Design for Health

This was sponsored by the Motor Neurone Disease Association, Devices for Dignity and User-Centred Health Design which is part of the NIHR funded South Yorkshire CLAHRC (Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care).

The Design Challenge is facilitated by Julia Cassim, Visiting Senior Research Fellow of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the Royal College of Art who developed the format. The Design Challenge runs across an unbroken 24 hours, working through the night with teams made up of professional designers, people living with a chronic condition, their carers and health professionals. 2D and 3D printing facilities are made available to the teams for prototyping and preparation of presentation material.
This user-centred approach is powerful, with well-resolved concepts delivered at the end of the event. These concepts are judged by a panel of experts, who have intimate knowledge of the conditions and the design process and award the Judges Choice Award. Delegates arriving early for the conference and an invited audience also had an opportunity to vote for the ‘Devices for Dignity People’s Choice Award’.
The two chronic conditions that form the focus of the event are Cystic Fibrosis, and Motor Neurone Disease. Both of these conditions have a very great impact on a person’s life, but in different ways. Designing interventions, products or environments that facilitate maximum wellbeing for people living with these conditions is very challenging. Bringing people together to work on a difficult problem, and leveraging their individual experiences and knowledge is a valuable way to create a new approach to a complex situation (whether that’s a new product, health service, or even an environment).
The four team leaders were John Bateson, Jim Dawton, Gianpaolo Fusari and Yuni Lee. They were joined by Consultant Neurologists, Occupational Therapists, Nurse Specialists and 5 designers for each team from a total of 10 different countries including Argentina, Denmark, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Portugal and South Korea.
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