Inside the Enable Makeathon Competition
When we heard of a competition that aims to crowdsource new, innovative solutions to enable persons with disabilities, we knew had to get involved. The Enable Makeathon is an intensive programme that’s ultimate goal is to slingshot ideas, from ideation to impact with a focus on innovation for and by persons with disabilities.
Our Co-founders put together an application video outlining how amparo came to fruition and our plan to empower amputees all over the world. From around 100 videos submitted, amparo was chosen to be one of the finalists. We packed our bags and hopped on a flight to London, UK to join the others and see what the competition had in store for us. We were set up in the Plexal Innovation Lab at Olympic Park, where we’d be stationed for the next 2.5 weeks working on fine-tuning our products, connecting with the UK market, and refining market launch strategy. The next couple weeks were a whirlwind, keep reading to find out how we did in the compeitition!
No Business Without a Business Model
The first week was a blur of navigating the tube, introductions, meetings and presentations. We met our first mentor Richard Frost, Co-founder of Motivation, an organization that provides wheelchairs at no cost to people all over the world. The question at hand: how can we possibly create the biggest impact and give access to modern prostheses to the millions who lack it all over the world? Using the business model canvas, we detailed how amparo would best deliver on its value propositions. We had the pleasure of meeting with a few more mentors set up by the Global Disability Innovation Hub and were able to structure how our non-profit arm would be able make our dream of a mobile rehabilitation clinic come to life.
Make Make Make
On the weekend our Industrial designer, Eva, and engineer, Chris, flew in to fine-tune our heating tool, used to make an orthopaedic technicians life much easier. They ordered an array of complicated tools and spent the weekend coming up with new innovative ways to provide the technician with a “clinic in a bag” solution. Meaning, stream-lining all the tools needed to use the Confidence Socket so that everything needed can fit in a sports bag and be utilized in remote areas. During this makeathon our socket-heating tool was adapted so that it was more compact and quicker in its ability to heat the socket for fitting. Mission accomplished.
Listen to Your Market
Last week of the competition and it was crunch time. We started our journey to the outskirts of the city in Stanmore, to visit the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. We were greeted by lead prosthetist, John Sullivan, and Orthopaedic Doctor on staff, Dr. Imad Sedki who were kind enough to sit and have chat. We discussed the prosthetics industry in the UK and how amparo could make an impact to both amputees and prosthetists alike. The staff were so wonderful and helpful at the Prosthetic Rehabilitation Unit that we organized to come back in the new year and demonstrate exactly how our socket technology can be utilized.
After 2 weeks of meetings, presentations and iterations we were ready for the final presentation. This was what all of our hard work had culminated to. Lucas pitched in front of an incredible panel whose expertise and experience in the field of disability innovation were unbound. It was important to highlight our progress during the makeathon, from business model changes, to meeting with amputees and clinicians for their feedback, to understanding how we will distribute to developing nations. After all the teams had presented we waited eagerly for the results.
After deliberation, amparo was chosen as a finalist and we will be moving on to the next stage! Final judging for this competition will occur in the beginning of February and the 3 winners will receive a cash prize to take their innovation into the market. We have our fingers crossed and are grateful to all those who helped us along the way!