Between 1998-2000 I helped set up and manage INclude for The Design Council. INclude was a partnership between The Royal College of Art, Cambridge University, Central Saint Martins and The Design Council championing the philosophy of inclusive design.
The goal of INclude was to ensure that the needs of elderly and disabled people were understood (by designers and those commissioning design) and incorporated into the design of everyday products and services, as well as specialist items and equipment.
The four-way collaboration was very rich and creative with each partner contributing something new and valuable. Cambridge University and The Helen Hamlyn Research Centre (part of the RCA) pioneered a research programme, measuring the ‘ability/disability’ of the UK population (on parameters such as dexterity, motor skills, vision, hearing and memory). The RCA and St Martins worked with young designers, looking into product and service design for the elderly and disabled. And these innovations and knowledge were disseminated throughout the design community by The Design Council, though a dedicated website Design Horizons, a conference, and an exhibition of inclusively designed products.
Elements of this project still run today and the influence of the inclusive design philosophy has very much taken root in mainstream product design.