Welcome to the Research Station at the Northern Design Quest
Led by Design Network North the Design Quest allows you to follow in the footsteps of a designer. You will have the opportunity to design your very own product, using products created in the region to inspire and demonstrate the design journey.
The Research Station, hosted by the Business and IP Centre, is where you can see which of your ideas have the potential to be a great product, because having a good idea is just the start. Here you can use reference books, databases and search engines to carry out some research on your ideas. Because for a great idea to become a great product it needs to be something that people want, and hopefully that lots of people want. It needs to be something that can actually be made. Everyone would like a jet-pack, but making one is a very different matter. And best of all, it should be unique. In other words there shouldn’t be anything like it already available.
If you can come up with something like that, then you have a really good chance of it being successful.
And if you have created something unique, you might want to look at patenting it. This is where you apply for protection for your product, which means that no-one else can copy it. You are then the only one that can make and sell your product, for twenty five years at least, so you have a much better chance of being successful.
In the Research Station we have examples of products that were created in the North, and because they were unique or had something special about them, they’ve become very successful.
One of the best known is the electric light bulb, that was invented by Joseph Swan, born in Sunderland in 1828. He spent the 1860s and 70s creating and developing his electric light bulb, mainly at his house in Gateshead, which was the first in the world to be lit by electric light. He finally demonstrated his electric light in Newcastle in 1879, and the lecture theatre he presented in was the first public room in the world to be lit by electric light bulbs.
He patented different elements of his invention to protect them from being copied. However at the same time, Thomas Edison in the United States was working on a very similar product. He patented his electric light at almost exactly the same time, and for a while the two companies were in dispute about which one had invented it first. Eventually they realised that they were better off working together, and formed a joint company which took the best parts of both products.
However it’s unlikely that this would have been resolved in such a positive way if Joseph Swan hadn’t protected his idea, so it’s very important to check that no one else is already doing what you would like to do.
So in the Research Station we’d like you to spend time looking at each of your ideas, so see which one has the best chance of being successful. This will depend on how many people you think would want to buy it, how much you think it might cost, whether you can actually make it work, and like Joseph Swan, check that no one else is doing it already.
Please note you can mix and match acticities from the Design Quest and you're not obliged by any means to complete all of them. They are here to give you something exciting and interesting to do over the summer.