Monday, 10 August 2015

24hr Design Challenge

24 hours of continuous work (well, maybe with a short break) is hard work.

As a facilitator, I had the luxury of watching the whole event unfold without having to dive in and do the tough job of creating a meaningful piece of Participatory Design over a single day.

Genuine Participatory Design - where everyone involved can have a meaningful impact on the outcome - requires mutual learning. This means that everyone involved in the process learns something from the other people taking part. For the designers, this meant learning something from the lived experience of the Design Partners who live with Parkinson's; and for the people living with Parkinson's (along with clinicians and their professional experience) they see how the design process can move rapidly to propose a 'new future'.

The event was a great success, and I would very much like to thank all who took part in the challenge - without whom none of the excellent work shown below would have even happened!

Thanks also to Professor Julia Cassim of the Kyoto Design Lab for co-facilitating the event. This event was a collaboration between Lab 4 Living (at Sheffield Hallam University Art & Design Research Centre) and the Kyoto Design Lab (at Kyoto Institute of Technology).

Team 1 - Pace
Emily Boniface, Peter MacQueen, Luke Davis, Ross Taylor, Sharon Kerr & Duncan Kerr (Design Partners), Kyoko Murata, Amina Pereno, Matt Simms, Sudhakar Nadkarni, Anuja Agarwal, Paula Howland (Clinician), and Ben Mortimer (Team Lead).

Freezing is a physical symptom experienced by some people living with Parkinson's. It often happens during a repetitive task (such as walking), and has been described as 'having your feet glued to the ground'. It causes considerable anxiety and is perceived as deeply stigmatising by those who experience it - as the effect is not well known or understood by the general population.

Team 1 came up with a low-cost concept to help manage Freezing - by taking a genuinely Inclusive approach to design they created a product that has applications beyond Parkinson's alone - the product is directly applicable to athletes. Team 1 created Pace - a personal metronome, easily configured by the user - with even the packaging and branding designed by the team in 24 hours. Part of the presentation included the video below.

Team 2 - SlowGo
Jessica Fox, Lynn Telford & Rick Telford (Design Partners), John Bateson (Team Lead), Igor Dydykin, Penny Tiffney, Nick Dulake, Lígia Lopes, Lee Credgington, and Sandy Walker (not pictured - Ragini Mohanty)

Team 2 took a markedly different direction from the other two teams, in that they designed an experience - a piece of service design that slowed the pace of certain activities. Slowness is one of the main symptoms of Parkinson's, and at a supermarket checkout, busy café, or airport security (to name a few examples) this causes significant anxiety and stigma. SlowGo is a service with a brand that is independent of supermarket providers, cafés and airport security operators - a service provider that is subscribed to by those operators to entice people who appreciate having a bit more time to complete these tasks.
SlowGo is inclusive - it benefits families with toddlers, people with disabilities, older people, or even just people who don't feel like rushing.

SlowGo won the JRI Orthopaedics Judge's award for the innovative approach shown over the 24hr Design Challenge.

 Team 3 - PulsePal

Charlotte MacRae, Thomas Fisher, Laura Malan, Valarie Carr (Team Lead), Hester van Zuthem, Heath Read, Claire Keeley (Clinician), Chris Iveson, Ali Finlayson, and Jane Finlayson (Design Partners)

Team 3 developed PulsePal, a hardware / software combination that aimed to improve the self-management of Freezing for those who live with Parkinson's. It is testament to the problem that freezing poses that two of the three teams competing chose to focus on it!

The hardware proposed by Team 3 included a technology to gently squeeze the wearer's arm (simulating a person's grip), as well as vibrate. The device pairs with a smartphone, allowing customisation of the vibration strength and frequency, as well as being able to record ancillary information about freezing incidents... to allow the wearer to sport patterns.

Team 3 won the Devices for Dignity People's Choice award - voted for by the delegates of the Design 4 Health conference.

Written by Dr Matt Dexter, Sheffield Hallam University

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