Millennium Products set out to find examples of the best in British design, creativity and innovation - and it came up with more than 1,000 products and services.
The initiative was launched by Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1997, with businesses and other organisations invited to submit products and services for judging by a panel of judges drawn from design, business, science and the arts.
To attain Millennium Products status, products and services had to:
- Open up new opportunities
- Challenge existing conventions
- Be environmentally responsible
- Demonstrate the application of new or existing technology
- Solve a key problem
- Show clear user benefits.
As well as using these criteria, the judges were also asked to choose only those they would be proud to call Millennium Products.
Of the 4,000 products and services submitted, 1,012 were chosen and announced in a series of events ending in December 1999, where Tony Blair again acted as host.
The stories behind the products and services were told on the Design Council website, used in events and publications and also in learning materials for schools and universities.
Millennium Products exhibitions toured the world, attracting 300,000 visitors at locations in four continents, and they formed the basis of custom-built showcases in more than 30 embassies, high commissions and Government buildings, while the Foreign Secretary's office featured its own display for visiting dignitaries.
The initiative attained a high level of awareness, securing media coverage worth the equivalent of £13million in advertising spend in the UK alone, where there were nearly 5,000 articles in national papers, regional papers and trade magazines. There was also considerable interest from national and regional broadcast media