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Designing for people living with dementia

For ten years, Enterprise by Design has worked with different companies across North Wales, mostly focused in the adventure tourism sector. This year, student teams had a rewarding and challenging brief over the 10 week process, creating memorable experiences for dementia visitors to North Wales.

This year’s finale, held in Pontio recently, saw a wide variety of product ideas from undergraduate teams made up across Psychology, Computer Science & Electronic Engineering, Business, Product Design, Music & Media, and Sport, Health & Exercise Sciences. The goal for 2019’s team was to create a product or service that would make North Wales more memorable to dementia tourists.

Awarded with a £2,500 cheque, the winning team, Freesia, did just that by giving a presentation on their online service “Memo”; a hotel search engine for dementia patients and their carers/families to find accommodations across North Wales that specifically meet their holiday needs.

The second and third place winners who received prizes of £1000 and £500, respectively, also came up with unique products aimed to aid dementia suffers during travel. Team Daisy, who came second, developed a customisable, computer-aided water bottle that reminds dementia sufferers to stay hydrated; while, in third place, team Tulip created an online service that helps provide dementia patients with a day out in North Wales.

Over the 10 week period teams were given tasks by industry specialists who have developed products for dementia sufferers and knew what to expect from this user case. Expert academics gave students advice on their business models, the design of the product itself, tips on how to develop advertisements, and some crucial background research into dementia and how it affects patients.

For the finale, students had only 200 seconds to deliver their concept, using the Pecha Kucha style presentation with timed short slide transitions, preceded by a 30-second promotional video the students made for their projects.  

Judges for this year’s Enterprise by Design included Jim Jones from North Wales Tourism, real estate developer Dafydd Hardy, Dr.Judith Roberts from the School of Psychology, Professor Paul Spencer, Dean of the College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering and Phil Nelson of The Mountain Chocolate Company.

Dafydd Hardy, who has been a judge for Enterprise by Design in past years said of the competition, “I’ve always had an interest in Pontio and the Innovation Centre, and I was delighted to be asked back again this year because I think it’s always great to be presented with new ideas for the area”.

As far as the winning teams go, he said the judges were looking for teams with “strong presentation skills, and an idea that could work in the real world”.

Before the judges gave their decision, Bangor University alumni Daniel Taylor gave a short presentation about the impact of being a part of Enterprise by Design in his time as a student. Having built a small business based on his experience at Enterprise by Design five years ago, Dan is now an owner of two businesses based in Swindon.

Of his time at Enterprise by Design he said that the 10 week process helped him become the employee that he wants to be today; and he learnt what type of employer he wanted to be. After learning from mentors and students across the different disciplines, he credits his experience with Enterprise by Design as a large stepping stone to his growing career.

For our winners this year, Team Freesia are planning to take their idea further and hopefully develop their website service with the winning prize money. Teon Mclean, a member of the team said of their winning idea:

“we thought about how hard it must be for dementia sufferers to go away on a trip, but how great getting outdoors would be to combat cognitive decline. They’re missing out on this because of unsuitable accommodations, so we thought about a platform to work with hotels who are committed to making their rooms dementia-friendly.”

Teon also spoke on how the process has helped him as a student. He commented:

“It’s been really great to work with students across different disciplines, I’ve learnt so much that I can apply to my career and education in the future”.

Pontio Innovation, which organizes Enterprise by Design in collaboration with B.Enterprising and academic schools from across the University, loves that the challenge has been a staple event for students every year at Bangor University. After working with 10 cohorts of students and a range of companies, from camping equipment to packaging to adventure experiences, Pontio Innovation believes that the competition is a helpful experience for students in their future careers, as well as beneficial to the development of enterprise and innovation in the North Wales area.

Dr Andy Goodman the head of Pontio Innovation said:

“For the first time, this year Enterprise by Design responded to a challenge set by an industrial sector, rather than an individual company.

Delegates at the ‘North Wales Tourism Conference, 2019: Adventure and Beyond.’ asked the question: how might our well established and world leading adventure tourism sector respond to the burgeoning opportunity presented by Health and Wellness tourism? Informed by academic researchers, clinicians and experts on tourism, 60 students responded with enthusiasm to the specific issue of dementia; how patients, families and carers might have a more memorable experience in North Wales.”

The competition continually benefits local businesses with dozens of ideas from our undergraduate students, from how to reach an older generation with new technology to that unique concept design that draws in thousands of tourists. We’re excited to see what next year’s cohort can bring to the table!

For more information about Enterprise by Design and Pontio Innovation, please visit:  


Publication date: 24 May 2019