To celebrate its 20th anniversary Nikkei Design , Japan's influential monthly design magazine invited the Helen Hamlyn Centre to organise a Design Innovation workshop on the Challenge model as part of a Design Innovation 2007 symposium and exhibition hosted by Tokyo University .
Mike Woods of Tangerine , Nina Warburton of Alloy and David Fisher from Seymourpowell led teams made up of young in-house designers from the sponsoring companies, engineering students from Tokyo University. Each team was partnered with a young disabled user. The teams worked to an open-ended inclusive brief given on the first day of the symposium: 'Design a new generation mainstream product or service that actively addressed the needs and aspirations of their key user and would enhance their working or private lives.'
The designers had to leave their company affiliations behind, work with their counterparts from rival companies and participants from different disciplines, all under the leadership of a designer from the different cultural context of the UK. The teams used four languages to communicate: sign language, English, Japanese and Korean.
The three users who worked with the teams provided the lateral viewpoints of sight, hearing and mobility impairment. How they routinely adopt to the daily failure of the designed world to take their needs into account gave the design teams a treasure hous of new creative ideas. The experiences of these consumers with disabilities took the teams outside their usual comfort zones.
Team C, under the leadership of David Fisher won the prizes for best idea and best presentation.