Welcome to the Everyday People Design Project blog, which was set up in 2008 as part of the Open University course, ‘Innovation: Designing for a Sustainable Future’

Dealing with questions such as; how do successful innovations emerge; how do designers, technologists, managers and end-users create and develop new ideas, designs and inventions; and how are these translated into marketable products? It also looked at how innovation can be directed towards ensuring an environmentally sustainable future.  Structured into five blocks that explored various aspects of innovation, at the end of each block, students were expected to submit an assignment. In addition, central to the course, was a design project.

Children like Zak and Jeno were the inspiration for the Everday People Project.
Children like Zak and Jeno were the inspiration for the Everyday People Project.

The Everyday People Design Project blog was set up partly for user research, partly as a diary and partly as a way of keeping in touch with those who I hoped, would be kind enough to help me, with ideas, comments and feedback – thankfully there were many and I am indebted to them for their help.

Even before I started the project, I knew that I wanted my chosen design to help people with disabilities in some way, as I believe that products are often designed with no consideration of the needs of disabled people and that people who have no experience of disability, are often blissfully unaware of the issues disabled people face.  The name for the project came from a song by Sly and the Family Stone.  My father and I are diagnosed with a form of muscular dystrophy called centronuclear myopathy. I feel passionately that products should be designed to be accessible to all and that good design benefits everyone.

A number of alternative ideas were considered in the early stages of the project but it was the concept of an all terrain vehicle for a child with a physical disability which was later progressed; research undertaken by myself indicated that there was a gap in the market for an all terrain vehicle, designed specifically for a child, that would allow access to mountains, hiking trails, beaches and music festivals held in muddy fields.

One parent advised that, having searched high and low, she was unable to find a decent all-terrain motorized buggy for a child with a neuromuscular condition. She commented that scooters, are often huge cumbersome things weighing an absolute tonne, which needed a trailer just to transport them and for which children needed to be a minimum age of 14.

Adam was one of the children of this project - this image shows him on his bicycle which has supportive seating and a safety belt.
Adam was one of the children who inspired this project – this image shows him on his bicycle which has supportive seating and a safety belt.

The course was challenging to say the least but I learnt a lot and at the time of writing, had received interest from a number of people, wanting to know more about the outcomes of the project, so I am hopeful that maybe something positive will come out of my work.

To learn more, please use the links on the right, which will take you through the different stages of the project and if you are interested in learning more about the findings of the project, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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