Innovating through Inclusive Design
Hong Kong, 31 August 2008
This one-day design workshop was organised by the Helen Hamlyn Centre, in collaboration with The British Council Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Design Association (HKDA). It was held at Innocentre, the HKDA's headquarters in Kowloon.
The aim of the workshop was to bring together designers and participants with no previous experience of inclusive design, and disabled people. The theme was 'smart wearables' - clothing or products aimed at the mainstream marketplace but inspired by the needs of the disabled people who attended the workshop.
A range of professionals from organisations including the Hong Kong Jockey Club, VTech Communications, Philips Design, IDT Technology, Tuen Mun Hospital and some of the design schools in Hong Kong.
The workshop began with a presentation by the workshop facilitator Julia Cassim (Helen Hamlyn Centre) about inclusive design and its potential for design innovation in intelligent wearables. Participants then took part in an exercise where they were encouraged to think laterally and make structures using pasta and tape.
They were divided into four teams. A British Council Young Advocate helped to brainstorm and visualise the designs. The brief was to design an innovative wearable product inspired by the needs of their design partner with mainstream appeal and market potential.
The results were: a proposal for a wearable protective device; high performance swimwear with an integrated iPod; a modular pocket system and a reconfigured long cane to enhance independent mobility for people with visual impairments; and a wearable cushion and folding rain cape.
As Matt White said "Once you get designers thinking about how such a product can be cool, you get an explosion of ideas."