Presenting the Enabled by Design-athon Talks

On Friday 2nd November the Enabled by Design-athon, a two day event bringing together people from the Enabled by Design […]

On Friday 2nd November the Enabled by Design-athon, a two day event bringing together people from the Enabled by Design community and beyond, kicked off at Ravensbourne, London. Day 1 started with a series of inspiring talks addressing a wide range of design opportunities to help mainstream accessibility including new materials, new technologies and new ways of working.

We’ll be reflecting on the discussions and ideas from the event in later blog posts, but for now, here’s all you need to know about the speakers and their talks. Videos of the talks will be following this post soon, so watch this space…

The talks were beautifully captured in Ross Atkin’s visual notes, which you can check out below (click on the image to zoom in):

Visual Notes: Ross Atkin @rossatkin 

Photo: Murtz Abidi @murtz_abidi 

You can view more images from the event here on the Enabled by Design-athon 2012 Flickr group pool


Denise Stephens (AKA @enabledby) – Founder of Enabled by Design

First up was our very own Denise Stephens with an honest introduction to assistive technology, how it makes her feel and the lack of choice available to people who depend on it to help them live as independently as possible. She challenged attendees to ‘Design for All’ and make accessibility intrinsic, while exploring how new materials, technology and ways of working can move us from the mass market to customisation for the masses.

“Many assistive products haven’t changed in over 40 years”

Denise Stephens, Founder of Enabled by Design 


James Carrigan (from @sugru) – Co-founder of sugru & Fixperts

James Carrigan then told the story of sugru (the self-setting rubber for fixing, modifying and improving your stuff). He encouraged people to ‘fix’, adapt and take ownership of objects others have designed and made. He then spoke of how this fixing ethos lead to a whole new project called Fixperts.

“If a product isn’t fit for purpose, reimagine it with sugru”

James Carrigan sugru  

Tom Hulme (AKA @thulme) – Design Director at IDEO & Founder of OpenIDEO

The brains behind the open innovation platform OpenIDEO, Tom spoke about why there’s never been a better time to run a Design-athon and how we can design so that great ideas emerge in 24 hours. He related the Design-athon to an offline/analogue equivalent to OpenIDEO with experienced users to codesign with.

“We are all human. In the next 24 hours, it’s our job to empathise”

Tom_Hulme, Design Director IDEO and Founder OpenIDEO  

Robin Wilson (from @innovate_uk) – Lead Technologist at Technology Strategy Board

The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) then took the opportunity to launch the briefing document for their recently announced £7m additive manufacturing (3D Printing) competition at the Enabled by Design-athon. TSB are looking for young, creative talent to pioneer new ways to exploit this technology and set up new businesses. You can read the full competition brief here.

“Additive manufacturing is out there already. We want to take it further, much further”

robin wilson TSB  

Rob Phillips (AKA @rob_dphillips) – Product Design Consultant & PhD candidate in Open Design & Application at Brunel University

Finally, Rob Phillips spoke of how democratised design and digital manufacturing can be used to produce products by exploring new approaches to design. The technology is just a “clever pen” and should be used appropriately to develop products that previously were too expensive or too hard to distribute.

“Now we all have access to design, we better get good at it”