Collaborative design and user-centred working is a key facet of Butters Innovation, from the Institute of Ageing and Health co-design project with older adults to the Morow collaborative research project conducted with PDS (CNC) Engineering, University of Manchester and University of Salford.

Morow: Motorised Rehabilitation of Walking

A collaborative research project with PDS (CNC) Engineering, The University of Manchester and Salford University to develop a motorised device to aid stroke patient sit-to-stand and walking. To date 2.3m has been raised to develop a commercial system to a specification developed from a partnership with patients, carers and clinicians. The spin-out company Morow Ltd has attracted equity investment, won awards and citations.

For five years we have been working with a team to develop a novel device that will assist in the rehabilitation of people who have survived a stroke. The project has been structured in such a way that the patients, their carers and clinicians have been brought together in workshops on a regular basis to have a direct input into the design process.

MoRoW prototype MoRoW prototype MoRoW prototype

"The Morow project is an excellent example of collaborative design where the academics, professional designers, clinicians, engineers, patients and carers all worked together to develop an appropriate product specification that is fit-for-purpose to address real problems. Through workshops with clinicians and stroke survivors and their families/carers, many ideas have been put forward and tested to create a system with great potential to benefit stroke survivors and the clinicians and carers who help with their rehabilitation."
Professor Sarah F Tyson FCSP, MSc, PhD Professor of Rehabilitation, University of Manchester


Institute for Ageing and Health: Street Furniture for Older Adults

Working with Voice North, a consultation network of 2000 older adults, we ran a Co-Design process that enabled a broad community of interest to engage with developing a specification and then a design for seating. The project highlighted the fact that current street furniture designs did not consider the needs of older people. There were also shortcomings in the way the items were generally specified and procured. Once the relevant issues were agreed, a commercial design was produced.

Institute for Ageing and Health workshops with people from the Voice North group

Seat design features

Institute for Ageing and Health workshops with people from the Voice North group and resulting seat design

The Institute for Ageing and Health required this project to comply with Co-Design principles. As stated by Professor James Edwardson, Professor of Neuroendocrinology, Founding Director IAH and Chair Voice North:

Professor James Edwardson

"Design is useless without co-design, the ethos we use at The Institute of Ageing and Health is that there should be 'nothing about us, without us'. This project is a good example of what the Institute is trying to achieve."


The project was funded by Design Network North.

Terry McStea, Network Manager at DNN said:
"Jonathan designed and ran a highly effective and flexible Co-Design process on the project DNN funded with the Institute of Ageing and Health. He encouraged the participants to develop and respond to a very loose design brief, creating a well informed specification that addressed real issues. The participants were also encouraged to design a questionnaire so that the wider Voice North group could also be consulted. Bringing the Estates Office, the University Procurement Manager and several Manufacturers into the Co-Design process at an early stage was key to building ownership throughout the community of interest and delivering a truly appropriate design solution.

The project resulted in a very well-designed end product which has generated considerable publicity for the network. It has also given us a valuable good case study in how co-design can deliver tangible benefits, which we have been able to share with the wider design community."

Institute for Ageing and Health Launch event Institute for Ageing and Health Launch event Institute for Ageing and Health Launch event


Manchester Knowledge Capital: Intelligent Transport Project

We ran a number of high level consultations and interactive workshops with senior executives from Manchester United and Manchester City, Sale Sharks, Virgin Trains, Network Rail, Manchester Airport, GM PTE, the Manchester Museums and Galleries, Opera House and Theatres.

The objective was to develop a suitable pilot to explore the possibilities of integrating public transport and ticketing with the Experiences and Content on offer within the city region. The consultation group agreed that the move towards the overall objective of full implementation of an Integrated Digital Ticketing system in Greater Manchester could be developed in three phases: Pre-Pilot, Pilot and Roll-Out.

The Pre-Pilot phase was intended to assist all sports, arts and cultural venues to improve their online information with regards to pointing customers towards public transport.

The pilot was split into two stages. Stage 1 offered a Travel Bolt-On to season ticket holders of sports clubs and visitors to arts and cultural venues. Stage 2 explored Initial Portal Integration by way of building and trialling a "one stop shop" online booking facility which integrated transport with events and attractions.

Manchester Knowledge Capital: Intelligent Transport Project - workshop outcomes


Sefton Council: Youth Shelters

A project commissioned by Sefton Council, Merseyside. We worked with youths to develop a design they would like to use and that would resist vandalism. We involved the youths in discussions, sketching and modelling prior to converting their designs into a manufacturable system in partnership with the council.

Sefton Council: Youth Shelters

Oversaw the production and installation to comply with health & safety standards and maintenance requirements. Personal safety and bullying issues were considered by permitting good sight lines and an open aspect on both sides. Structural loading was assessed with the assumption that a number of youths would regularly climb on or hang off the structure. The shelter proved to be very popular and robust.