Stannah encourage local students to explore the possibilities of design and innovation
For the second year running through their Joseph Stannah Foundation, Stannah have hosted a innovative full day workshop with year 9 & 10 students from three local Andover schools. The Joseph Stannah Foundation was set up in celebration of 150 years of business and supports STEM students in every stage of education.
Green Meets Grey is designed to encourage creativity and problem solving. It brings together school or college students to help equip them with work ready skills, by matching them with business mentors. The benefit to a company hosting an event is to get a better understanding of the expectations of young people. The day was organised by Louize Clarke from ConnectTVT in partnership with Mark Mason from Design Thinking. The Stannah STEM ambassadors come from a variety of disciplines; engineers, apprentices, university placement students and many others too.
Louize Clarke was keen to stress to the students that all ideas are welcome “there’s no such thing as a silly idea when you’re brainstorming, we encourage wild ideas, you never know where they will lead”
Over 35 students from Winton Academy, John Hanson and Harrow Way schools took part in a series of tasks focussing on designing a way of getting safely up and downstairs for a specific persona. These personas included Barbara Windsor who has Alzheimers to Alex Zanadi a double amputee F1 driver. The students (Greens) were split into six groups each with mentors (Greys) from Stannah. The mentors guided them through a typical design process first by empathising with the particular needs of their persona. To help with this Stannah had created an empathy zone to give the students an understanding of what it might be like to live with different conditions. By donning items like gloves to simulate arthritis or glasses to simulate sight loss or cataracts, students were given simple task to complete such as undoing buttons or opening a bottle. It made them appreciate how difficult life could be for the people they were designing for. Through brainstorming each team then had to work through their ideas before coming up with a proposal to present to a team of Stannah dragons. Ideas varied from emergency stop features to voice activation and rotational footplates to help get on and off a stairlift.
Head of the Stannah dragons, Jon Stannah, Group Managing Director, was impressed with the presentations “There have been some really interesting ideas. A lot of engineering is about creativity, you need to think about the person who is going to use the product you design and the students today have certainly done that. We want to encourage them to study STEM subjects to be enthusiastic about a STEM related career”.
Picking a winning team was difficult but in the end an all girl team from John Hanson took first place. Their motto was “every journey with us is an experience” and Stannah hope that the day proved to be a journey they all enjoyed and benefited from.