One of our 10 finalists for the Inventor Prize, TruRegard's Director, Connor Musoke-Jones, tells us more about their product The Unity Door Handle
During my first year of university, I was given a project focused on door handles. I sat outside an office for a while, just watching people going in and out (people watching is great) and I noticed a curious phenomenon. People would walk up to the disabled friendly entrance, then stop and go back to the main entrance. I thought this was strange, so I started digging deeper. I saw the same thing happening with a lot of aid equipment, people going out of their way to not use it.
This helped me come to an important conclusion. Products reflect their users; obtrusive products result in stigma for their users. This shouldn't be the case. Needing to make use of specialist equipment, shouldn't mean you have to accept that stigma - either in your own eyes or in the eyes of others.
Since that little realisation, I have set out to make something that can be used by everyone; something that is as beautiful as it is usable. I hope one day to be making more products that are as functional as possible for as many people as possible, without excluding, without separating, without stigmatising. Products made with a deep respect, for the places they sit and people who use them, that’s what is important to me.
When I found the Nesta Inventor Prize, the whole challenge looked perfect. I knew I had an idea for a handle and some clue about how to do it. But I didn’t know if anyone else would think it was a good idea, and I also knew bringing a product to the market was not exactly smooth sailing (and I didn’t really know how exactly to get something “market ready”).
So, when I found out that the Inventor Prize was not only offering funding to help with the first stages of entrepreneurship, but would also offer direct support for just about any problem I would face, I thought that was pretty awesome. For me, it was the motivation I needed to get going and start this thing. No excuses! When Nesta called me to say I was finalist, I was thrilled. It was the validation and proof that maybe, just maybe, I could be on to something really good.
I have already learnt so much about running a business and I feel like I have achieved a lot in a short time. One day, I hope that the skills and knowledge I have learnt from this journey will help me to build TruRegard into brand that really makes a difference.
Through the prize, I really hope to learn as much business acumen as possible. Seeing how the wheels of industry turn and the connectedness of the field is incredible. Being immersed completely in this world is a lot of fun for me. (Honestly, I can’t recommend it enough to anyone who wants to see the inner workings or market.)
I know that whatever happens next in my life and business, this experience is going to be pivotal. The contacts I have and will make, the skills I’m developing and the time I’ve spent, will always be invaluable to me.
Connor Peter Musoke-Jones is the Director of TruRegard