A new people-led design challenge called Design Together, Live Better launching today is asking people living with challenging health conditions across the West to share their stories and ideas.

Led by the West of England Academic Health Science Network (WEASHN) and Designability (Bath Institute of Medical Engineering), Design Together, Live Better is asking those with challenging health conditions, carers and health professionals, to share daily living experiences and ideas of new products that could improve their quality of life and maximise independence.

This is the first time a people-led design initiative of this scale has been undertaken in the West of England. It combines real world, frontline experiences faced by people and their carers living with conditions that limit independence, with design, engineering and other areas of expertise of healthcare specialists to generate practical products that maximise independence.

“Anyone can contribute to ”Design Together, Live Better”,” said Lars Sundstrom, Director of Enterprise and Translation West of England Academic Health Science Network. “We understand that those facing issues and daily challenges living with health conditions or the people that help them, often have lots of ideas for products that can improve quality of life.

“People can share a personal challenge, story or experience that has an effect on them or someone they know’s independent living, highlight a problem that they would like to see solved or submit their product idea via our website.”

Putting people at the centre of health innovation, the challenge is looking for product design ideas to meet specific personal needs to maximise independent living. The project is not looking for ideas about health service design or re-design or software ideas but instead focussing on practical tools and products.

The team of design specialists led by Designability will work with people to develop the ideas into a new design for a product or device from which others could also benefit. For example, the Wizzybug powered wheelchair designed specifically for children under five or a one button radio for people with memory problems or visual impairment.

There are a number of ways people can share their stories and ideas with Design Together, Live Better including:

• Via the website www.designtogetherlivebetter.org
• By calling 0800 689 0553
• By following Twitter @WEAHSN using hashtags: #designtogether #livebetter #WEAHSN, Google +, or like on Facebook
• Attending one of eight public workshops.

“We believe this project has huge potential as it connects those with unmet needs directly with teams like Designability that can help provide solutions, on a larger scale than has been attempted before. We need people to get behind the project and contact us so we can unearth those new products or devices that really will make a difference.”

The eight workshops listed below take place throughout June and July. The conclusion of the sessions will highlight if any design ideas from the workshop will be worked up into a real product. Food and refreshments will be provided.

• 09:30 – 12:30 Tuesday 16th June – Bristol Pavillion Cricket Ground
• 09:30 – 12:30 Thursday 18th June – Bath Guild Hall
• 18:00 – 20:30 Thursday 25th June – Gloucestershire Cheltenham Racecourse
• 14:00-16:30 Saturday 27th June – Swindon Railway Museum
• 18:00 – 20:30 Monday 29th June – North Somerset Winter Gardens
• 9:30 -12:30 Wednesday 1st July – Gloucestershire Cheltenham Racecourse
• 14:00-16:30 Saturday 4th July – Bristol Watershed
• 18:00-20:30 Monday 6th July Bath Pump Rooms – Kingston & Drawing Room

For more information contact: Daniel Twigg (daniel.twigg@purplefishpr.co.uk) or Joanna Randall (joanna.randall@purplefishpr.co.uk) at purplefish on 0117 925 1358.