Fluorescent helmets, board games and apps to aid communication are just some of the ideas that have emerged from an innovative project launched by Headway Cambridgeshire.
Great ideas meet the Mind Your Head challenge
The inspiration for the Mind Your Head Challenge came from the clients at Headway Cambridgeshire’s Cambridge Hub, who identified over 20 challenges that are not properly addressed by products or services currently on the market. These ranged from difficulties with picking things up to a way of dealing with reduced sound tolerance. Headway Cambridgeshire approached local businesses, individuals and students to crowd source ideas with a view to working out solutions to the specified problems.
Participants were invited to become ‘Solvers’, people willing to join a team to help develop ideas for new products and services, ‘Sages’ who had expertise in areas such as design, medicine or engineering and ‘Supporters’ who could donate money to Headway via the challenges. At the first event in October, participants learnt about the unmet needs of people with a brain injury and then they formed into teams to develop their concept to pitch in a ‘Dragons' Den’ style event. Over 100 audience members watched the ten best teams explain their ideas to a panel of 13 dragons made up of investors, academics and business people. The event was hosted by the University Technical College, whose students made up three of the presenting teams.
The evening saw ideas that ranged from folding helmets to tracking devices and both dragons and audience members were asked to vote for their favourite product. The under sixteen winning team Quartz, presented a range of glow-in-the-dark cycling garments. In the over sixteen category, Glow won with their innovative helmet, manufactured from a material 30% stronger than that used in the construction of regular cycle helmets. The over-all winning team was Smartstuff who are developing an app which helps brain injured people to communicate. Another team that didn’t quite make it to the dragons' den because of traffic problems, are working on an idea to aid memory loss by the use of story telling, a concept that won them the opportunity to develop their ideas at The Judge Business School in Cambridge from one of the dragons.
Mary Goode, Chief Executive of Headway Cambridgeshire said: “We didn’t really know what to expect when we started The Mind Your Head Challenge but we have been delighted with the tremendous enthusiasm, expertise and skill of the participants. We have several concepts that are being taken forward, all of which will benefit people with a brain injury by either preventing a brain injury in the first place, or addressing an unmet need that had been identified by our clients. A particularly exciting concept was a board game that was taken forward to the pitching event by Conscious Communications from a prototype designed by our own clients. We would love to be able to develop that. We have been really humbled by the tremendous participation and enthusiasm for our idea and we really are grateful for everyone who took part and supported us.”
Headway Cambridgeshire is looking forward to seeing how the winning concepts are developed and will keep you up-to-date with further news.
Local charity 'Improving life after brain injury'