"I’ve always enjoyed being resourceful and coming up with smaller design solutions. But it’s a lot more exciting when there are bigger problems to solve."

Earlier this year, product design students from the University of West England (UWE Bristol) took on a partnership project with Motivation. Following the three week assignment (and graduation!), product designer Jake Honeywill joined the Motivation design team. We caught up with him to get his thoughts and feelings on his first few weeks.

Congratulations and welcome, Jake – it’s fantastic to have you on the team.

Thank you!

What inspired you to take a job with us? Is this what you’d imagined you’d be doing with your degree?

Product design is extremely broad so I decided to take my degree to learn as much as I could before finding a really worthwhile design problem.

I’ve always enjoyed being resourceful and coming up with smaller design solutions. But it’s a lot more exciting when there are bigger problems to solve.

When Motivation came to UWE, there was such a high energy amongst everyone and the project we were set was really inspiring in itself. It made me realise that the room for innovation in this sector is vast and motivated me to start working here.

What makes Motivation different from other companies and charities you have worked with?

We have such a wide range of expertise under one roof here! It makes such a nice change to be able to get input from a professional clinician or a trained technician simply by walking into the next room.

And not many charities in the sector are so interested in design and innovation – I think I’d struggle to find another organisation so committed to product development and implementation where it’s needed in the developing world.

Having all of our departments working so closely together means I can learn more about the challenges of wheelchair provision that aren’t necessarily linked to design. Speaking to everyone about their individual job roles is very useful for developing realistic service considerations for all of the cool stuff we do in technology and design.

It must be useful having so many different people to learn from and bounce off. How do you spend a typical day? Do you work across all teams every day?

Well, there hasn’t really been a “typical day” so far! I’ve been here nearly three months and I’ve been doing a wide range of stuff so far – computer aided design (CAD) to prototyping to thinking up new service ideas to making use of 3D printing.

With all the advances in technology we’ve seen in recent times, our work has taken a really exciting direction! The one thing that is “typical” is that we’ll always have some music playing to keep our energy up.

It sounds like you’re all very busy! What do you hope to achieve at Motivation? What is it that you’re excited about?

A really fun thing about being a designer for Motivation is making new technologies work in a low-technology environment – finding ways to use tried and tested materials in new and exciting ways. Also, with the rapid advances being made in technology, I think a lot of newer materials that are currently unrealistic for us to use will become much more feasible in the near future.

Aside from that, I’m really excited to travel. I’m looking forward to getting out to some of our international production facilities so I can see how our work will be affecting people. I need to see the circumstances and situations our wheelchairs will be used in and how this might affect our designs.

All in all, I want to help improve the level of care we can deliver to our wheelchair users and provide products that they can be proud of using.

What do you hope Motivation’s future will bring?

We’ve got some awesome stuff lined up! I want us to implement the exciting new innovations we’ve been working on so we can improve the way mobility provision services work in developing countries.

That’s wonderful – thanks for sparing some time for us today, Jake. We look forward to hearing more from you in the future!

 Fund a designer for a day

Design - and making sure we offer the best possible products for wheelchair users - is truly at the heart of our work. Ensuring our wheelchairs are suitable and appropriate for use in the developing world, can be tailored to fit, and are low-cost and high quality is really what our work is all about.

If you'd like to support Motivation today, you can make a donation or alternatively, buy a Gift in Motion that will enable us to fund a designer like Jake for a day.