Dragons’ Den star Sean Gallagher launches second annual Easy to Use Awards
Awards include two new categories, two new judges
Dragons’ Den star Sean Gallagher has launched this year’s Arthritis Ireland Easy to Use Awards which have been expanded to include two new categories.
Established in 2009, the Awards, which are supported by Pfizer Healthcare Ireland, recognise and encourage innovation in universal design to make everyday products and devices more attractive and usable for everyone, including people living with disabilities.
Along with the existing category for Industrial Design students at NCAD, two additional categories have been introduced for 2010/2011: the Designer Innovation category, open to anyone with an idea for an ‘easy to use’ product; and the Business Innovation Award, open to any start up business which has a product that fits in with the concept of ‘Easy to Use’. Further information on the Easy to Use Awards and entry details can be found on www.easytouse.ie.
The judging panel has also been expanded with the introduction of two new judges: Declan Lyons, of Enterprise Ireland and Damini Kumar, Director of Design & Creativity (NUIM). The two join a panel that includes people living with arthritis; Sean Gallagher; John Church and Claire Kinneavy Arthritis Ireland; Paul Reid and Geraldine O’Connor, Pfizer Healthcare Ireland.
Commenting on the Awards, Declan Lyons, Manager, Business Development Programmes, Enterprise Ireland, said “The Easy to Use Awards are an excellent example of the knowledge economy in action. It is particularly encouraging, at a time of economic uncertainty, to be involved with such a positive initiative. The Awards will no doubt further enhance Ireland’s reputation as a centre of excellence in creativity and entrepreneurship and we look forward to reviewing the entries.”
The Awards were established following research 1 into the difficulties faced by people living with rheumatoid arthritis, on a day to day basis, at home and in the workplace. Over three quarters (77%) of those surveyed reported that they found cleaning and household chores somewhat or very difficult, with similar assessments given to daily tasks such as getting dressed, cooking and socialising by almost half of all respondents.
Commenting on the Awards, Dragons’ Den star Sean Gallagher, said “I am delighted to be involved in this year’s Awards once again and relish the prospect of seeing some really creative ideas. There is a significant market for ‘easy to use’ products in Ireland and huge commercial potential. I strongly encourage businesses and individuals alike to consider entering this year’s Awards.”
The programme is the first of its kind in Europe that acknowledges and rewards businesses that provide products which are easy to use.
John Church, CEO of Arthritis Ireland explained, “Most of the pain, frustration and distress that people with arthritis experience is as a result of interacting with everyday products’, says John Church of Arthritis Ireland. ‘Everything from buildings to shoes, from milk cartons to gardening tools - if designers were to take this into consideration and designing things that people use routinely, everyday, not only would it be beneficial for people with arthritis but as our population ages, it will benefit a wide and growing market.”
Geraldine O’Connor, Corporate Affairs Manager, Pfizer Healthcare Ireland, said, “We are delighted to once again support Arthritis Ireland on the Easy to Use Awards. The expansion of the Awards to appeal to those with an interest in design and start up businesses is hugely positive and we look forward to reviewing a wide variety of submissions.”
New judge Damini Kumar commented, “There is tremendous potential for creativity, design and innovation in Ireland and initiatives like Easy to Use are an excellent opportunity to harness this creativity, which is more important and relevant than ever in times of recession. The introduction of the two new categories brings the Awards to a wider audience than before and I encourage anyone with ‘easy to use’ ideas to get involved.”
The unanimous winners of last year’s Easy to Use Awards, Ben Millet and Alan Harrison, created The Kug, a clever combination of a kettle and a mug. The enterprising duo is currently in negotiations to bring the product to market.
1 ‘Rheumatoid Arthritis Research conducted by IPSOS MRBI, March 2010
Published: 12th October 2010.