24 per cent return on investment, with more than £4.2million turnover attributed to KTP work.
The conclusion of the third KTP saw the national panel responsible for this government programme award KTP its top ‘outstanding’ grade. Benefits attributed to the KTP include more efficient and higher quality design processes, new customers attracted to Morgan brand at a more exclusive price, a marked change in attitude, work practices and culture with the need for good design now well understood and enhanced design capabilities fed into company communications, improving customer image.