Everybody has an idea at some stage in their lives but most people don't get the chance to fulfil it... Spark gives you the help to bring that idea to fruition.

Wayne Hemingway MBE

The current round of Design Council Spark has now closed. Successful shortlisted applicants have been notified and the finalists will be announced at the end of the programme in September.

We will be announcing the next call for applications later in the year and in the meantime you can join the #SparkInnovation conversation on Twitter and Facebook. For regular updates, information and insights about the programme you can sign up to our Spark Newsletter here.

Overview

Here's what we look for:

Physical objects

While there are many innovation funds that support technology products, there is currently little support for physical products. Design Council Spark helps fill this gap by targeting ideas that are primarily physical objects that can be sold to companies or individuals.

UK-based

This fund is UK-focused. Applicants need to be based in the UK and intend to develop their product in the UK.

No design or invention experience necessary.

New this time around:

This year, in addition to the usual Spark programme, Design Council partnered with Arthritis Research UK. This new strand aims to encourage inventors  to develop products that will help people with arthritis to improve their quality of life and remain independent.

Funding 

Finalists invited to attend the 20-week programme will receive an initial investment of £15k and up to three of those inventions will be funded by Arthritis Research UK. At the end of the 20-week programme, each finalist can pitch for the opportunity to be awarded either a share of £150k from the Spark product innovation fund or £50k from Arthritis Research UK if their product invention is designed to assist those with arthritis or other musculoskeletal conditions.

Design Council Spark

The deadline for submissions has now passed. 

How it works

Selection process

A selection of applicants will be invited to attend a two-day workshop on 20-21 February 2016. At the end of this workshop, up to 13 applicants are selected to join the fast-track programme as Spark Finalists.

Fast-track programme

Each of the Spark Finalists receive a 20 week bespoke programme of design support, access to prototyping facilities and materials, advice on pitching and investment readiness support plus £15,000 to spend in developing their ideas. In return, finalists sign an agreement committing to donate 5% of future sales revenue of the funded product.

Showcase

At the end of the Programme, the Spark Finalists take part in presentations and demonstrations to the Design Council judges and potential investors. Up to four products are chosen to receive special Spark Awards, getting a share of £150,000 from the Spark product innovation fund or £50,000 from Arthritis Research UK if their invention is designed to assist those with arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions.

Mentors

Participants are mentored by a specially selected panel of experts who are drawn from the worlds of product development, manufacturing, entrepreneurship, branding, and IP - all the essential skills required to make product ideas and prototypes a reality.

Advice & news

Incremental vs. radical: What’s the future of product innovation? Peter Fullagar, Head of Innovation at Kinneir Dufort and advisor to Design Council, discusses the pros and cons of using both incremental and radical forms of product innovation. Peter Fullagar, Head of Innovation at Kinneir Dufort, discusses the pros and cons of incremental and radical product innovation.

Feature — 13/10/2015

Spark: overheard in 50 words Marion Gillet shares a few interesting insights she's overheard and jotted down over the course of Spark. Marion Gillet shares a few interesting insights she's overheard over the course of Spark.

Feature — 21/08/2015