Why Inclusive Innovation?
From a business perspective, Inclusive Innovation points to the market potential of involving the needs of physically and socially weak people into product and service development. The number of people with visual, hearing or mobility impairments is increasing in ageing societies According to the World Bank, about 15 % of the world´s population experience some form of disability. When it comes to Inclusive Innovation, there is also a second strand of people frequently excluded from opportunities available. Here, we talk about the needs of socio-economically less advantaged people. Including those who would otherwise remain excluded can enrich the innovation process and bring in new ideas. Inclusive innovation is not only important when it comes to designing new products and services but also for estimating future trends
Inclusive innovation seeks to provide sustainable solutions to those who would otherwise remain excluded from access to offers as a result of their physical, mental, social, economic, or environmental context. As an activity and business model, it reconciles the goals of commercial viability with sustainable social development.
This short online how-to guide shows some examples of Inclusive Innovation processes, and provides methods, tools and practical tips for successful implementation. It is based on the work on inclusive innovation developed by Dialogik, De Monfort University and the Siemens Accesibility Center in the context of the LIV_IN project and has been enriched with additional resources from the RRI Toolkit.
Bringing Inclusive Innovation to life: best practice examples
DMU case study: Inclusive Innovation with low-income families
An experience by De Monfort University with families from Leicester co-creating future home technologies through a “design thinking” approach with evaluation from cutting edge innovators
An innovative research-based science exhibition and community activities developed by the Experimentarium science center, which serves as model demonstrating how science centres can involve socio-economically less advantaged families, as well as more privileged families, in co-creating user-driven health changes.
Siemens case study: Inclusive Innovation with blind and visually impaired people
An experience by the Siemens Accessibility Competence Center. They conducted a workshop to discuss the question “How do we want to live in 2030”. The overall intention was to co-create non-intrusive, non-stigmatizing and affordable technologies that could enhance their daily lives, the workshop focused particularly on developing an amateur radio device which meets the requirements of blind and low vision users.
The “Sensory Assistive Technologies for Impaired Persons" project
An initiative led by the Italian Institute of Technology where they worked together with people affected by sensory disabilities (with a special focus on visual & hearing impairments) and with technology makers and researchers, policy makers, end user associations, clinical validators, and industrial partners to co-develop novel rehabilitation practices and assistive technologies.
An IT business initiative, led by Hao2, a social company that develops and sells 3D virtual environments, that is targeted to include autism in the working environment and to empower employees with complex needs. 3Dnovations is a multi-stakeholder initiative designed at every stage with and for people with autism and serves to demonstrate how industry led RRI methodologies can create a more inclusive society by unlocking ideas and talents of people with autism, increasing their employment, and improving industrial competitiveness.
An EU project dealing with the maker & DIY movements. The aim of the project is to link local communities of citizens with disabilities, their families, and healthcare professionals with makers/designers to establish collaboration between these communities to co-develop open-source interventions and solutions.
Practical tips to successfully perform Inclusive Innovation
1. Get started with the main question: What goal do I pursue?
2. Invitation Process
- Define selection criteria for the recruitment process.
- If you really want to get some people from a special group, tailor your approach to their expectations and needs
- Think about ways how to approach your target group. This can successfully be done by networks or multipliers, e.g. self-help groups, patient representatives or neighbourhood associations.
- Think about an incentive. You want to know something from the audience. A financial incentive can also be used so that the single mother or father, for example, can afford a babysitter for the time and thus participate.
- Use a variety of channels, e.g. Facebook, radio broadcast, artists, etc.
- If you have a personal network, use it.
- There is no difference between online or offline recruitment.
- The possible restrictions of the participants require that the location is chosen carefully.
- It should be a familiar and accessible location. There should also be good freedom of movement in the room itself.
- The event location should be in the immediate vicinity of the participants’ homes. Ideally, the participants already know the location.
- For visually and hearing-impaired people, make sure that the acoustics of the event room are good.
4. Online Tools
If you are planning your workshop as an online format, there are some things to consider here as well
- The software used should be free of charge.
- Data protection for the participants must be guaranteed.
- Bear in mind that a lot of software is not usable for blind people. Inform yourself in advance. A telephone conference could be the tool of choice here.
- When using online tools, plan enough time for all participants to familiarise themselves with the technique. Here, an extra appointment can help to bring everyone up to speed.
- Technical support and interaction are somewhat more difficult in online formats. Setting up extra technical support for the workshop can be a great help here.
- Ideally, find a facilitator who is familiar with working with the target group.
- A professional facilitator can ask the right questions to provide a constructive and creative working flow and will ensure that everybody has the opportunity to participate.
- A facilitator can also help designing the workshop and ensures a target-oriented and effective process.