Think Up Case Study: Global Grand Challenges Student Day

A dozen blue badges with simple icons on representing the global grand challenges, scattered on a table

We were commissioned by the Royal Academy of Engineering to design and facilitate a day-long creative design exercise for a group of 60 top engineering students from around the world.

In groups of ten, we set students the challenge of developing engineering responses to one of six of the Global Grand Challenges. At the end of an intense day of activity, students presented their ideas to a team of Angel investors. The winning team won the opportunity to present their ideas to the Global Grand Challenges Summit.

Think Up’s role was to design a programme of activities, develop a visual design for the event, create briefing materials, produce delegate packs, dress the workshop space and facilitate the whole day.

Our programme was shaped around helping students develop design skills in the context of solving one of the Global Grand Challenges: access to clean water; preserving urban infrastructure; advancing health informatics; enhancing virtual reality; protecting cyberspace; and, advancing personalised learning.

We created a carousel of different work spaces, each intended to focus on a different part of the design process. In the ideas incinerator students focused on rapid idea generation.

Image showing a young woman throwing a scred-up piece of paper into a large bin
Global Grand Challenges – Ideas incinerator

In the drawing room students discovered the power of sketching for exploring their ideas.

Image of a pot with pencils and highlighters
Global Grand Challenges – Drawing Room

We created the tech room was a space for online research and creation.

Image showing people doing group work on a laptop
Global grand challenges – tech room

And thehe Angel booth was a space for testing ideas with an expert.

Image showing Chris Wise, one of the four angels in the angel booth
Global Grand Challenges – Angel Booth

Student feedback from the event was overwhelmingly positive. See what they had to say on the Facebook page we created for this event.