So much of how we engage with life, and what we expect from the world around us, is bound up in social and cultural conventions we don’t even notice. More often than not these conventions come to define what we think the edges of possibility are and what we come to expect – the norms.
Challengers don’t accept these norms.
One such un-accepting Challenger who just caught our attention is Custo Prothetik who wants to shake up our expectations about prosthetics and what it means to be disabled: they want to poke us in the eye and get us to see disability differently. And to do that, this stunning little company has led with their beliefs.
They believe that everyone should be able to express themselves, no matter what. They believe that each bit of our body is an opportunity for expression and in doing so get us to question why don’t we apply this thinking to artificial limbs.
They raise – and throw out – a convention that I don’t think I had consciously noticed before: that prostheses need to either look like Jonnie Peacock’s – bionic, super human and sleek – or should blend in, look like real limbs, and not draw in unwanted attention.
In rejecting this dichotomy they offer custom designed prosthetic limbs that are unique to every individual. Their company enables individuals to collaborate with illustrators, tattoo artists, and graphic designers to bring their imagination to life and emblazon it proudly on their body. The result is some seriously beautiful art and some very original prostheses.
In this technical and highly impersonal conventional world (whose traditional experts sit in white coats and talk about the technical superiority of their products) Custo Prothetik could have just sold us a ‘better mousetrap’ story, but instead they led with their beliefs. Their main objective is to get people with prosthetic limbs to re-evaluate what they should accept (i.e. only the best), break down the taboos around prostheses and disability and build a more positive image in its place – and we’d say they’ve made a pretty good start.
How have you led with your beliefs today or are you just selling a ‘better mousetrap’?