Enabled by Design is a social business run on a not-for-profit basis for the benefit of its community.

It’s all about people-powered products and services:

Enabled by Design is a social business and community of people who are passionate about Design for All. We believe that good design can support people to live as independently as possible, by helping to make day-to-day tasks that little bit easier and in turn more manageable.

Enabled by Design’s work focuses on doing the following:

  • We provide our community with a space to share and talk about independent living products and services, already available on the market, and look at how these might be improved
  • We’re interested in exploring how people can “hack” or modify things to make them more accessible and easier to use
  • We’re working to develop relationships with designers, so that our community can help to inform the designs of the future with the aim of mainstreaming accessibility

Enabled by Design was inspired by co-founder Denise Stephens’ experiences following her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2003. Having suffered a series of disabling relapses and hospital admissions, Denise was assessed by an occupational therapist (OT) and given a range of assistive equipment to help her to be as independent as possible. Although this equipment made a huge difference to her life, she became frustrated as her home started to look more and more like a hospital. But Denise had an idea…

In April 2008, Enabled by Design was chosen to take part in the first ever Social Innovation Camp. A weekend long competition, Social Innovation Camp brings together people with ideas of how to solve specific social issues, with web developers, designers and those with business expertise to develop online solutions to real world challenges. At the end of the weekend after a Dragons’ Den-style pitching competition, Enabled by Design was awarded first prize as the ‘project with most potential’.

Since then Enabled by Design has been chosen to be part of the independent living stream of the Innovation Exchange’s Next Practice Programme, as well as a Level 1 and Level 2 Better Net UnLtd (Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs) award winner.

Denise and her co-founder, Dominic Campbell (also founder of government consultancy and social innovation incubator FutureGov), continue to work hard to spread the word about Enabled by Design and its goals, building a diverse community of people with an active interest in accessibility and design that supports independent living.


Enabled by Design in the media:

– Society Guardian: Style counsel (front page) – 18th March 2009

– Guardian supplement – Social pioneers: Playtime for ideas – 18th March 2009

– Disability Now: Designs for living (web watch feature) – May 2009

– Disability Product News: Looking good (double page spread) – May 2009

– Community Care: Website Focus – July 2009

– Arthritis Care’s No Limits: Design for life –  August/September 2009

– BBC Technology websiteSocial media ‘could transform public services’ – November 2009

– NCVO case study: Enabled by Design – November 2009

– Design Week: Enabled by Design event looks at ageing and disability – 15th June 2010

– MS Matters: Style guide (double page spread) – September/October 2010

– Thiis (The Homecare Industry Information Service): A different take on design (three page spread) – November 2010

– West Sussex County Times: Design plugs gap for elderly – 27th January 2011

– OTnews: The value of inclusive design and assistive technology – April 2011

– Thiis: Design disappointment (two page article written with Nikki Chapman) – June 2011