November 15, 2019

Using Design Thinking to Create a Winning Sustainable Solution

One of the core Quaker values at Leighton Park is sustainability. Our Sixth Form students recently demonstrated their innovative thinking and awareness around the topical matter, with a winning solution to tackling food waste.

On Friday 15th November the School hosted teams from St Crispin’s, The Bulmershe School and Newlands Girls’ School, who joined 3 groups from Leighton Park, for a day of Design Thinking. Led by businesses, Design Thinking & Technical Nature, working in collaboration as Design Nature, the aim of the workshop was to improve sustainability, reduce food waste and put creativity back into STEM.

Together with the aid of business mentors, the 6 school-based teams were asked to challenge existing thinking and develop a concept to help catering business, Thomas Franks, reduce their food waste.

After discussing their ideas, drawing up concept boards and producing marketing material, the teams were each given the opportunity to present their ideas to a panel of judges, in a Dragon’s Den style pitch.

Mark Mason from Design Thinking, said “After a morning of empathising with their customer, defining the problem in more detail and brainstorming wild ideas, some amazing concepts were starting to emerge from the process.”

Following the excellent presentations by all six teams, the judges took themselves away for deliberation and reflection, before returning to give their feedback. Scoring out of 50 points, the panel looked at how well students had empathised with and understood the industry, demonstrated creativity and problem solving, worked together as a team and presented and communicated their concept, as well as its potential for ethical business and sustainable impact.

The judging panel, made up of Alison Ryan, Operations Manager for Thomas Franks, Tony Cowling, Reading Sustainability Centre, Erica Purvis of Design Nature and Matthew Cowan, IT Director at Leighton Park, awarded a difference of only 5 points between all of the teams, testifying to the quality of the pioneering projects.

Alison Ryan commented “I was extremely impressed by the talented Sixth Form students at the Design Thinking workshop initiated by Design Nature… The judging was so tough!”

In first place were Leighton Park students Emily, Lorna, Jasmin and Harrison, collectively named ‘Table 4 – We’ll wipe the floor’, with their physical waste management app and portion control concept for businesses of all sizes.

Natasha Coccia, Assistant Head: Director of Co-Curricular and Outreach pointed out, “This really was a steAm event with the winning team made up of A Level Music and Drama students! Congratulations to them and all the participants.”

A student from Newlands Girls’ School reflected of the day “It was a worthwhile experience focusing on real-world problems which are in dire need of realistic solutions.”

Design Thinking Workshop

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