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MatrixHappen: Our Educational Product Innovation Challenge

MatrixHappen was a meeting of two ideas. The first was a product incubator for the general public. Over the years we have had all sorts of people walk through our doors with their own product ideas; some of these have been truly bizarre but many others have been amazing and become very successful.

 

We decided to formalise this and establish a platform for budding entrepreneurs. If someone, anyone, had an idea for a product we would use our knowledge, network and resources to bring it to life. Literally to make it happen. Our focus turned towards working with schools; where else could you find such a wonderful source of ideas unfettered by adult experience and a group of people more likely to challenge us?

 

Thus, our local educational Innovation Challenge project, MatrixHappen was born. We would give school kids access to the sort of expertise most professional inventors could only dream about and just as we would teach the children something, they would undoubtedly teach us a great deal too.

 

We introduced MatrixHappen to 1,200 children aged 11 – 16 at a secondary school in Guildford in September. We returned to the school with a team of Matrix ‘experts’ in November to deliver classroom sessions on key business areas including CSR, Finance, Sales & Marketing, Technical, Environment, Shipping and Product Design. The prospect of presenting to a classroom of kids was definitely daunting, even for those who present to our biggest clients! But, we survived and had a fantastic day chatting to them all about their ideas, our personal experience and showing them some of the products we have created over the years.

 

The Challenge: Identify a problem and then design a product to solve it

 

The Matrix team stepped up to the challenge of teaching pupils all about how we design, produce and sell our products. With this new knowledge, guidance from their workbooks and teachers and with support from teammates, they had three months to come up with an idea, design the product and present it to a panel of experts.

 

The range of different products that the students came up with were incredible and included a tracking device that can be attached to all your valuables, a sing-a-long radio for the shower that displays lyrics and is 100 % waterproof, an all-weather adjustable umbrella that morphs to protect your body in heavier weather and a personalised bag designed to help students who suffer with anxiety and depression by helping them manage and organise their day to day life at school.

 

After months of hard work, the students submitted their workbooks to be reviewed and 6 product design finalists were chosen to present their ideas to our panel of dragons. Owing to the 6  designs being so amazing, we couldn’t choose just one winner so decided to award them all winner status!

 

As a result, we can look forward to welcoming all 6 teams to our office later on in the year to spend a day in our design studio bringing their product designs to the next level. They will be spending time with each department to find out what it will take to bring their amazing ideas to market.