CfBI’s Inclusive Design Consortiua bring together companies from across Europe that want to increase sales, reduce costs and improve their market position through applying the principles of Inclusive Design to their products and services.
Inclusive Design can be defined as:
"The design of mainstream products and/or services that are accessible to, and usable by, as many people as reasonably possible....without the need for special adaptation or specialised design"
Inclusive Design is neither a new genre of design, nor a separate specialism. It is a novel approach to designing in which designers ensure that their products and services address the needs of the widest possible audience, irrespective of age or ability. As illustrated below, even where only a minority of people are excluded from using a product or service, a significant additional set of people may have difficulty or be frustrated when they try to use it.
Companies such as Ford, BT, Nestlé, OXO Good Grips and BSkyB have already successfully applied the principles of Inclusive Design to their products.
Many leading companies now have excellent provision for people with single major impairments, including wheelchair users and people who are blind or deaf. Through this new consortium we are helping companies take the next step in practically applying Inclusive Design to mainstream products used by a much wider set of consumers.
A key target for the programme is learning how to better serve the large population of consumers who suffer from 'multiple minor impairments'. Many elderly people fall into this category. There are already 130 million people over fifty years old in the European Union - by 2020 one in two European adults will be over this age. Designing products that these people love to use is no longer just socially responsible, it also makes sound economic sense.
Cambridge University Engineering Design Centre (EDC) is a leading exponent of Inclusive Design in Europe. The CfBI has recognised the scale of opportunity afforded by applying new techniques in Inclusive Design to significantly improve the competitive position of many products and services that interface to the consumer.
Through its close links with Cambridge University, the CfBI has brought together leading researchers and practitioners from the EDC and elsewhere to deliver a one-year consortium programme where companies can learn together, share experiences and receive practical support in exploiting this major new business opportunity.
The ID-1 Consortium ran during 2010/11 with eight leading organisations as members. These included the BBC, Bayer Healthcare, Roche, Nestlé, Royal Bank of Scotland, the University of Cambridge, Bosch and Siemens Home Appliances and Marks & Spencer.
CfBI and the EDC are currently working with ID-1 members to integrate Inclusive Design into their processes and roll it out across their organisations.
We are now ready to launch ID-2 – to introduce Inclusive Design to a new group of companies, enabling them to lead in their sector by designing better products that their customers love to use. ID2 members are also looking at opportunities to benefit from Horizon 20:20 opportunties.
Companies joining the Consortium can expect to make back the cost of participation (including cost of staff time) through increased sales and/or reduced costs of their first Inclusively Designed product.
Participation in the Consortium can form part of an integrated staff training and development programme, delivering valuable new skills within existing budget allocations.