Innovation through inclusion, beyond inclusion and reverse inclusion
The needs of disabled people from digital products are sometimes similar and sometimes divergent from the general population.
As such, including the needs of your most disparate groups of users can be challenging.
But innovation often follows a challenge.
And innovation, as most businesses agree, is the lifeblood of success and progress.
Where the needs of some disabled groups diverge greatly from the mainstream, and where there is a potential for supporting these needs technically and financially, the creation of specialist ‘beyond inclusion‘ products can provide some of the most satisfying tests of innovation and design skill.
Moreover, from the typewriter to OXO Good grips, the audiogame Papa Sangre, and Apple’s use of Voiceover text to speech technology in the iPod nano, products initially created specifically to help disabled people have regularly broken out from their niche target audience and crossed-over into the mainstream, bringing fresh new ways of doing established tasks to mainstream users and new revenue streams to their creators.
At Hassell Inclusion we call this ‘reverse inclusion‘ and we believe that our aim of creating innovative solutions to the challenges of inclusion not only helps disabled and elderly people but can show new ways for all organisations to innovate.
What we provide
- innovation via inclusion and diversity:
- methods for injecting innovation into organisations’ product ideation processes by considering the needs of disabled people as a way of freeing-up project team’s creativity and stop them fixating on well-established product ideas
- beyond inclusion innovation:
- finding the right challenges – research for providing deep understanding of the particular needs of elderly people and people with different disabilities;
- creating sparks – solution workshops where we bring together disparate yet complementary experts each with a potential piece of the solution to supporting these needs, and ‘collide’ them with each other to generate innovative sparks for a solution
- nurturing the sparks – finding commercial models to fund R&D into those solution sparks, including writing funding proposals to UK and European funding bodies
- fanning them into flames – managing funded R&D projects to ensure technology solutions are created in a user-centred way, to ensure the resulting products will fit into the needs, capabilities and lifestyle of their target users
- ensuring the oxygen supply – advising promotional strategy to ensure that the target users become aware of these new products, are able to understand how they will help them, are able to purchase them, and are able to engage with the product creators to suggest continual improvements
Why use us for this?
Professor Jonathan Hassell has introduced innovations to many general-purpose digital products, in the service of inclusion, which have gone on to win awards:
- BBC iPlayer’s accessibility features – especially subtitles (captioning) and audio description (descriptive video)
- bbc.co.uk’s accessibility information sub-site My Web My Way (initial creation, awards and updates)
He has also commissioned and product managed many award-winning ‘beyond inclusion’ products, often resulting in ‘reverse inclusion’ take-up due to the products’ fresh approach and production quality:
- uKinect – the first use of Microsoft Kinect to help people who use Makaton signs to communicate
- MyDisplay/BBC ASK – website accessibility personalisation tool
- Us5 – online videos for people with learning difficulties, created by people with learning difficulties
- Performing Hands – the first use of signing avatars to help Deaf children’s literacy
- Benjamin’s House – the first first software in Europe to use audiogames to help blind children learn English and Braille literacy
Our experience of working on these products, enriched with discussions with other experts in the inclusive design and ideation fields, has helped us develop and hone proven techniques for generating and developing innovative solutions.
If you are interested in how your organisation could become more innovative through considering inclusion, you have a particular pressing unmet need, you have a technology which you think could be developed to be of benefit to disabled or elderly people, or you need an expert to advise you on how to apply for funding for your proposal, please contact us…