As we head towards the deadline for applications on 21 November, we asked Charlotte Guiver, Director of Income Generation at Arthritis Research UK, what it means to be a partner to the programme. Charlotte tells us how products developed through Design Council Spark can help support those people affected by the challenges of arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions across the UK, and why it is such a good opportunity for those with a life-changing idea to apply today.

Charlotte tells us how products developed through Design Council Spark can help support those people affected by the challenges of arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions across the UK, and why it is such a good opportunity for those with a life-changing idea to apply today.

What the aim is for Spark 2018 is and beyond from ARUK perspective?

Our vision would be that we successfully bring well-designed products to market that make a positive difference to the lives of people with arthritis.

In your opinion, what has been the best design innovation achieved through Spark so far?

This is very difficult to say, as we have seen so many brilliant designs which have the potential to make a real difference to people’s lives. That said, personally, Handy Fasteners does stick out in my mind. Handy Fasteners are magnetic clothing fasteners which can be fitted to existing shirts or blouses, removing the fiddly hassle of traditional buttons. I also think that the Workey turner has great potential too.  A simple adaptation that you can add to any key will help solve dexterity issues for all sorts of people.    

Which other organisations/sectors would you like to see involved with Design Council Spark?

Design Council Spark is about helping turn bright ideas into commercially successful products, which will make a positive impact on the lives of the people who use them. I would welcome other sectors and organisations supporting that aim, particularly those who have an interest in supporting a health and active aging agenda.  At Arthritis Research UK, we are particularly concerned with encouraging better, more inclusive design to help people with arthritis live more independent lives. But, this objective for inclusive design which encourages independence is not exclusive to our cause.

Why do Arthritis Research UK see Spark as the perfect platform to achieve innovative product solutions for those affected by arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions?

Arthritis has a huge impact on everyday life for over 10 million people living with the condition, making getting dressed or even opening a door difficult. Arthritis is not just about the almost constant pain. It is about losing independence and confidence, and not being able to live your life the way you want to.

Our work at Arthritis Research UK work has already uncovered breakthrough treatments to help people with arthritis live a better life. We also believe that better and more inclusive design of everyday products is one way in which we can make a real difference. Our partnership with Design Council Spark is one very important way in which we are accelerating the process of bringing better designed products into the lives of people with arthritis. Design Council Spark is not just about giving innovative designers much needed funding, but also ensuring they have the equally important support of mentors and experts to help nurture and grow great ideas that make a positive impact on society and those who need them

What success have you seen as a result of our Spark partnership so far?

Our true measure of success will be seeing these products get to market and in the hands of the people who need them, that will be when we see the impact.  Design Council Spark is still a young programme but has already achieved a great deal.  The partnership has helped us to bring ideas, which make the everyday lives of people with arthritis easier, to the forefront and we look forward to it growing and strengthening as the inclusive design agenda also grows within the UK.   

How would you describe Design Council Spark in 3 words?

Innovative, Inspiring, entrepreneurial.

Lastly, any Spark product ideas of your own?

What we hear time and time again from people with arthritis is that one of the frustrating things about living with arthritis is the how it limits a person’s ability to carry out everyday activities such as using a key, chopping, carrying items or getting up the stairs. Everyone arthritis is different however, if we can develop products that help people remain independent and carry on with the things they love then we can in turn lessen the impact of the condition on millions of people.

Think that you can help solve some of the issues that Charlotte discussed? Apply today to Design Council Spark

Remember – applications close at midday on 21st November 2017. If you need any assistance with your application or want to learn more about how Design Council Spark could help turn your product idea into a reality, check out our FAQs or contact the Spark team.

Good Luck!

Charlotte Guiver

Charlotte Guiver is Director of Income Generation at Arthritis Research UK, Design Council Spark partner.

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