Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Rodd Design - Ben on the Judging Panel at the 'Include' 24Hr Inclusive Design Challenge

The team at Rodd has long been associated with Inclusive Design and specifically the Helen Hamlyn Research Centre's great Inclusive Design Challenge format. However to date we have fielded participating teams and even reigned victorious as a team leader of multinational teams of academics and design professionals in both Japan and Korea, but to be asked to be part of a judging panel at this years Include Conference at London's Royal College of Art was the ultimate accolade!

The challenge format in this case was a gruelling 24 Hour design challenge by teams of international design professionals, many of whom had not met before the start of the event never mind work together! Each team was partnered with an design partner whose role was to help the team see the world through their lives.

The teams were working to a brief of 'People Power' and could use design to create inclusive opportunities for product, service, graphics or infrastructure; in fact any discipline or embodiment that they felt appropriate.

As part of a panel of judges consisting of Michael Wolff (Chair), Emily Campbell - RSA, Lee Bazalgette - Factory Design, John Corcoran - Wire Design we had the task of selecting the evenings winner from six truly inspiring solutions. Ideas ranged from a zone of urban tranquillity to an app for recording snippets of sound and image that served as a social way finding tool. Each team had adopted the user centric approach with ease and delivered beautifully executed solutions under some pretty extreme conditions - however the audience prize went to team '10 Collective' and their concept 'Memo'. A tech solution which embeds metaphorical DNA onto your 'Chip and Pin' card - which allows the interface on the receptacle device to adjust to suite your needs, opportunities such as language, service customisation as well as the more obvious eyesight impairment were proposed.

However the judging panel felt that 'The Centre for Smoother Journeys' with their multi-format, smart phone game, 'Street Wheels' was the overall winner. The team had spent the day with a wheel chair user to understand the city from his perspective. Rather than address the literal urban infrastructure they chose to embrace skill of the 'wheeler' and created a cityscape game that allows players to select a wheel vehicle of their choice.

The challenge is to tour the city in the fastest time possible, and in doing so, the player gains points, powers to improve the landscape (both for speed improvements and structures that can be used for performing stunts and tricks) and access to new wheels of their choice, each requiring more skill than the last with which to travel around. Not unsurprisingly the top of the difficulty pinnacle was the wheel chair.

The panel commended the positive, fun and imaginative twist on disability.

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