Innovating together as nimble bees


Students of the Howest-Industrial Design Center score high amongst designer schools on the online design platform ‘Nimble Bee’: in the meantime, P&G and ABInBev test positive in 2015. The project is directed by the Flemish company CogniStreamer.



The Nimble Bee design competition

For the second time CogniStreamer organized the closed, online competition for customers, such as P&G and ABInBev, between October 2014 and March 2015. A tight moderation controlled by CogniStreamer and the participating companies, several design assignments to choose from, abundant co-creation and lavish rewards,… all of these factors made many students pens draw faster and better.

The Nimble Bee competition is a closed platform on invitation for designer students; so, it is not a public design competition. It is a design competition with real-life challenges; students delve into problems which participating companies are confronted with at the very moment, such as e.g. product and packaging improvements. The emphasis is put on iterations with intermediary test moments, both with the companies and the end consumers. There is team formation amongst 100%, and the project is gaining more and more international interest (Asia, India, …), both at the side of the companies and the designer schools.

Large companies are willing to take some effort to question the ideas of both young designers and test panels. Co-creation as a tool gains ever more ground with companies, provided it can be effected within some kind of controlled chaos, or in the scope of defined open innovation, as in the Nimble Bee community. End consumers of ABInBev and P&G also went online in 2015 to vote, after that the students had dropped their definitive concepts. All participants have access to a lot of information, but sign a non-disclosure agreement as ABInBev and P&G are further developing the winning ideas into market-ready products.


Strong contribution from Flemish design education

The Industrial Product design education program of Howest (The Hogeschool West-Vlaanderen) is known for its international design strategy, the cooperation with companies, innovative work form and creativity tools and methods. These 4 elements masterly merge in the Nimble Bee co-creation community.

The Flemish students did not score badly in 2015: 2 times gold, 3 times silver and some bronze, good for an overall prize pool of 14,000 Euros (out of the 24,000 Euros in all that was available). This year, competition came from designer students from Spain (IED Madrid; Mondragon University), Italy (Politecnico di Milano), US (Appalachian State University; Cincinnati) and Mexico (TEC Monterrey). During the competition, the students could constantly have a look at each other’s work. To see that another person has also thought of your idea stimulates you to take other actions: you raise the bar even further, you think of something else, or you work together with a foreign soulmate, or you design a product for P&G and ABInBev together. Fascinating.

It is not a coincidence that the Howest students took 7 out of the 12 prizes. For the past 10 years, the training programme has made huge investments in the development of its own creativity method with quickly applicable tools for its students. This research project, named INNOWIZ – Innovation Wizard – is the result of many years of applied research and optimization, and meanwhile also has found its way to the industry under the form of services (



The training program trains designers providing them the technical basic knowledge, empathy for the consumers of products and the urge for design. Last year, the training program obtained a good report from the VLUHR, The Flemish-Dutch accreditation organ within the education department that has 10 years in 2015.

From 22 until 27 June included, it opens the doors to its Industrial Design Center. The busiest week of the year is filled with exhibitions, events & recruitment.


CogniStreamer puts companies on the road via digital platform to collaborative innovation and co-creation. With headquarters in Kortrijk, this company is also active in the US and India. For a Nimble Bee demo in Kortrijk, do not hesitate to contact us for an appointment.


Contact Howest Industrial Product Design: Dries Laperre, research coordinator IPO,, 0032 495 18 85 20

Contact CogniStreamer: Domien Delputte, innovation architect, nimble, 0032 56 36 21 97