July 27, 2020

Evidence Based Design for Inclusive Home Products with Ed Warner

Evidence Based Design for Inclusive Home Products with Ed Warner

Evidence Based Design for Inclusive Home Products with Ed Warner


Ed Warner is our featured Xceptional Leader today. Ed is the CEO and cofounder of Motionspot, a UK-based company offering products for people with disabilities that are designed with both form and function in mind. Martyn talks with Ed about how Motionspot began and how the company got to where it is since the founding in 2012. Ed’s passion for designing equipment that has all the necessary features to make them usable but are also stylish and aesthetically pleasing comes through in this in-depth conversation.

Contact Mai Ling: MLC at mailingchan.com

Contact Martyn: Martyn at martynsibley.com

 

Transcript

Introduction 0:00 

And I'm a big believer that if you get the environment right for people, you can really positively impact their cognitive and physical health.

 

Martyn 0:13

Welcome to Xceptional Leaders, with Mai Ling and Martin, where we spotlight high-profile topics. And amazing people who are changing the world view on disability are Martin Sibley from martinsibley.com.

 

Mai Ling 0:26 

And I'm Mai Ling Chan from mailingchan.com. And today's episode is really interesting, if you are looking at where you live, your space your environment around you, and how you're not only just comfortable but you're aesthetically pleased. I love that.

 

Martyn 0:44 

I love that. I love that. And it's so important like I, you know, have my wheelchair and I have my care team that helped me to be independent, but I have a thing called a hoist that lifts me from my chair to the bed and from my chair into the bathroom. And there's all these living aids and mobility aids and since as long as I can remember, the functional, but they look horrible, right?

 

Mai Ling 1:10 

That's not there's something that we don't think about though. I mean, we were just like, okay, we need to create this is something that, like you're saying the word functional, it works, right? It's adjustable, like all of these things. So then how do you get it to be like, cool, or trendy? Or pretty or traditional? Like how to put those you sexy? How do you put then you did say that actually in this in today's interview with Ed Warner, you know, how does that happen?

 

Martyn 1:34 

Yeah, I don't think as the as our lovely listeners will hear in a moment, at talks through that it is really about listening to the marketplace. It's not, it's not shocking, or surprising that people with disabilities and families and friends of would still want their living area to look nice and indeed sexy. But the marketplace, the supply side just never asked anybody. And that's what Ed and his co-founder and business partner have brought to the table is Oh, actually, if we ask people what they want, and then we do it, and we offer it, and we sell it and we market it. Oh, well. There's a whole new business. A whole new marketplace is amazing.

 

Mai Ling 2:19 

Yeah. And you did mention that this was Ed's first time and I don't know if I caught that. Meaning like what was his history before doing this?

 

Martyn 2:27 

Yeah I cant 100% remember what he was doing before but it was definitely that he wasn't involved in disability mobility products and not even particularly in, I think in the sort of design world but it was definitely his first entrepreneurial venture within the disability marketplace. And as everyone will hear his friend is in a wheelchair and his co-founder so that that sort of lived experience prompted them to vote for a change it for the better.

 

Mai Ling 2:57 

I love that. And that actually makes me think of our book becoming an exceptional leader, where every person in their Martin has some type of lived experience either having a disability or being in the space of either as a professional support giver, caregiver loved one, right. And that's the whole very simplistic idea of see a need fill a need. You know, it's just amazing.

 

Martyn 3:20 

It's marketing. When I want to remember my studies at uni, it was you ask your audience, what they want, you give it to them, and the market that you're giving it to them. It's that simple. But weirdly for lots of different cultural and other reasons. around disability, it was only the sort of medical functional side. And that's where everything was white and plain and bland and boring. And yeah, Adam and his business partner, I look into change that really, which is a Yeah, it's really, really cool thing I was gonna listen to it. Before we do move in. And I'm sorry, I wanted to share with you Mai Ling which was from our previous guest interviewee who was hardy to new remember, he talked about investment and recruitment around disability is amazing guy. Fascinating interview. Yeah, he fed back that he was blown away. By the way, we promoted it with our co video on social media, with the words and the captions, but most of all how our report was, and he couldn't believe that we've never been in a room.

 

Mai Ling 4:28 

That's great. I know. You're like my podcast husband. I told him. Yeah, and I've had friends who are just wonderful, diehard listeners. And they said in the beginning, they were like, Oh my gosh, who is this guy with a heavy accent, you know, and they had to, like tune their ear and then he was like, Oh my God, he's adorable. I love him. And now they're just they said that you just gel so well together. So I'm so proud of us, Martyn, because when we first started we were kind of like deer in the headlights reading scripts like I'm Mai Ling Chan.

 

Martyn 4:56 

We've come a long way that Yeah, I just love jumping on these. And during the introductions and yeah, we're, we're having a good time. And we're changing the world, which is what we're both into. I don't we're gonna mention something about the crime. Yes. Added mentioned.

 

Mai Ling 5:11 

So, he used the word, two words together designed crimes. And I'm like eeks don't come to my house. Because I kind of like throw stuff together. But yeah, when somebody knows what they're doing, and they have the eye for it, you know, they go in, and they're like, oh, gosh, like these two things don't go together, you know, and, and what he was pulling all of us together is, you know, it can be functional, and it can be sexy, you know, it can be a reflection of your personality. And isn't that what everybody wants their home to be? Yeah,

 

Martyn 5:37 

I think so. It'd be strange if you didn't want it to look nice, right? It's where we spend so much. But generally, we spend a lot of our time, but even more so obviously, at the moment with the COVID-19. working from home world, it's a double whammy of having a nice environment around, you

 

Mai Ling 5:54 

know, I just want to change my dishes are too tired of the same dishes. That's crazy. All right. Well, I'm so excited for you to hear all of the amazing work that Ed and his partner has been up to, and really just changing the way that you look at functional, and what really is what everybody wants, you know, they want to be happy in their space. So, let's get to it. Let's do it.

 

Ed 6:19 

Really good to have you back on this beautiful day, at least in Cambridge here, the sun's come out. And I'm joined today by Ed Warner from motions for his in London. So welcome to the show, ed. Hi, Martin, great to see you today. You too. I've always loved catch-ups and interactions. Because what you bring to the hole, I keep talking about the puzzle, you've got sort of disability rights and inclusion and you've got the legal side and you've got the you know, the Human Rights kind of links with that. You've got the politics and they all obviously interact and overlap in different ways. But where you bring such an amazing vibe is that you can have products, good services, and particularly living spaces that are functional, because a lot of disabled people need those things adapted and to be inclusive. But for so long, people didn't think they could be beautiful, and cool and sexy as well. And I think that's just such an amazing thing that you bring to the party. So first of all, thank you for doing that had

 

Ed 7:24

Pleasure there. Thank you for the words, it's that's the most fun bit of our job. And what we've been achieving over the last eight years is seeing the reaction that people have to the design.

 

Martyn 7:34 

Yeah, absolutely. I'm just a slight intimation of what you get up to, but could you give a bit of a the usual potted history a bit of who you are, and obviously about how motion sport began? And then we'll just get into some of the topics from that.

 

Ed 7:49 

Yeah, sure So, I set up motions but back in 2012 motion sport is effectively an accessible design specialist. We work with both clients in their own homes as well as commercial clients in spaces like offices, hotels, retirement villages and care to work with them to design really beautiful accessible environments. I got involved in this. As I said back in it was 2011. And I happened to be having dinner one day with a very old school friend of mine and our co-founder James Taylor, James sadly had suffered a spinal cord injury and a diving accident in 2005. It's been eight months in Stoke Mandeville hospital. He'd returned to his flat in Battersea, South London, as a wheelchair user realized he needed to make some adaptations to his home to suit his independence. And he got a whole range of specialists in at the time who effectively converted his once beautiful home into something that resembled more like a care home or a hospital, full of all the kit that can be so synonymous at times with aging and disability, the, you know, white plastic grab rails, the shower seats, the kettle titbits. And, you know, he just happened to say to me over dinner in 2011, every morning I wake up and I'm reminded of my condition because the products around me, and I'm a big believer that if you get the environment right for people, you can really positively impact their cognitive and physical health.

 

Yeah, I wasn't a designer by background I was, I was from the product side of things, manufacturing and selling products that go into, you know, many of the supermarkets that are under such pressure at the moment, so I knew I knew enough about product and what consumers wanted. And so, at the time, I just said, I'll have a look at the market and see what's out there. And I couldn't believe having looked at the UK market, just how many products were being designed for function over form. And you mentioned that thought of it, it was all about, you know, how do we how do we design something to suit our need, which is function and want to speak to the manufacturers, they all said, you know, you're mad and no one wants to pay for this sort of stuff we get, you know, orders through from the NHS, we get orders through from, you know, local councils who DFG. Why do we need to innovate? And I just couldn't understand that. So traveled to Scandinavia, to Germany, to Italy, countries that are really progressive around aging in place, and the whole concept of universal design.

 

I realized there was an opportunity to set up a business, which is how motion sport was born, to do something about it, and focus on designing and introducing a range of really beautiful products initially focused on the bathroom. The bathroom is the area where, you know, disabled people want the greatest independence, but it's also where the biggest design crimes tend to happen. Started in bathrooms, and since then have extended it out into kitchens and living spaces. And we've got to really kind of exciting development of the pipeline of products that are coming down the line for living spaces and furniture and other bits. So, it's been a really interesting journey over the last eight years.

 

Martyn 11:08 

Yeah, so thank you for the introduction. It's such a powerful story because it undertaking, you know, whenever we're recounting how something started, and why it started, there's always the story of just what happened. But you know, the fact that like, your friends with James, and he had faced those barriers and the functional sense, but the other barriers around the looking horrible, I think immediately people get what we've all been there, like people watching with a disability that's just gonna resonate so strongly. And I think for a long while, I was almost sort of ignorant to the fact that the products looked horrible because you're just cracking on the gear with the functional side and with the rest of the life, you know, sort of, you're aware that it could be better. And then when you start to think, well, hang on, couldn't it look a bit cooler, as you say, he look on the market, and there's not been any innovation and no disruption to that industry. So, with that, there's all sorts of questions and areas that to dive into, obviously, you know, like with the stuff I've been doing the brand, marketing, and the whole business case that disabled people are consumers, and you're just haven't been seen or spoken to and asked what we want by businesses. So, what in terms of when you spoke to other manufacturers? And they were like, oh, there's no need to innovate? Do you think like, had they tried to speak to the marketplace? Or they were just presuming everything?

 

Ed 12:39 

Yeah, it was all assumption, Martin. So, you know, effectively, so many of the manufacturers were talking to one individual who would be a buyer or a commissioner of acted equipment within a local authority or a health care trust. And what we wanted to do when we set out with Scott was turn that relationship totally on its head, it shouldn't be about the person procuring this sort of stuff. It should be, it should be the person using it. And you know, if we could get a better understanding of what people needed and wanted in their homes, we could we could ultimately go back to manufacturers and say, do you know what that product you've got at the moment? which functions? Okay, actually, if you changed it in these ways, it could not only function better, but it could look more beautiful as well. Yeah. So, grass, that sort of evidence-based design is absolutely central to everything that we do. That's what every other business and product does, right? Like, that isn't new, but no one thought to do it with disabled people at all. Absolutely. Right. And so much of the time, you know, products for this market have been designed by traditionally younger people who, who don't have a disability themselves. So, they either can't relate to, you know, somebody's condition, or, you know, so many of our clients are just simply getting older in the home and need sort of clever adapted products to be able to live independently. And again, if a product's been designed by a very, you know, young designer who has no knowledge of how they're going to age in, you know, 60 years’ time, it's very difficult to design products that the market wants. So, you know, that's been a major sort of step-change for us.

 

Martyn 14:27 

Yeah, I mean, you mentioned that you weren't from a design background. So, what sort of say I'm presuming if I say upscaling, that you then went into design or as an entrepreneur, it's also about bringing others in around you, isn't it? So? How did you navigate going into that new world when it wasn't your background?

 

Ed 14:47 

Yeah, the second part of that, so what I realized very quickly was this amazing industry and most notably in professions like occupational therapy. And so many people actually don't necessarily understand that the level of information that great occupational therapists have and the experience that they have. And I understood very quickly that I didn't have the experience. But what I did have was, was that kind of vision of what I wanted to achieve and create an offer that was desirable and accessible for everybody. And then what I needed to do is to bring in people with the right skills and qualification to be able to influence our design thinking. So at a very early stage, I worked with two brilliant occupational therapists, Marnie and Jacko who really kind of instill the set of design principles in our business around some of the challenges that people face in the home, in particular, if someone had a particular condition, what the, you know, design challenge would be, and then I bought in some really talented interior designers and product developers who sat on the other side of the table to the occupational therapist and said, Okay if that's the challenge, how can we design a solution to that challenge, and it was actually a really refreshing experience because we weren't employing product designers necessarily from the industry. So, they weren't bringing a whole load of baggage around what a shower seat has to look like. They were coming at it from more of a consumer product point of view, as you said, what would I like in my home, and then let's go and talk to hundreds of people who were going to use this product to influence the design. So that was, that was sort of how we built the team in the early days, and it's grown from there.

 

Martyn 16:39 

Yeah, really amazing. One thing you've mentioned is quite a good entrepreneurial lesson that if you start with the solution, and find the problem, it can go a bit array. But if you look for that problem first and then bring in the appropriate solution, it just works better. That's like a general sort of entrepreneurial thing. But yeah, so with that barrier, if you like, overcome, what, what are the challenges were there to bring this idea you've had with James, to market and to actually have a profitable business?

 

Ed 17:13 

I think one of the biggest challenges is, is something new, described earlier on, which is, when you were looking for products before, you tended actually to not look very far, because you almost put up with the, you know, the thought that okay, this product will deliver to whatever function I need, I'm actually you're not going to look beyond that product. So, the biggest challenge we faced in the early days, and still today is actually people being aware that there are alternatives like, and enabling people to find this in an accessible way. And you know, one of the biggest challenges we have is people go to the motion spot website, and the first thing they say, is, this all looks beautiful, but there's no way I'm going to be able to afford it. And it's how do we get across that message that actually, to achieve really beautiful design does not need a massive price tag associated with it. You know, our big belief from the start has been, you know, are accessible designs and accessible products have to be accessible to all look at a variety of different budgets and price points. And, you know, some of I think the best work we've done recently has actually been with some major housing associations who have really embraced the motion sparked design ethos and, you know, designing much more inclusive, accessible future proof departments and But, you know, for housing association can adopt it, it shows that it's set a price point that, you know, there is a large number of people that can afford so I guess awareness and awareness that price point isn't and shouldn't necessarily be an issue. There have been two major challenges.

 

Martyn 19:03 

Yeah, I guess that's the that displays a visionary side of you being an entrepreneur because lots of people told you there wasn't the demand. And arguably, that wasn't the demand, because like we've just said, some people like me weren't sorry, there was a demand, but like, we didn't know, to go and look for something. So, it's sort of in the way the demand was there. But you had to sort of stimulate the demand and the supply both sides.

 

Ed 19:31 

Yeah. And that's still that's still happening. We know the latent demand is there, we, you know, everybody knows that the demographic numbers that are associated with our population, and the reality is, well, you know, you're someone you know, younger, who has a disability or, you know like we all hopefully we'll get to, we'll all get older and develop, you know, conditions that you know may mean we'll need a bit of extra support in the house. So, the latent demand is there, it's the biggest challenge is how do you access a group of people who are in their own homes? What? What sort of media? Are they consuming? How do they? How do they want? How do they want to consume the information as well? So, you know, there's an awful lot to think about when you're thinking about designing an accessible future-proof bathroom. And, you know, for many people, if we supply too much information, it can just be a complete overload of information naturally, how do you provide enough kind of nuggets of advice that will get people thinking and realizing that actually if they did make some minor adaptations to their home that would satisfy not only their need but make them more independent, make the home look and feel more like a home? You know, that's, that's what we're trying to get to?

 

Martyn 20:51 

Yeah, yeah. Well, you know, that’s the language I'm totally into like that. We've spoke a few times about different options and ways. I mean, I've literally on the weekend, I read a book called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, (https://www.amazon.com/Jab-Right-Hook-Story-Social/dp/006227306X) which is all about social media marketing. And it's like, yeah, again, I've just seen so many awesome, creative, authentic, genuine ways of, of doing marketing where consumers when it's not, because I think people think of sales and marketing, like the dirty sort of snake oil, salesperson. And like, there's so many ways now where consumers are empowered, and even tell their own stories, so that others benefit. It's a really exciting time for that kind of marketing, but obviously, is making sure that the message is right. And it's in the right place at the right media and all the things you just said. So, there are certainly a lot of opportunities and potential. But we've got a question from Facebook, and you sort of touched on that a difficult question to ask, but is the pricing of your products and services aligned to nondisabled focus high-quality products? As we've managed products is a refer the premium on top of that, I think you did sort of touch on that a moment. Okay. But for poor and everybody's benefit would be great. Just to touch on price a bit more, I think,

 

Ed 22:12 

Yeah, one of my biggest bugbears is, you know, the industry, the industry designing products, and then putting a premium on it. Because you know, those products are trying to find a solution for somebody with a disability, it just shouldn't happen. And our view is that the market is there to be able to design manufacture and launch products that should be priced at the same price point and any other product on the high street, it should not

 

Martyn 22:44 

When the market is in the

 

Ed 22:46 

Market and the argument from manufacturers has always been well, gee, you know what our volumes are so small for this adaptive product or accessible product that we have to charge a premium for it. But as you say, the volumes are there to ensure that they're priced, you know, comparatively.

 

Martyn 23:04 

And post has checked out the website. And the products live here to say, we've already educated one file for now, which is brilliant. Thank you. Cool. So, the I think the way I'm viewing our chat is very chronological sort of the founding story, that is the barriers to getting going and becoming a sustainable business. And then every great, you know, to catch up more today and how COVID-19 has affected and then a bit of a look to the future. So, sort of post-launch and getting guy was, was there anything else to mention that was a challenge or even, you know, very, sort of memorable high points as well. Just before we catch up to today,

 

Ed 23:47 

When we first started, we only offered a service to homeowners. So, we were talking about individuals in their own homes. And we realized very quickly that we needed to control and offer a service for the install process. Because while the design of products was important, actually, you know, our customers will get the bill there to come in as well. So, we very quickly, Bill eight teams of installers who were installing motion spot accessible bathrooms across the country. And as we grew very quickly that one of the biggest challenges, we had was how do we continue to grow our installer base that ensure we work with trusted people who were ultimately going in branded as motion spot and problem with the install that had a massive impact on brand credibility. And you know, we had a duty of care to all of our customers. So, we had to make sure the installs right. And we realized very quickly that actually we weren't big enough at the time to suddenly turn into a building company and we didn't want to turn into a building company. So, what we realize quite early on is our specialism lay within design and product. And we would actually just build a network of trusted installers who would then engage with the customer themselves directly. Because we found 75% of homeowners have a builder who has done some plumbing work or electronics, they trust. And we found it much better to work with those individuals, as well as offer some recommendations of people local to them, and which has actually worked much better. So yeah, effectively, the customer engages us from a design and product point of view, and then an installer directly. One of the biggest changes to our business happened probably five years ago, when we realized that actually, there was a real opportunity in, in designing commercial spaces to make them more accessible. So, some of our sort of biggest clients since 2000. And I guess 1516 have been some of the major hotel groups. So, we've done a lot of work with the likes of Robin Shepard at bespoke hotels, who's always been an amazing supporter of everything to do with access. You know, sadly, well, positively. And sadly, we completed what I think is the most accessible Hotel in the UK, and absolutely beautiful hotel in Manchester called hotel Brooklyn, which we finished in February, I was up there on Valentine's Day for the launch at 18 will be accessible bedrooms and bathrooms in Manchester, two of them with recessed ceiling track hoists in the ceiling, the first hotel rooms in Manchester to have ceiling tracks, and then COVID here, and I

 

Martyn 26:38 

Was gonna say like, I hadn't heard about that one. And it's such an amazing one to explore. But I guess it was just before all this stuff kicked off.

 

Ed 26:47 

Yeah, and it will reopen. And we'll have a proper launch. And we'd love to love to get you up there to run another one of these perhaps even with Robin, just so that your community can sort of see what is possible in the world of hotel design. But I mean, for us, hospitality has been really good, because hotel owners want their hotel accessible hotel rooms to look as beautiful as any other room in the hotel. And we've been able to really get creative with our hotel design, that we can then take that sort of similar thinking into retirement developers, care home providers. And I mean, the big one for us at the moment is office developers, who, fortunately, are really sitting up and realizing that you know, their, their workplaces need to be more accessible because you know, people with disabilities, you know, every right to access an office as anybody else. And you know that those accessible spaces shouldn't look second class to any other parts of the office. So, we've been we've been doing a lot of work recently with Barclays Bank on a really cutting-edge development that they've got going into Glasgow called Buchanan Wharf, which is a development of 5000 employees. And we've been helping them with the design of that building, both for, you know, employees with a physical disability, but also focusing on the cognitive sensory and neurodiversity side as well. Yeah.

 

Mai Ling 28:25 

Hey there, hope you're enjoying the show. I just wanted to take a moment and introduce you to another great podcast that you might like in the exceptional Podcast Network.

 

Podcast Advertisement 28:34 

Please listen carefully. Hi, I'm Matt Hott MB one of hosts of speech science, a weekly podcast bringing you all the information that you can handle related to speech sciences and disabilities. Michelle Wintering, Michael McLeoud and I interview leaders and difference makers in the field every Tuesday, we drop a new episode. You can find us on iTunes, Android, and on our website, www.speechscience.org/speech science podcast. Join us as we try to find the answers to the question what is communication?

 

Mai Ling 29:04

Now let's get back to our amazing interview.

 

Martyn 29:06 

Yeah, when you said about the workplace that fired off quite a few thoughts because I know like a friend of mine works at Lloyds. I don't know if you've met Ross. And if you haven't, you should do because he's very much involved in inaccessibility at Lloyds Banking Group. So, there's a whole I'm sure there'd be a lot there that he and they could benefit from a bit like what you've been helping with Barclays, but also as we get nearer to COVID-19 as in our conversation gets closer to it. I mean, a lot of people are working at home now. And so, there's obviously been a big upheave about those that have got all the gear they needed a workplace they maybe haven't got while working from homes. Whilst that might be a short term thing and so people make do and we just get through it by really think the world of work will change Not beyond that forever, like the amount of people that are just saying why commute three hours a day, hour and a half there and back and like, all that way for an hour meeting, and I'm exhausted and I'm spending money on transport stuck in traffic like, I think there is going to be meeting space is to have brainstorms and onboard clients and do the things that is better to be in person, wherever. But I still think that there'll be more people working from home for the long run with this as well. Definitely,

 

Ed 30:37 

We've sort of known where the future of the workplace is going. And for some time, and actually, COVID-19 has just accelerated. Yeah, those movements embracing technology, better home working. But there's a really interesting, there's a whole design piece around what does what does an accessible office look like in post-COVID-19, New World, whatever that does look like? Because, you know, we've been having some interesting discussions this week with clients who are wanting to put up perspex screens everywhere, to effectively ensure to meet social distancing, minimize spread of infection. And we're saying, that's all great. But actually, what's the design of those perspex screens? What? You know, where are you putting them? What happens if someone has a visual impairment can't see the screens? and Someone's in a wheelchair, what's their circulation going to be like around that sort of obstacles? So, there is there's going to be, there can be some challenges in the sort of new office environment, but actually, some real opportunities for, you know, office developers and providers to be making it accessible for everybody.

 

Martyn 31:48 

Yeah, no, definitely. So yeah, I mean, moving into COVID-19. I mean, what, what's your take? How has it affected you? On a personal level? How has it impacted the business?

 

Ed 31:59 

Personally, it's actually been a real positive over the last sort of few weeks, because we had our third baby four months ago.

 

Martyn 32:10

So, congratulations

 

Ed 32:12

Thank you. So, I've had some amazing daddy time. With Lily and we've got another two, we've got three kids under six. So, if suddenly I get stormed, made the BBC. Exactly. So, I think one of the things is, you know, that BBC, that amazing BBC viral clip of kids being pulled out of, of rooms, I think, you know, people are more understanding these days of what's going on. And, and actually, from a personal point of view, I found it really refreshing having conversations with so many of our clients and prospective clients, and where you can just have a conversation with someone, as you know, a human being to human being, it's much more personal. And people understand that it's probably not as professional as it once was. But actually, it's more authentic, and it's easier to develop, I think closer business, business relationship. Yeah. currently doing what we're doing. So that's personal level professionally, obviously, it's been hugely challenging. I mean, you know, we've been lucky that we're all safe and well, and the team is safe and well, and yeah, remember that so many people aren't at this time. So, in terms of challenges, we've got nothing on so many people and businesses, but and for emotion spot, and March was particularly challenging, because overnight, obviously, construction sites shot and many of our clients were in the 1.5 million vulnerable shielded people who were who were immediately at home and obviously, wouldn't want to take product deliveries and certainly one contractors working in the house. So that was pretty nerve-wracking time in March. Fortunately for us, we've been able to keep the business going. Because, you know, so much of our work is design accessible design consultancies. So, all of that can happen remotely. You know, our brilliant design team, we're all working on projects, ranging from an accessible bathroom in Washington, DC, which has been a really interesting bit of development for us, because we realized that if we're designing a bathroom, Washington or Watford, it doesn't make a difference in actually, international clients have started coming to us, which is interesting. And then, you know, we've got some really exciting projects on the go with some of the big retirement developers who are building out, you know, big developments over the next two years for you know, independent living for all the people and, you know, those are really exciting projects that we can keep running, you know, whilst the design studio and showroom is shot. So, you know, we've been lucky and actually, you know, I've used the time as a bit of reflection on what we've been doing before. And, you know, to catch the breath around what we're going to be doing in the future. And actually, I think some of the innovation that, well, I know that the innovation, we're going to be launching in, you know, June and then you know, going forward for the rest of the year won't have happened if COVID-19 hadn't come about.

 

Martyn 35:24 

It's a bit of a becoming like a delusive mantra. But every guest has all these silver linings. And they all quite rightly caveat, that there are personal fears around, you know, whether for themselves directly or for loved ones, or, you know, just anyone in their immediate sphere, and then the general acknowledgment of the lives lost, etc. But there's so many other bits that people like, however, I've had more time with family, I feel I've got more health and energy because I'm not rushing around though, you know, even businesses that have started or flourished, because people have almost had the headspace to get, like you say that reflection, you can be a bit more strategic about it, as well. So, it is very interesting about how, yeah, there's sort of different ways that it works. But so, um, yeah, what's coming up both next couple of months and longer-term, what was in the pipeline.

 

Ed 36:21 

So, I guess one of the biggest things that has is come out of the current situation has been, you know, our intent to try and breathe life back into home adaptations. And one of the biggest challenges that local authorities have at the moment is that you know, adaptations are just not happening in the home unless they are emergency adaptations. And really, even then, you know, from our discussions with different people, I don't think they really are going on. So, the big change we've made over the last sort of eight weeks, while probably the first two weeks with proper crisis management really over the last six weeks has been how do we reposition our domestic business to be able to provide a really brilliant remote design service. So, people can come on initially have a free consultation with one of our design team can have a conversation on video and to, you know, show through video technology, iPhone or smartphone, whatever it is to give our design team an idea or even sending pictures in over what they've got at the moment and what challenges they're facing in that environment. And then for us to put together some potential designs that will solve some of those challenges for us to be able to put a package of products together, whether that be bathroom or kitchen related, and then importantly, to look at training our local contractors, if people wanted building work done at the moment around, you know, COVID-19 safe working practices, and so that they're fully accredited and understand, you know, the challenges and what they should be doing when they're installing in somebody's home who's vulnerable so that we can kick start home adaptations. And it's our intention. It's a pretty ambitious one. But we're two weeks into a new website build of a totally new brands, which is going to be called fine enable fine enabled credit UK will be up and running. Hopefully, from week commencing the eighth of June will be a totally b2c totally domestic offer. So first and foremost, it will offer people some really good advice and top tips around, you know how to design you know, how to design out some of the challenges that people face in the home, whether that be slips and trips on bathroom floors, too, to you know, accessing kitchen units, or whatever it is, we want to provide as much free advice as part of that.

 

Martyn 38:56 

Can I give you two challenges? I've gotten the kid Tell me what, how that might work. And if I was doing engaging,

 

Ed 39:04

Yes, please go for it.

 

Martyn 39:07

So, one, you'll remember we did the workshop in Peterborough up about those the flats and it came out about how I am always in my wheelchair, and my fiancés on the sofa, and we can't sort of be able to sit more clothes. So, one would be what kind of wet and you might not have the answer. I'm putting you in the corner Ed, but like what would the process look like? If I wanted to explore how I could get onto the sofa without some metal hook hanging out of the ceiling that would like get me onto it like

 

Ed 39:43 

So, and That is a question you put me on the spot for but just thinking aloud on that so if you came to find enable and spoke to one of our design team, first thing that you know our designers would want to know is a bit more about you and you know a bit more about your girlfriend and where the sofa was positioned. And

 

Martyn 40:09 

We just want to watch TV. All right.

 

Ed 40:13 

Okay, but we need just a bit more a bit more action on you and what the potential requirement was. And then if we could have some photos over what, you know, the living room looked like and what sort of that we were looking at, we then put together a beautiful design that, you know, I'm just thinking that the ceiling chat hallways that we put into hotel Brooklyn in Manchester would be, you know, a potential solution. So, we ended up reassessing the track of the ceiling track cost into the soffit the ceiling. So, you see this kind of clinical-looking steel frame coming down, we actually built a lighting detail circuit in the recess. So, when your lying-in bed, it actually looks like a lighting detail rather than being a recessed ceiling track. And then we were able to disguise the motor of the of the hoist, in a in a bit of joinery. So, it came out of a cover. So, you know, with the remote-control button, you're able to bring a hoist out to then be able to transfer from bed into a wheelchair. And I'd see no reason why, you know, the same sort of principle could be the same thing, isn't it? Yeah,

 

Martyn 41:26 

I already have tracking points to get into bed, and it goes through some doors that are taller because we've knocked the whole of the wall out. So, it goes from the bedroom to the bar from with the boys. So that's already there. But it was sort of this kind of word. You just have another one in the lounge. And it as you say that basically answers yes. But it can be made to fit in and look nice within the current setup as well. Yeah.

 

Ed 41:56 

And it doesn't have to cost the earth it's, you know, that's the other thing. You know, I can't remember what the minutes the top of my head, I think that the hoist track and hoist system that went into Manchester was something like, three 3000 pounds. So, I mean, it is a it is an investment. It's not Yeah, people have, but these aren't, you know, 10 20,000 pounds bits of kit.

 

Martyn 42:21 

Yeah, right. So, yeah, there is that? You know, Paul asked about the pricing that’s not because you as a company, obviously, there are higher prices, it's just there is a standard price to hoists. I mean, is there any potential that sort of gear could ever come down? Or is that the sort of, you know, point of widget with the cost to make it and install it? And that is, you know, that's basically where it has to be at?

 

Ed 42:48 

Good question. I think when you're talking about hoist and track systems, it's a lot more involved. Obviously, safety is the is the primary concern. And so, so much reinforcement has to go into not just the products themselves, but actually the building work structure, as you will know, from cracking into your place. I mean, I'd hope that those costs come down. And again, that comes back to your question over, you know, the point about latent demand if we can unlock some of the latent demand. And, you know, go back to, you know, we don't manufacture that particular high strap. But, you know, the reality is, if we had x 1000 customers that needed that, it's a very different type of conversation that you had to I've got Martin, who wants to be transferred from wheelchair on to-on-to sofa, I probably got another five people who would want similar we, you know, we've got to try and aggregate some of that demand.

 

Martyn 43:46 

Yeah, because I was sort of preempted because I was thinking that, you know, there's a bit about maybe getting help with the funding’s that we start with, that's the price. And I think it's very important to say that, you know, I've had discussions with people that manufacture or sell wheelchairs and adapt cars, and you know, that there's a cost to make this stuff. And then there is obviously a profit margin, but that is what is involved with running a business. And so, I think, you know when you're in such a social space as disability, and some people don't always have the means, like, we have to be aware of that. But we also have to be very fair that the businesses do have to be sustainable and can't do charitable sort of thing. So, I suppose Yeah, that I my, my mind was taken me to their IDFG that disability facilities grants, there are charitable grants as well. So, I'm more saying to people watching that if the price for retrofit is still a bit more than they can afford. There are funding ports to access so that was my thought but as use a tool and not even have to rely on public or charity sector money and other ways to tap into that latent demand, and that that would shift the pricing dynamics as well.

 

Ed 45:09

Yeah. And just on the DFG point it, you know, we've been having discussions with, with a number of organizations who influence DFG funding, but also influence the products that are available as part of DFG funding. And one of the biggest positives that I've seen over the last six months is a real willingness to look at improving the standard of both, both in terms of function and form, you know, the quality of the products offered through DFG is something that's very much under review, and I know will change over the next few months and years.

 

Martyn 45:44 

Yeah, thank you for sharing that as well. Cool. Well, I mean, I think he covered the bits I was keen to ask you, and just as we set up a good chat around all the topics, I mean, I think it'd be good for people to go to motionspot.co.uk and then obviously find enablers come in. Obviously, people can check that out. But yeah, I mean, I think it you know, when I would do a chat, and I was like, oh, yeah, there's that the Sofer issue, there's also the we weren't going to solutions. But a challenge I'm forever trying to solve is I have to be helped to turn at night, I have the care team that after how turn me and you know that that's a problem on a number of different levels. And maybe there is a solution, maybe one day there will be a solution. But anyway, watch it. I think it's about having a bit of headspace to list the things that actually bother you, but you ignore. And I know I do that a lot. Because we do just try and get on and make do when you have a disability. But then yeah, I like to reach out to you guys and have a free exploratory chat about the solutions. And it might be that something can be dealt with really quickly and cheaply. And it's all quite simple. And it might be, you know, a year away to get the funding and but it's still a year away is better than never. Right.

 

Ed 47:04 

Yeah, just two things on that. It's back to the point about evidence-based design that we spoke about before. If people are able to, I’d absolutely love to hear their thoughts on some of the biggest challenges they face in the home, what are the products that they're that they're really either dislike or, you know, they use every day? And you mentioned that problem with, you know, turning at night, why isn't there a better solution design because what that will enable us to do is to look at that and be able to say okay, actually, there are quite a few people who have a similar requirement to Martyn, let's look at setting up a design focus group. Yeah, actually, if we were to build this from the ground up, what would the product look like? And in an ideal world, how would it perform and then we can look at designing that and taking it to a manufacturer and launch so I'd love to hear from people about that challenge what it would say as well as there are some real positive moves going on in the mainstream retail space around accessible products and outside emotions but one of my roles is as a government sector champion for the designing of accessible spaces in product and I'm desperate to see retailers embrace more accessible product there also. So there are a number of discussions happening with high street retailers pre that happened pre COVID But even after COVID that you know it still will be on their radar to look at developing and showcasing so that people can go and trial accessible production High Street locations but also their programs like dry SOS so we had a great conversation with dry SOS not so long ago where you know they're designing rooms particularly for children actually that involve some of the medical bed technology that many children you know need in their accessible home but hospital bed Yeah.

 

Martyn 49:03 

And so, I gave up having one because particularly my partner but I as well just didn't like it highlight horrible. So, I've actually not ended up having one for the last five years because I can't cope without one. So, there's a sort of argument of what the need is, but the main reason we got rid of it was it just looked horrible.

 

Ed 49:24 

Yeah, began with a bit of design thought there's no why the bedhead can't be clad in something different to the hospital material and why the steel bars down each side you know how to look as they do you know, that's just you know, it's lazy design really that is design function as opposed to somebody who's home so I would add I'd really welcome and you can contact us you know via the website through team at motionspot.co.uk to hear of any, you know, challenges and product solutions that you'd like to see coming to market because We'd love to hear about it and look at getting you involved in designing some products.

 

Martyn 50:04 

Yeah, again, that's bad for that, you know, empowering people isn't that instead of just feeling like we have to make do and there's no way out, I know you can't make a promise that, for example, that the timing at night will be on the market in six months, for example. But there is now a roadmap, a way, of channeling those problems towards solutions, whether they come quickly or they take a little while. It's there's an avenue to do it now. Right?

 

Ed 50:35 

Absolutely. And even if it's not a bad that necessarily turns you at night, but as part of the design process, what comes out of it is actually just a more accessible bed that is able to elevate at night, for example, yeah, that may suit a group of people that wouldn't necessarily have had that product. So, I don't mind starting with a really ambitious and goal because what could potentially be delivered is so much better than is out there at the moment. But I'd love to, I'd love to work with you on that bigger piece around a more aesthetically appealing bed that fits in a home that can also at night without needing career support.

 

Martyn 51:16 

Yeah, definitely do anything else you want to end on it,

 

Ed 51:20 

just to wish everybody well and to stay safe. And remember that, you know, we will get through this, this next phase of lockdown and to look forward to what the new world is going to offer. Because whilst there will undoubtedly be challenges, I'm really excited about what the kind of new world is going to mean for anybody and with a disability, because you know, what this whole situation has made people realize is what it feels like to be isolated at home. So, I'm excited about the future and say you look forward to catching up either virtually with you or in person next time. And thanks for thanks for having me on today.

 

Martyn 52:04 

It's been an absolute pleasure. And I mean, we've spoke a few times in the past, but I learned a lot about you know, the more the details of what you do and how people like myself Can, can engage and solve problems. I found it on a personal level very helpful as well. So, thank you very much.

 

Ed 52:22

Great to great see and speak. Cheers

 

Mai Ling 52:27 

Thanks so much for joining us for this episode. And remember that if you have a creative idea that you're ready to start on and want help from someone who truly understands what it means to build a disability-focused offering, visit mailingchan.com and let's get started.

 

Martyn 52:40

And be sure to check out martynsibley.com to embrace your place as a world changer. If you are serious about becoming an influencer and impact in the world. Please join me my VIP Academy. We focus on you and build momentum together to save in the next episode.

 

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Ed Warner

Ed Warner founded the accessible design company Motionspot in 2012 after his friend and Co-founder James Taylor was paralysed in a diving accident and became depressed by the clinical design and poor quality of adaptations in his home. Ed has built Motionspot into a RIBA award-winning industry leader in accessible design helping to transform spaces and lives through beautifully designed, accessible environments that deliver independence for anyone with a disability.
Ed was appointed as the Government Champion for Accessible Design of Spaces and Products in 2019.