V&A Innovate: teachers' resources

V&A Innovate is a programme for students in years 7, 8 and 9 based on design thinking and human-centered design methodology. The following resources, co-designed with professional designers, provide a suggested outline of how you could run Innovate in your school.

For 2020 – 21, we're asking students to work in teams to respond to one of two challenge themes: Home or Community. The resources and videos on this page will help students respond to the design challenge, from exploring the themes, to prototyping their design, and presenting to our panel of judges.

Due to most students learning remotely this term and the difficulties with teamwork due to COVID-19 regulations, we are now welcoming entries from individual students as well as teams.

Getting Started

The Getting Started toolkit contains activities to get your students motivated, organised and ready to go. You could use some in a 'getting started' class, and others as homework activities.

Watch our 'Think Like an Innovator' animation to explore what it means to be a curious, responsible and innovative designer:


We recommend following three design stages – collect, make, share – when exploring this year's challenge themes. The Collect/Make/Share toolkit includes activity ideas and printable tools that will support students at each stage of their Innovate journey.

Watch 'The Innovate Journey' animation with your students to explain the Collect, Make, Share process and explore what it takes to be part of a human-centered design process:

Challenge Theme: Home

Our homes have never been more central to our lives. Home is where we sleep, eat, and now increasingly work, study and play. With the increased time we are all spending at home, how can we make it better suited to our needs and wants?

Use the following videos in the classroom to explore how designers rethink everyday home objects.

Materials designer Ella Bulley explores potential future uses for sugarcane:

Curator May Rosenthal-Sloan shares how the team at Notpla are making packaging more sustainable:

Challenge Theme: Community

Communities can look like many different things. A community can be a group of people who share the same interests, go to the same school or live near each other. Communities are essential to build ways to unite us. What does community mean to you and your students, and how can design help bring people in your community together?

Use the following videos in the classroom to explore how designers work to build a better community for all.

V&A Curator Brendan Cormier shares how Seiichi Miyake's design for Tactile Paving Slabs made streets all over the world more accessible:

Pali Palavathanan from digital and branding agency TEMPLO shares how they created a brand for a new charity working with asylum seekers:

Curator Brendan Cormier explores how Alex Moulton redesigned the bicycle to make it more compact and portable:


If your school is entering the 2020 – 21 V&A Innovate National Schools Challenge, you need to submit your students' entries to innovate@vam.ac.uk by 26 March 2021.

Students can present their idea in any creative method they think best, as long as it is presented on two A3 sheets, and describes the whole design process, from research to final idea. Download our submission template as guidance:

Check out the judging criteria and entry requirements before you submit:

Take a look at some finalist entries from last year to better understand what the judges will be looking for:

Previous years' Resources

2019 was our first year of running V&A Innovate. The National Challenge themes were GO/EAT/WEAR.