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Episode 29. Approaching functionality creatively with Sarah Giblin

Updated: Mar 2, 2022

A couple of weeks ago, an article caught my attention on the BBC website. It was the story of how a Mexican doctor had got in touch with the British company making the backpack he’d been using for a year to voice his frustration, because he couldn’t use it anymore. The coronavirus pandemic was raging and his backpack couldn’t be sterilised and taken into the hospital. Not only did the owner and creator of the bag, Sarah Giblin, respond to his message, but with his feedback, she designed in only 11 months – and during lockdown – the first backpack that can be sterilised and therefore used safely by medical staff.

This isn’t Sarah’s first invention. On her commute one day, in 2012, she noticed a problem with backpacks: the person behind you can get into it. The solution? Remove zips on the outside of the backpack and design them neatly against your back. Her creation, RiutBag, is used daily by over 20,000 travellers around the world and has sparked an anti-theft backpack industry making travel safer for millions.

I was so impressed by Sarah’s creative response to not just one, but two specific safety needs, that I immediately invited her on the podcast to discuss her creative approach to functionality. Sarah is passionate about improving the user’s quality of life and shares her motto, function before form, the process of embracing her new ideas and bringing them to life, and her very own take on creativity. If you thought functionality isn’t creative, think again!

Visit to see the latest RiutBags Sarah has created.


A maths teacher can be creative. So can a financial adviser, a community builder, and a yoga teacher. Not to mention a speed painter, a potter, or an actor!

Creativity is everywhere and I love nothing more than to explore it in The Creativity for All Podcast, either by focusing on a theme – such as perfectionism, feeding your creative brain, or the pressure to be creative – in my solo episodes, or through my conversations with all manner of creative people.

I want to challenge the perception of creativity and, in the process, debunk many myths attached to it: it's painful, for artists and the chosen few, etc.

My guests and I are keen to zoom in and dissect the origin of an idea, the impulse that makes us engage with our own creativity, with the hope that it will inspire listeners to get creative too.

My podcast is designed for anyone who’s already being creative, or is tempted to use their creativity, in particular those of you who think they are not creative or can never be. I would love to change your mind!

The Creativity for All Podcast is sponsored by Blue as an Orange, where we believe in creativity through communication, and offer mentoring and coaching for aspiring writers and tailored language tuition for individuals and companies.

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