Design Factory global challenges

Design Factory – a multi-national, multi-discipline approach to teaching and learning through design challenges.

Brunel University London has now joined the Design Factory Global Network (DFGN,, the first higher education institution in the UK to obtain membership of this network. DFGN is a worldwide association of 33 design-led innovation hubs at universities and research organisations across Europe, North America, South America, Asia and Australia.

Design Factory London are creating a collaborative innovation centre in Brunel with the three objectives in mind:

· Teaching human-centred, collaborative innovation to students from all disciplines across the university

· Partner with external organisations from all sectors in developing innovations centred on real-world challenges, opportunities and challenges set by organisations themselves.

· Collaborate across the Design Factory Global Network to develop innovation solutions together, working across national and professional discipline boundaries.

Innovation is no longer the sole concern of technology-led organisations, it is increasingly acknowledged that both collaboration between disciplines and human-centred thinking are key success factors in many types of innovation; product innovation, services innovation, digital platform or even social innovation. These twin principles of collaboration and human-centred thinking is at the core of Design Factory London’s approach to innovation.

A recent example of this sort of innovation collaboration is in the recent ‘Loneliness Innovation Challenge’, an initiative undertaken by over 80 students drawn from Design Factories based in universities in Israel, Latvia, The Netherlands and of course Brunel University London. Over 4 days, working virtually across time-zones, students working in small international teams undertook research, ideas generation, virtual prototyping and solution evaluation, resulting in a diverse range of practical solutions for new products, digital platforms and services to help combat loneliness in the Elderly and Gen-Z populations.

Brunel is looking to collaborate with organisations to develop a range of challenge opportunities during summer 2021 and again from the Autumn onwards. Challenges should be sufficiently broad to engage a multi-disciplinary approach.