Help us to create the next generation of mobility solutions for disabled people.

Wednesday 27th April 2016

A group of leading names in design are coming together today at the Royal College of Art to launch an Innovation Fund to help create the next generation of wheelchairs and mobility solutions for disabled people.

Twenty five years on from designing and building our first wheelchair in a workshop in Bangladesh, Motivation, is setting its sights on developing a new range of products and solutions harnessing the very latest technologies, materials and manufacturing techniques.

To help launch our new Innovation Fund, Motivation will be joined by high profile names from the world of design, including Lady Helen Hamlyn, Professor Sir Christopher Frayling, Sir John Sorrell CBE and Deyan Sudjic OBE, and together we will discuss how innovation can help influence lasting social change.    

The Innovation Fund will be launched at the Royal College of Art, where Motivation was first conceived as an idea by design students David Constantine and Simon Gue, after they won a competition to design a wheelchair for developing countries. Along with Richard Frost they took their winning design to Bangladesh and Motivation was born.     

25 years on both David and Richard remain at the head of the charity and are the driving force behind this new initiative. Informed by the pair’s philosophy of questioning the norm, challenging the status quo and asking the question ‘what if wheelchairs could be better’, the Innovation Fund will enable Motivation to continue innovating in order to meet its vision – a world in which disabled people are included and can fully participate in all aspects of life. 

David Constantine MBE explains why Motivation has launched the Innovation Fund today;

Faced with the twin pressures of rapidly accelerating advances in technology, and an ever growing need for our products, we knew Motivation needed a step change to meet the challenges of the next 25 years.”

We’ve already shown the world that with the right wheelchair, training and support, even the poorest and most vulnerable can lead full, healthy and productive lives. By building a fund dedicated to exploring new innovations and capitalising on advancements made in materials, technologies and manufacturing techniques, we now hope to take wheelchair provision to the next level.

With a target to raise £1 million over the course of the next three years, Motivation has already received a grant from Google.org to explore 3D printing, which kick-starts the fundraising effort. We now want to talk to like-minded individuals and organisations who share a belief that innovative design and thinking can create positive and tangible social change.

Richard Frost, Motivation’s CEO describes how Motivation would like to use the funding;

Since 1991 we have built a portfolio of ground breaking products that have helped transform the lives of thousands of people, living in some of the world’s most remote and poor countries. Over the years our partners in the field and the people who use our wheelchairs have told us how the products can be improved and how needs have changed. This has informed our thinking and means we need to evolve our current range, including our iconic three wheel design and turn it into a folding wheelchair. Equally we are excited by the possibility of 3D printing and where we can take wheelchairs in the future. 

For individuals and organisations that want to learn more visit our Invest in Innovation page, or contact Joanna Hall on 01275 464012.