April 27, 2015

Direct Line and the #EverydayFix

Earlier this month, Unity played a hand in Direct Line’s #EverydayFix event at Makerversity’s HQ based in the vaults at Somerset House. The brief was simple – find smart, novel solutions to everyday emergencies.

Building on its position as a ‘fixer’, the brand invited seven multidisciplinary teams of designers, makers and creatives to the Makerversity studio, to develop and pitch their fix to an expert panel.

A national survey conducted by Direct Line highlighted the top ten everyday emergencies; these problems were presented to the teams –

1. Not being able to sleep (46%)
2. Losing your keys (37%)
3. Being stuck in traffic when already late (35%)
4. Losing an important document (33%)
5. Nowhere to park (32%)
6. Printer not working when needed (31%)
7. Running out of battery (31%)
8. Being out of toilet paper whilst on the loo (30%)
9. Dealing with machine operated customer service (26%)
10. Forgetting your bank card (25%)

The 48-hour session resulted in 10 brilliant ideas, several less brilliant ideas, plenty of desk-naps, the consumption of gallons of coffee and, perhaps most strangely, grapes by the kilo.

Following the marathon makeathon came the presentation. Hosted by Kieron Kirkland, ideas were showcased in three-minute demonstrations to the expert panel, before judges were invited to interrogate the innovators. Amongst others the panel included Beatrice Pembrook, Director of Creative Economy at the British Council, and Mark Champkins, Inventor in Residence at the Science Museum.

The judges retired to a soundproof room to whittle down the forward-thinking ideas to a shortlist of only three;
• Forget Me Lock – ONN Studio – the device was built to reassure home-owners and renters alike that the door is left locked behind them.
• Nipper – Impulse – the world’s smallest phone charger configured to draw power from any household battery.
• Snooze – Instruments – an alarm clock connected to mobile which silences notifications and ensures a good night’s sleep.

Ideas with less of a ‘fix factor’ included ‘Airbnb for driveways’, an ‘auto-destruct briefcase for important documents’, a ‘medication reminder network’ and a ‘hat nav’ system to direct cyclists.