In late February/early March 2017, a three day Creativity Sandpit took place in the inspiringly clean-aired setting of Wokingham. The event involved first-year PhD students from High Performance Embedded & Distributed Systems (HiPEDS) CDT at Imperial, the Urban Sciences CDT at Warwick and our Medical Imaging CDT, with the latter delegation comprising of Casper da Costa-Luis, James Bland, Jemma Brown, Adela Capilnasiu, Jessica De Faria Dafflon, and Esther Puyol Anton.

Representatives from companies including Ocado, Nimbus Property Technology and Arup provided real-world challenges for mixed groups of students to collectively tackle. A range of different activities in groups of various sizes allowed us to engage with all attendees.

From amid an abundance of post-it notes, marker pens, A2 sheets of paper, and unlimited hot beverages (but very little time to relax in-between) arose several pitches for new products and solutions. These were so convincing that the industrial representatives vowed to take our suggestions back to their respective companies.

The event was rewarding on many levels – working with other research students from a range of backgrounds and with a diverse range of skill sets resulted in a problem-solving approach that was both methodically focused as well as firmly aware of the broader picture. We formulated new perspectives and forged new friendships, and are thankful for the hard work of the event organisers.