Big Life Fix

Smart Design

The mission

The Exception Method is the natural evolution of the design processes practiced by Ruby Steel in her 12 years of experience in human centered design. In particular, her involvement in BBC Two's Big Life Fix, seeing first hand, the power and benefit of designing for one and then seeking out the universal value.

Big Life Fix was an award winning BBC Two documentary that brought together the best designers, makers and technologists to build life changing solutions for vulnerable individuals across the UK. Ruby was a designer on the show and designed innovative ways to better the everyday lives of multiple people who had been excluded from mainstream products and services. This helped realise the power in designing for one exceptional person. 

Ruby and Dawood Sufi worked at Smart Design from 2015 to 2020, a design studio, with a long and rich heritage in inclusive design, laying further foundations for The Exception Method. The design of the OXO Good Grips potato peeler — now displayed in the MoMA in New York — was achieved by understanding the dexterity needs of Betsy, a lady suffering with extreme arthritis and the criteria of a high-end chef. By meeting the needs of both – the potato peeler is wonderfully ergonomic to hold and sharp to peel, and thus became a best seller. This product, now almost three decades old, inspired hundreds of products for OXO using inclusive design, building a most admired homeware brand.

Ruby and Dawood recognised the commercial benefit to businesses by embedding The Exception Method within organisations. Integrating inclusive innovation into the every day processes of product teams, generates better performing products, whilst helping vulnerable members of society. 

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