DIY retailer B&Q was presented with an award at last week’s inclusive design conference for society and business, Include 2003, but there was a limited turnout from designers at the event.
Less than 20 per cent of the 150 delegates were designers or design managers, with the majority being from academia, raising questions about the industry’s commitment to this socially significant aspect of design.
But organisers dismiss suggestions that the industry shows a lack of interest. According to Professor Jeremy Myerson, co-director of the Helen Hamlyn Research Centre which hosted the conference in conjunction with the Royal College of Art, inclusive considerations are now seen as an integral part of the design process rather than a separate consideration.
‘There is now better research by more companies and more engagement by the design community to take a lead and build inclusiveness into the process of design,’ he says.
Myerson points to the example of B&Q as proof of how designers/design groups and businesses can work together. The retailer was awarded the prize ‘in recognition of its pioneering work in embedding diversity awareness at the higher level of corporate strategy and in developing a truly inclusive consumer offer’.