We are excited to announce that applications are now open for the James Dyson Award, an international award that celebrates, encourages, and inspires the next generation of design engineers.  The James Dyson Award is an incredible opportunity for students and alumni to take action in solving problems in our world. Design for America has once again partnered with the James Dyson Foundation (JDF) to continue building student capacity to take on complex challenges.

In fall 2016, DFA piloted the James Dyson Design Leader program. Five DFAers from various studios were chosen to promote prototyping for social impact on their campuses and in their communities. These leaders had the opportunity to meet Jenna Blanton from JDF to discuss the foundation’s history and how rapid prototyping is a key part of Dyson’s engineering and innovation process. Afterwards, they returned to their campuses to lead rapid prototyping workshops of their own.

“I learned that one just needs to take charge and do,” said DFA USC Studio Lead, Dorothy Peng. “While it is great to explain how prototyping works, you learn most when you are immersed in the process of creating.”

DFA Barnard|Columbia showcases in their workshop the iterative process of creating Dyson vacuums

Carlye Lauff, a PhD Candidate and DFA Studio Lead at the University of Colorado Boulder, conducted her prototyping workshop last November. There, participants created “Pretotypes” to improve the crosswalk experience for the visually impaired.

“Pretotypes are low-fidelity prototypes that are made quickly to test the key assumptions about an idea,” explains Carlye, “having students ‘pretotype’ solutions to a challenge is important for applying the prototyping mindset.” After just 10 minutes of pretotyping, the students started producing practical solutions and asking new questions about the crosswalk experience that they wouldn’t have considered without making something first.

DFA CU Boulder makes quick “pretotypes” to communicate their ideas.

Entries for the James Dyson Award are accepted until July 20th. Get inspired by the 2016 JDF Award winners and runner-ups featured here.