The Challenge Workshops is a knowledge transfer programme focusing on techniques in inclusive design practice as a tool for innovation.
Its origins can be traced to the first DBA Inclusive Design Challenge held at the Royal College of Art in 2000 – a process intended as a simple designer-friendly mechanism to transfer knowledge to design consulting firms and their industry clients about the inclusive design process and show how interaction with disabled people could be a direct route to mainstream product and service innovation.
The first DBA Inclusive Design Challenge made a major impact. It proved so influential that the Helen Hamlyn Centre has subsequently developed and extended the Challenge workshop model in various contexts, in the UK and abroad.
In January 2005, the design firm Sieberthead asked the centre to help in devising a three-day innovation workshop for staff of the multinational giant Reckitt Benkiser. Sieberthead had taken part in the DBA Challenge twice and been impressed by the creative stimulus, rapid knowledge transfer and internal teamwork that the experience engendered. They felt that the process would benefit not only designers but also those who commission design work and take new products to market. This proved to be the case.
The success of this workshop, and of a 24 Hour Inclusive Design Challenge organised as part of Include 2005, led to the development of a series based on the Challenge model. Workshops of one to three days in duration have been held in the UK, Israel and Japan. See reports of these Challenge Workshops including details of the projects.
Clive Grinyer, Director of Customer Experience, Cisco and keynote speaker at the 2006 DBA Inclusive Design Challenge Awards event, describes the impact of this flexible knowledge transfer format: ‘It is the perfect example of design thinking, building on new knowledge, placing designers in unfamiliar situations and forcing them to understand that the extremities of ability creates a powerful force for innovation.’