V&A Innovate: challenge resources

V&A Innovate is an annual National Schools Challenge, asking students in years 7, 8 and 9 to work in teams to design a solution to a real-world problem. V&A Innovate is based on design thinking and human-centred design methodologies, and the resources are co-designed with teachers and professional designers.

For 2022 – 23, we're asking students to work in teams to respond to one of the three challenge themes: Adapt, Care, or Disrupt. The resources and films on this page will help students explore the themes, test their ideas, and present their work to be shared with our panel of judges. Finalist teams win the chance to pitch their ideas to the judges in person at the V&A.

This resource includes all the information you need to take part, including six example session outlines. You can use it as a recipe book of activity ideas and design approaches, and adapt them based on the needs of your group and the time you have available.

The student toolkit includes printable worksheets and tools for students to use to guide them through their design journey.

Introduce each theme through innovative and inspiring objects in the V&A collections, with the theme inspiration toolkit.

Watch Object in Focus films, animations and designer inspiration on our YouTube playlist:

Explore our collections to find further inspiration from over 1.2 million objects.

Themes inspiration

The themes this year are Adapt, Care and Disrupt. The theme inspiration toolkit introduces each theme and objects from the V&A collections to use as inspiration and starting points for student research. Watch the films below with designers and curators for further inspiration.

ADAPT

Tala Curry Measure by Jasleen Kaur
Artist Jasleen Kaur talks about how she 'hacked' the Tala Cook's Measure to cook Indian recipes.

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Tactile Paving Slab by Seiichi Miyake
Curator Brendan Cormier shares how Seiichi Miyake's design for Tactile Paving Slabs made streets all over the world safer and more accessible.

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CARE

Survivor of Torture charity branding by TEMPLO
Pali Palavathanan from digital and branding agency TEMPLO shares how they created a brand for a new charity working with asylum seekers.

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Bait ur Rouf Mosque in Dhaka, Bangladesh by Marina Tabassum
Architect Marina Tabassum describes the use of light in architecture to create a sense of calm and community.

DISRUPT

The Research Institute: LEGO® set by Ellen Kooijman
How do the toys we play with inform and shape our future identities? Find out about The Research Institute: LEGO® set with geoscientist and designer Ellen Kooijman.

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Extinction Rebellion woodblock and prints
Curator Corinna Gardner looks at the Extinction Rebellion woodblocks and prints in our collection and explores how the visual identity has been used as a call for climate action.

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

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How to submit

Students should communicate their design ideas on two A3 sheets using different creative methods. Students can present their idea in any creative method they think best describes their design to the judges. Students looking for more structure or with less time can use the submission template in the Student Toolkit as guidance.

To enter:

  • Complete teacher evaluation and submission form
  • Ask students to complete student evaluation
  • Email innovate@vam.ac.uk attaching the A3 design sheets. Each JPEG/PDF must have your school and team name in the file name.

Previous submissions

Take a look at example entries from previous finalists and read the judging criteria in the Teacher Toolkit to better understand what the judges will be looking for.