Held annually, students in years 7, 8 and 9 are given the opportunity to experience the power of design and technology in solving some of the world's biggest problems.
In teams of 4, 5 or 6, students are invited to choose from three contextual challenges inspired by our collections and exhibitions that ask critical questions about the issues shaping our world:
Within their chosen context, student teams discover their own real and relevant problem to solve – at home, in school, or locally – leading to a new design solution.
Entries are digitally submitted and judged by a panel of industry experts. Finalists will be invited to the annual Innovate Pitching and Awards day at the museum and will be in with a chance of winning prizes for their school.
Whether you're a teacher of D&T, Art & Design, Sciences, Geography, Citizenship, or something else entirely, you could run Innovate in your class to show the power of design in a fast-changing world. Innovate could be run over a term within D&T, or over a day with a STEAM project, or over a few weeks with an extra-curricular club.
Our resources provide guidance on how to deliver Innovate, including an overall project structure and inspiration for each contextual challenge.
Deadline for entries: 13 December 2019
Finalist schools contacted: 13 January 2020
Finalists attend Innovate Pitching and Awards: 2 March 2020
- All students who enter receive a certificate for taking part
- Shortlisted entries are judged by a panel of industry experts
- Finalists are invited to attend our annual Innovate Pitching and Awards, a national celebration of excellence in Design & Technology education
- Prizes, including plaques, trophies and workshops with designers, are awarded to winning teams of students and teachers
Our judging panel for 2019/2020 is:
Phoebe English, Fashion designer
Monica Galetti, Chef Proprietor, Mere Restaurant
Paul Williams, Chief Operations Officer, Brompton Bicycle
How to enter
- Students in years 7, 8 and 9 at state-funded secondary schools can take part
- Students enter in teams of four, five or six
Before submitting, read our judging criteria and entry requirements:
Share your new design solution with us. Email your entries to the 2019 Innovate National Schools Challenge to firstname.lastname@example.org by 13 December 2019.
- Delivery of D&T curriculum and scaffolds towards the NEA component of the D&T GCSE. The broad themes will encourage students to explore the real-world role of design in tackling the impact of global trends and will model the NEA of the GCSE spec with its emphasis on design thinking, problem solving and iteration
- Inspiration for STEAM and cross-curricular teaching
- Artsmark and Arts Award
- Celebrating and advocating for the role of design in your school
Benefits of students taking part include
- Developing interdisciplinary problem-solving skills, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication
- Learning about the work of future looking designers and innovators
- Discovering potential careers and new technologies
- Engaging with some of the most fascinating objects in our collections
- Exploring different design processes and applying them to real life
- Getting showcased in front of industry experts, peers and influencers
- Earning the chance to win awards and prizes for their school