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Outstanding year for Product Design Students

Posted: 19 June, 2015

Four Product Design students at DIT have been winners this year in three business innovation competitions, nationally and internationally.

Pictured at the presentation of the NIBS Worldwide  Business Plan prize are Kate ui Ghallachoir, Head of School of Marketing, Jack O’Farrell, Ryan Williams, Daniel Morgan and Stephen Walsh  3rd year DIT Product Design students with their lecturer Jennifer McDonnell and Assistant Head of School Roger Sherlock

The team ‘Hear Here’ developed a stylish sensory alert device for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to give them additional security and giving real meaning to wearable technology. The device is worn on the wrist and can be used 24 hours a day to alert the wearer when a doorbell or phone rings, a baby monitor is activated, or in the case of danger such as a fire alarm. 

Daniel Morgan, Ryan Williams, Jack O’Farrell and Stephen Walsh, all third year students on DT001 Product Design, proved that being on three different continents is no obstacle to effective teamwork! While Daniel and Ryan remained in Ireland and physically represented the team and DIT in all three business competitions, Jack and Stephen were on a Semester abroad:  Stephen was attending Hong Kong Polytechnic University while Jack was in San Francisco State University. Despite the 16 hour time difference the team continued to work together using Skype to conduct regular team meetings and to participate in the competitions. 

The team’s most recent success came in May when they represented Dublin Institute of Technology in the Network of Business Schools (NIBS) Worldwide Business Plan Competition.  NIBS is a network of over 100 top business schools across the globe which ‘believe that internationalization of business and globalization of the economy are essential elements in the evolution of managerial practices’. The DIT College of Buisness is an active member of NIBS for over fifteen years and works with partner universities and their students on case study competitions, student and staff mobility and is represented on the board of NIBS.

The competition aims to stimulate entrepreneurship among students requiring teams to conceive of a new service or product offering, and then write a business plan aimed at convincing potential investors to finance the business.  The competition was held in St. Louis Missouri with the students presenting from across the globe via Skype during a special session held at the NIBS Annual Conference. The Hear Here team beat off stiff competition from Inter-American University of Puerto Rico and Satakunta University of Applied Sciences in Finland to walk away with the top prize.

Location, time differences and heavy work schedules were also no impediment to the team when it came to winning the DIT/Docklands Innovation Student Enterprise Competition for 2015. The aim of the competition is to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship among DIT students and to encourage them to take their concepts further. The team did just that, and went on to represent DIT in the Alltech Intervarsity Innovation Competition.  This competition, run by global animal health and nutrition company Alltech, celebrates business and entrepreneurship, and challenges the creative minds of university students. The team acquitted themselves very well taking home a cash prize and more importantly valuable experience and feedback from the expert industry panel.

The team are now using the valuable experience they have achieved to establish their new business ‘Augment Designs’ working with innovation support centres to seek business investment and to bring the concept to market.