ingenuity18, inspire, sky

January 5, 2018, by The Ingenuity Lab

Ingenuity18: Why is creativity important?

“The volatility of the graduate job market, uncertainty of how Brexit and other political developments will implicate academic research and institutions, and the responsibility we have as innovators means there is no time like the present to create our own futures, both as individuals and as an institution” – Professor Shearer West, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham.

It’s so easy to fall into the January blues, and spend the month wishing you could just go into hibernation and avoid work/exams/coursework/life, counting down the days until the Easter break. However, with the Ingenuity18 application deadline fast approaching, now is more important than ever that we find a bit of motivation, get our brains in gear, and use our creativity.

Why should I apply?

Ingenuity18 is only for students and alumni with business ideas, right? Wrong.

This year, we are welcoming teams from APM staff, students, alumni and ECRs. As well as supporting students and alumni with business ideas, we also want to develop the ways in which the University thinks and operates.

ingenuity18, shearer west, university of nottingham, vice-chancellorCreativity is so important to The University of Nottingham. As an institution, we have a long history of and commitment to research that has real-world impact. As the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Shearer West has said:

“The innovation in research, teaching and the careers of our graduates is what drives us to become a world-leading institution. 

Events like Ingenuity18 provide us all with an opportunity to come together, collaborate, and come up with the ideas and solutions that can continue our trajectory as a global, creative institution.

Our status as a leading institution in higher education means we have a responsibility to continually push boundaries, drive change, and challenge perceptions about what can be achieved. Through enabling the University community at all levels to think and act in creative ways, we can realise new opportunities, new paths, and new ventures”

The early stages of Ingenuity18 will allow you to develop your skills in thinking creatively and entrepreneurially, and gain inspiration from world-class thinkers and leaders in innovation.

Who’s going to be at the Ideas Summit?

Kajal odedra, ingenuity18,, uk, ingenuity18 speaker, ideas summitThe Ingenuity18 Ideas Summit is happening on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th February on Jubilee Campus. The two days will be filled with keynote speeches, interactive sessions, and opportunities to be challenged on how you think, and the impacts of those thoughts. Sessions include:

  • Ian Filby, CEO of DFS
    • Ian will be discussing the value of physical, emotional and spiritual approaches to innovation and creativity
  • Kajal Odedra, UK Director of
    •  Kajal will be discussing the future of society and politics, and the opportunities for the University community to shape it
  • Rohan Gunatillake, Creative and Executive Lead of Mindfulness Everywhere
    • Rohan will be exploring ethical and mindful design in technology
  • Sarah Smith, Director of Indigo Leadership
    • Sarah will lead an interactive session called ‘Into the Big Outdoors’, which will give you experience in innovative methods to come up with creative answers
  • Dr. Deborah Benham, Co-founder of 8 Shields UK
    • Deborah will be exploring the ways in which our innovation can be informed by nature
  • Professor Katherine Royse, Science Director in GeoAnalytics and Modelling at British Geological Survey 
    • Katherine will be leading an Ingenuity Live session, where participants will collaborate to provide innovative solutions to the challenges the 21st Century throws at BGS

We’ll be announcing the full list in tomorrow’s blog, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled!

The Ingenuity18 Ideas Summit sounds great, but how will I know what to put in my competition proposal?

ingenuity18, develop, innovation diplomaThe Ingenuity18 Innovation Diploma will be open to all alumni, APM staff and ECRs that are taking part in Ingenuity18. It will be a 5-week evening course, run by Dr David Park and a range of industry experts, and will feature a condensed version of the Level 3 undergraduate module offered to student participants. The knowledge gained through the diploma will be transferable to business plan proposals, suggestions for organisational change, and IP-related research proposals.

“The Ingenuity18 Innovation Diploma provides a valuable advantage for those who will be at the heart of innovation effort in their companies” – Professor Jim Crilly, former SVP at Unilever

This activity aims to provide participants with the skills, knowledge and practical experience required to respond to the challenges involved in managing, commercialising, and implementing ideas for innovation. Not only will these skills help make your competition proposal stronger, but develop qualities that can help you flourish in a range of journeys.

“Ingenuity18 provides a golden opportunity for people to connect with each other, challenge themselves to think in new and different ways and then articulate their ideas in ways that inspire others and motivate them to get on board. These are qualities that enable people to build networks, seek out opportunities and flourish in a range of working environments” – Dr Nalayini Thambar, Director of Careers and Employability Service at The University of Nottingham

Further details about the Ingenuity18 Innovation Diploma will be sent out to all applicants once the deadline on Friday 26 January passes.

How do I get close to the £100,000+ prize fund?

ingenuity18, competeFollowing the Ingenuity18 Innovation Diploma, participants will be encouraged to enter the Ingenuity18 competition. Entrants will be split into three strands: students and alumni; ECRs; and staff.

Proposals from our UK, Malaysia and China campuses will be judged by a panel of independent judges to determine the finalists for each strand.

Successful teams will then be invited to pitch in front of the Ingenuity18 judging panel, who will determine the winners of the various prizes available to them. Student and alumni business plans are eligible for £100,000 worth of prizes; while ECRs and staff teams will also have their own individual prize funds.

Winners will be announced at the Ingenuity18 Gala Dinner on Tuesday 14 April.

I know I’m not going to win, so what’s the point in even entering?

Wrong mindset!

Only 40 teams will be put through to the Ingenuity18 finals, and with over 200 teams expected to enter, there will be many teams who are not invited to pitch in the finals. A past winner, and now successful entrepreneur, entered the Ingenuity competition and its predecessor six years in a row before even reaching the finals. For many, Ingenuity18 will be just the start of your journey. For next stage businesses, research proposals, and ideas for innovation, it will help strengthen your existing strategy and operations.

There will be incredible value added to your ideas through the Ideas Summit and Innovation Diploma, and this alone can open new doors for other sources of investment too.

Remember: you have until midnight (GMT) on Friday 26 January to get your applications in. Stay ahead of the game, and familarise yourself with the application form before its too late.

If you have any queries about Ingenuity18, please contact Elizabeth Smith on

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