Around 1,200 high school students across 50 UAE schools are participating in DIDI Project Design Space, an annual grassroots initiative to introduce design to a new generation by Dubai’s newest university, the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI).
Through the six month long after-school project, DIDI Project Design Space offers student teams the an opportunity to work on real design projects for actual clients. This year, students received design briefs from Expo 2020 Dubai, the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region.
The university provides the project curriculum, teacher-training and free weekend workshops encompassing topics such as design thinking, pitching skills and how to create a prototype. Companies such as Adidas, IBM, Alserkal Avenue and Splash have supplied briefs to the students. Working in small teams with the help of counsellors, various schools have taken on the challenge to work in their own time to address the briefs from the local and international partners.
Selected teams and their projects will have to go through the semi final stage followed by the grand finals, during which they will pitch their ideas to the clients.
Through the after-school programme, DIDI aims to reach out to all children, regardless of background or geographical location and provide them with the opportunity to experience design and innovation.
“I am constantly amazed and inspired by our DIDI Project Design Space students,” says DIDI Associate Dean, Hani Asfour. “The empathy the students have for the world they live in is wonderful. Seeing such user-centric thinking students defies the stereotype of an indifferent and entitled generation. This is very encouraging, and not surprising given the focus the UAE has on innovation that will change the world,”
In its second iteration this year, DIDI Project Design Space is poised to expand regionally, aiming to inspire more than 2,000 students.