European Ambassador for Creativity & Innovation
Multi award winning designer Damini Kumar is the European Ambassador for Creativity & Innovation, a prestigious ongoing role which she was appointed by the EU Commission in January 2009 to foster the principles and value of design, innovation and creativity at all levels of European society. She co-authored an EU Manifesto on Creativity & Innovation together with her fellow ambassadors (who included Edward De Bono, Philippe Starck, Erno Rubik, Ken Robinson, Richard Florida and Jean-Philippe Courtois) which was presented to President Barroso, President of the EU Commission, and is being used in current EU strategies.
Damini is an international expert in creative thinking, design thinking, user centred design, product design & innovation and continues to stimulate an interest in these areas as she believes it is critical to the future of the economy. She is regularly asked to judge competitions (including the Presidents of Ireland’s ‘Your Country Your Call Competition 2010’, The Dyson Design Award), advise many organisations including the European Parliament, gives keynote addresses at many international conferences & events and also provides training in design & creative thinking so that any person or organisation can use these skills for problem solving in their own environment.
Damini’s many awards include winning the Microsoft WMB Woman In Technology Award 2010 (IRL), Irish Tatler Woman In Innovation Award 2010 (IRL), being commended by Her Majesty The Queen as one of the top 100 British female achievers of all time (UK), The Young British Female Inventor of the Year (UK), The Asian Young Achiever of the Year (UK) and she has also been listed as one of the “Top 100 Women in the World” by Cosmopolitan magazine.
Damini has received huge worldwide media recognition which she has used productively and has devoted her professional career so far to industry and academia in order to teach, promote and inspire creativity, design, entrepreneurship and innovation in others. She appears regularly in the press, magazines, radio, TV (including news programmes, TV documentaries & chat shows) and she also presented a radio show on science and invention for the BBC World Service.
A UK native she graduated from Imperial College London with a Bachelors Honours Degree in Mechanical Engineering and later completed two Masters of Science Degrees. Damini is also now a certified De Bono trainer which enables her to teach the techniques and tools of design & creativity thinking to any person or organisation so they can creatively solve problems, design & innovate.
Damini's lifelong ambition was to be an inventor and since the age of five she has been actively designing solutions to problems that she has encountered. In 1998 Damini invented the world's first non-drip spout, an award winning innovation which disproved years of scientific research into the ubiquitous problem of the dripping teapot. The worldwide patented invention is simple and can be applied to any pouring spout from teapots to petrol pumps and can also be mass manufactured in any material.
Damini design career has been very diverse and she has worked for various design companies, including Conran, designing new products and is currently designing ethically produced handcrafted fashion accessories for a new online retail shop www.boutiqua.com. She was also the event director for the BBC Tomorrow’s World Roadshow which entailed organising a 4-week exciting Science event for 100,000 children before being headhunted to Ireland in 2004 to work for Media Lab Europe (European partner of Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
Damini is currently the Director of Design & Creativity at National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUIM) where she fosters these skills across the whole university and lectures students in these areas. She joined NUIM in 2007 she where she successfully started, directed and completed setting up a brand new BSc honours degree in Product Design. Whilst at NUI Maynooth she also created and organised ‘Imaginate’ – an exciting design competition encouraging creativity to all secondary school students across Ireland. Her objective for this very successful competition was to allow students to express their creativity in a local and purposeful context at an early age and engage with it on a more continuous basis in their everyday lives.
Damini believes anything is achievable if you believe in it and the recipe for great innovation is one-part ingenuity, one-part creativity, one-part motivation and finally always to remember the user throughout the process!