UK Enterprise Awards 2018

100 SME NEWS / UK Enterprise Awards 2018 , UKE18093 “Overall, 2018 is a key year for Designability. Aside from celebrating the last 50 years, we are also pushing forward with ambitious plans to expand our operations so we can help even more people. We plan to move to a new facility within the next two years with exemplar accessibility and the space to work even closer with our users. We also aim to seek additional partnerships with new academic partners across the world to enlarge on our research programme, to explore new routes to market for our products and continue to influence the way products designed for those with disabilities are developed.” The organisation’s extensive history of innovation offers it many exciting chances to drive further change and development of solutions for those living with disabilities, as Alex is keen to highlight. “The use of technology offers enormous opportunities to those living with a disability; technological use can enable independence, dignity and the freedom to fulfil an individual’s full potential. We see this as a rapidly growing opportunity and Designability is well placed to champion the users in this exciting field. The UK generally and the South west of England in particular has always been world leading in technological development and this country is now recognised as experts in the use of enabling technologies.” Having recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, Designability has much to look forward to as it looks forward to a bright and invigorating future, as Alex is proud to outline in his concluding comments. Designability is a national charity transforming the lives of disabled people and those living with a long-term health conditions. We invited Alex Leach to share an insight into the passion that drives her and the rest of the team to undertake their incredible work. Best Disabled Persons Support Charity 2018 centred design which means that everything that they develop is done in response to what people tell them they need. Alex explores how this end-user focus has helped the organisation to achieve the success it enjoys today. “Since our Founders first started working alongside the University of Bath around half a century ago, Designability has remained very much part of the South West technological marketplace but over the years we have increased our national and global reach, with our products having been sold in over 25 countries across the world. To be given this award in our anniversary year is a huge honour and is a true recognition of the amazing work done every day by our talented team of engineers, designers, clinicians and support staff who enhance the lives of our beneficiaries daily. “It is our belief that our success lies in our user centred approach to developing products. Every product is in response to the needs of people living with disabilities. We work closely with disabled people, and those who support them, in every stage of our new product development process and we believe this means our technologies are more likely to be right first time. Being a charity also allows us to work in areas where commercial organisations may struggle to deliver, based on the potential return in investment prospects – perhaps where the market size is small or the cost of development too high. This means that we can create products and open new markets that otherwise would never have been created.” For more than 50 years, Designability has created products that increase dignity, confidence, and independence. The organisation is an independent charity first set-up by famous inventor and engineer, Bevan Horstmann, and local consultant surgeon, Kenneth Lloyd-Williams. It was the birth of Mr Horstmann’s daughter Nicola that made him personally aware of the severe lack of suitable medical products available to professionals. Kenneth Lloyd-Williams shared this concern and was aware that some of his colleagues were already designing some of their own surgical equipment as a result. The pair embarked on a mission to create a platform for engineers and clinicians to design and develop medical equipment. They aimed to draw on the expertise and resources of as many individuals as possible to ensure their products really worked. Supported by the University of Bath and the local health board, the two set up the charity with an Executive Director, a Projects Committee, and a Board of Governors which included our first President, Sir Barnes Wallis. Today, the company is made up of a multidisciplinary team with a passion for creating life-changing assistive technologies. Together they carry out original research and create products that help people who are facing challenges every day, in order to create better technology to be more accessible to everyone. The team follow the principles of human- Designability Company: Designability Contact: Alex Leach Address: Department D1, Wolfson Centre, R oyal United Hospital, BA1 3NG, UK Phone: 01225 824103 Website: