David Constantine MBE has been one of the driving forces behind Motivation for three decades.
For those of you who don’t know Motivation, here’s a bit of background:
It all started in 1989, with two Royal College of Art students entering a competition. Their goal? To design a wheelchair for disabled people in developing countries.
David Constantine and Simon Gue were determined to create a prototype that put the user at its heart. It had to be robust to cope with rough terrain, affordable, and made from materials that could be locally sourced. It had to be supportive for the needs of those with spinal cord injury and other mobility disabilities. Their design won, and the judges convinced the pair to take the prototype further.
With their friend Richard Frost, David and Simon travelled to Bangladesh where they built their first wheelchair for a local disability organisation. Seeing first-hand how quickly an appropriate wheelchair could transform a life, they were easily persuaded to develop their work. In 1991 the team of three started their first wheelchair workshop, and Motivation was born.
In 2013, when our annual conference was held in Bristol, PMG invited David to be a keynote speaker. In his presentation, Reinventing the Wheel - a paradigm shift in the approach to the provision of appropriate wheeled mobility in less resourced settings, David explained how, after becoming quadriplegic in 1982, his life took a different direction. He decided against a career in IT, and went on to study a Masters in product design at the Royal College of Art; the rest is history!
As happened for many of us, the slower pace enforced by the Pandemic allowed David to reflect on his life. As a result, he has decided to focus his energy on two new roles which will see him leading global assistive technology membership bodies: as Chair of the International Society of Wheelchair Professionals and as President elect of the International Society of Prosthetics & Orthotics.
David says I’m glad to be leaving [Motivation] in good hands, in a strong position to continue delivering, innovating, and disrupting the status quo...just as we started out back in 1991.
And it’s great to know that, in the words of Motivation’s CEO, Amanda Wilkinson, David’s influence and expertise will continue to inspire and shape the wheelchair sector at a global level, making a difference to even more disabled people around the world.
PMG wishes him every success in his new ventures.
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