Dragons’ Den at Rachel House

We’re just back from running a two day Dragon’s Den workshop at Rachel House, the Children’s Hospice Association’s Scotland’s hospice in Kinross.

A group of designers worked with five young adults to enable them to develop  products which would enhance their daily lives. In 36 hours we got to know each other, formed teams, developed ideas, made prototypes and pitched designs to a team of dragons.

The winning design was pitched by Chiara (pictured above) and included  a range of  fashion forward clothing and accessories with easy to use fasteners to enable people with limited movement to dress themselves stylishly. The dragons (below) included Sony Award winning journalist and Real Radio DJ Steve McKenna, Anne Rogers Marketing Executive with Albert Bartlett and Stephen Jay, Regional Director at Taggarts Motors.

From a design point of view it was a fantastic opportunity to co-design with a group of people with specific needs who could develop, test and evaluate ideas in real time.
The other excellent innovations developed included sensestation a smart phone and tablet application to replace proprietary game controllers. The app enables users with limited movement to take advantage of the gestural input of tablet and smartphone capacitive screens.


A personal climate control wrap was developed by a team of two wheelchair users to keep specific areas of the body warm, with minimum bulk – the current version uses heating elements to warm specific areas of the body activated by an easily manipulated controller. The next generation will take advantage of nano technology – smart fabrics which become denser, creating more warmth in response to a drop in ambient temperature.

Fiona Claybourne, Activities Facilitator, CHAS praised the design team for the speed and skill with which they brought the young people into the design process, saying:

It’s been a great couple of days for the young people, as it’s given them the chance to be really creative, to brainstorm with the designers and to raise their confidence levels. Seeing their ideas come to fruition has been amazing.

The design team included Master of Design graduates Steph Fulke, Ming Ge, Jon Gill, Sara Nevay and Angela Tulloch, DIxD student Tom Kinnear and Hazel White, director of the new Master of Design for Services Programme at the University of Dundee.

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