In May 2020, I was selected to take part in TEDI-London's engineering baed Summer School, where I was tasked with developing a start up with the purpose of creating dementia-friendly initiatives for a British Land development in Southwark, London. My team, WANA, all shared the same passion for social impact, and thus developed a Collective Impact Social Enterprise that focused on creating community frameworks that promote access and inclusivity for people with dementia. Our proposal, WeLink, provides instant dementia friendly community infrastructure for large developments.
Amongst 15 other teams, our project was placed first, meaning our team will be flown to London to continue working on our prototype with a £15,000 prize.

Branding and Identity, Iterative Prototyping, Business Strategy, Design Thinking, Pitching

What is TEDI-London?

TEDI-London is a engineering higher education institution co-founded by Arizona State University, UNSW Sydney, and King's College London. By 2030, 82 million people worldwide will be living with dementia and there is an urgent need for innovations to support them and their families to prevent further overloading of already stretched health and social care systems. Over 6 weeks, 147 students from 21 countries were tasked to develop dementia friendly solutions for the new urban town centre at Canada Water. Delivered wholly online, 15 teams competed for the £15,000 prize to develop the most innovative solution for regenerating an urban space to reflect the needs of an ageing population that faces one of the greatest global challenges of today – dementia.


TEDI-London's brief

We were tasked to answer the following challenge: Create a dementia friendly outdoor space where people with dementia and their carers can interact safely. We answered this challenge with the support of a range of academics and industry partners to deliver our solution. In doing so, we explored key themes in design, engineering, global team working and dementia, learning how to apply complex theory to real-world challenges. The project also required Dementia Friend training which taught us to recognise and support people with Dementia, and raise awareness and understanding of the disease.


Response to the brief

WeLink is an instant dementia inclusive community hubs for the development of Canada Water in London. These hubs exist in recycled shipping containers and are transported in to provide community services which are at risk of becoming lost as construction starts, and fragmenting the community. These hubs function as community engagement centres to bring together all residents, especially people with dementia. Additional hubs will be leased out, fostering small enterprise within the Canada Water community.


What makes WeLink dementia friendly?

WeLink hubs are designed to be dementia friendly. Features that make them so include contrasting colours between seating, walkways and walls, natural and artificial lighting, carefully considered handles and fittings, wheelchair accessibility, obvious and unobstructed walkways, amongst other features. On the outside, the hubs will be easily identifiable to help with way-finding in the area.


Who did I work with?

My team consisted of 10 students from around the world. We came from a range of different disciplines, from chemical engineering, to architecture. Whilst working on the project, we organised ourselves into working teams based on timezones around the world, so we were often working 24 hours around the clock by passing work between these two teams! The success of our project really comes down to how well we were able to collaborate with each other, share knowledge and experience, resulting in the creation of many friendships along the way.