Category: DEEP2012

AODA Alliance

David Lepofsky: Thank you very much.

It’s an honour to be here, and a huge credit to OCAD University to be convening this event.

17 years ago today, a tiny coalition that I had the privilege of taking a leadership role in, received a letter from the person who was then to be elected within weeks, the Premier of the Province of Ontario promising to enact an Accessibility Law. How have we done in the past 17 years, particularly in the area of information technology? What more do we need to do?

One of the important interesting issues that I can tell you, having first been the chair for the Ontarians with Disability Act committee, we worked hard to have a weak one passed in 2001 and the stronger one passed in 2005, and then the current one the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities [Act] Alliance. I can give you a few quick hints on how we work it and how we launch our non-governmental campaign to get it effectively implemented.

One of our techniques and one that perhaps only a blind person like me can do. I’m going to do a little survey. I do it in every group gathering. It is entirely unscientific, and therefore it is really good. Let’s see if this subject touches you personally, the issue of accessibility in public.

I want you to raise your hand if you have no disability now and you are certain you will never get one. Raise your hand. I don’t see any hands.

tape starts (laughter)

In fact, I never do. This is a campaign about accessibility for the weirdest minority of all. Everybody either has a disability now, or has someone near and dear to them who has a disability or will get one eventually since aging is the most common cause of disability.

We won this legislation by arguing that we are the minority of everyone. Let me take this and translate it to the information technology context in a moment.

But another way we won it was in fact by using information technology.

Watch how we do this.

If you were interested in learning more about our campaign, sign up for our e-mail updates. A nice woman named Freddy is going to pass around a couple of lists. If you are interested in learning about how we are waging this campaign, giving us feedback on your own ideas,

We have people following us around the world not just around Ontario. Just give us your e-mail address — print, don’t write it. Print it legibly. And we will plug you in. Because we use e-mail as a way to get out our word, to gather ideas, to mobilize support and win this campaign from this legislation back in 2005. And that’s what we are using now to also campaign for its effective enforcement.

We are also branching out a little into social media, if you want to
follow us on Twitter, we’re @aodaalliance. If for any reason you don’t sign up now, but want to sign up later, send an e-mail to this:

Through that little one minute snippet I just delivered, we built our movement, from one end of the province to another. This evening you are going to a reception at the legislature. It was in a committee room of that legislature where about 20 of us met back in November 1994 with a vision of a fully accessible Ontario.

Let me turn for a moment to talk about why the information technology sector is an especially important place to wage a campaign for accessibility.

For several reasons: For those of us who advocate in this area of accessibility we have to be general practitioners. One minute we are answering questions about accessible buses and subways. Another minute, accommodating people in the workplace, people with disabilities in the workplace. Yet another minute it may be about trying to find an accessible polling station to cast your vote in an election. And in another minute it’s talking about what standards for website accessibility should be implemented and when. We have to be ready for all of those.

What we learned is this: the information technology sector is the sector with no excuses. It is the sector that is most able to deliver accessibility as compared to the others more quickly, more effectively, and at least cost.

Why is that? Removing all barriers always cost more. Preventing new barriers cost little if anything at all. And in the area of information technology, unlike the area of buildings, offices, houses and apartments, we don’t need to talk about, for the most part, tearing down the old buildings or retrofitting them at all. We need to talk about making sure the new information is going to be accessible. You see, five years from now, information technology that you and I will use in our workplace, in our home, for communicating mobilely with each other, that information technology, we haven’t bought it yet. Not only haven’t we bought it yet, we haven’t contracted for it yet. Not only haven’t we contracted for it yet, it hasn’t been designed yet.

It hasn’t been invented yet.

So all we need to do is make a decision today that the information technology in our homes, our workplaces, our places where we deliver goods and services to the public, that it will be accessible and tell those who are making it, who are designing it now, make it accessible and it can be done.

We can make that decision now.

The reality is that the information technology sector is best able to deliver accessibility for another reason: It is all about innovation. Every company is trying to invent the newest, the coolest, the best, the cheapest, the most featured. They’re in a race with each other. Creativity and innovation is the touchstone of this sector.

Elevators are the elevators. Okay you can put braille on the buttons, you can put a voice on it. But elevators are elevators. But smartphones, computer, that’s all evolving. So this is an area [in which] with the proper government intervention, we can achieve full accessibility. We just need the will, the tools and the effective enforcement.

There are stunning examples of accomplishment. Apple, by putting VoiceOver in the iPhone and iPad and the iPod Touch, has I believe revolutionized universal design by mainstreaming [it]. The fact that you can borrow those guys, you can take anyone who has them that’s a recent purchase, a couple of clicks later and you can say I can use that too. It didn’t cost anything extra. No pushback with what’s this going to do for market share and all that sort of old fuddy duddy stuff. That’s all done. But even then, not that we are always just giving praise, believe me, Apple has some progress to make. The iPhone for a blind person is fabulous as a way to operate as a GPS, as a colour detector. About a million other access features on it that are great. But one player that happens to be a little weaker a lot weaker is as a phone. It’s hard to dial.

Try keeping your banker. Great, you can use Siri if your’re sitting in the back of a taxi. Just dictate aloud your confidential PIN. Now it’s not hard for Apple to take a genius that lead to VoiceOver and to the Siri and all those other accessibility features, an in kind phone, a really accessible phone. Not just all those other things. So the sector is capable of delivering accessibility. Touch screens, five years ago we would have said are the biggest problem. Apple has found ways to conquer it.

Other companies are trying to play catch-up. By demanding accessibility in the mainstream product, it’s the wave of the future.

How are we doing in Ontario? I would like to give you what I believe [is] a fair, even-handed assessment. There are some really important things we can be proud of and having led the coalition that fought for this legislation, I think we can claim a piece of the pride in the accomplishment. For one thing, we are to my knowledge the first and the only jurisdiction, that has legislatively set a deadline by which our jurisdiction, Ontario, must become fully accessible. Now some thought 20 years was too long. Others thought it might be too short. The fact of the matter is the deadline set the clock ticking. And from day one, we have said as a community coalition, are we on schedule?

And frankly, folks, we are not. We’re behind schedule. And at the rate we are going, we will not achieve that goal. Don’t just take my word for it. The government appointed its own independent review of the implementation of the disabilities act a couple of years ago. It rendered a report. It’s up on our website at and that report says that there needs to be substantial revitalization of how the government implements this legislation. In order for us to achieve that deadline. Now speakers of that design listed a number of really important and commendable efforts that are on-going. But there needs to be significantly more. So if you are outside of Ontario and you want to see what we are doing in order to learn from our experience, our recommendation as the community coalition that fought for this legislation and its successful and fighting for its effective implementation, is yes, talk to the government about what they are doing and how they have learned from experience, commendably, but also come to us. To see what more recently needs to be done. It’s on our website, and look at the government’s own independent review of its implementation of this legislation for a mandate on how it can do better. How are we doing in the specific area of information technology? Well, the fact that we have regulated it at all I think is commendable, and it’s an important step forward. The fact that we have mandated accessibility requirements for at least public sector and some private sector organizations in the areas of websites, of electronic kiosks and the procurement of goods and services including information technology.

These are important steps forward. And other jurisdictions should do the same. In fact, they should do the same, but they should do better so that Ontario will have to catch up with them. We are falling short in how we regulated in a few important areas. For one thing, we have created too many exemptions. And the exemptions fall below the requirements of our prevailing equal rights legislations, the Ontario human rights code. This is important because an organization that complies with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act is not, thereby, done. They have a prevailing obligation to meet the requirements of equality and effective reasonable accommodation under our human rights code: It prevails over the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. So the fact that the accessibility standards enacted in Ontario fall short of the human rights legal requirements means that organizations can’t just look to the what we said are too long timelines in our accessibility standards and say, okay, we can wait until then. They’ve got to act now. If anything, we are hoping that public and private sector organizations will say that we want to exceed the requirements of the accessibility standards and we want to get there sooner. And the more organizations that do that, the more their competitors are going to have to play catch-up or lose market share.

The accessibility standard in the area of information technology falls short by having [a] timeline that is too long, by having exemptions that are weaker – I should say, or too wide compared to the requirements of our human rights code, and our accessibility standards fall short in not prescribing more detail. Now the described video detail in the area of website accessibility and that’s important. But in the area of access to electronic kiosks and the procurement of goods, services and other information technology, we are falling short. They are too general. They’re too vague. We need more specifics. We are hoping that the government will put up guidelines and enough organizations will say they will live up to those guidelines even if they are more detailed than the regulation. But my recommendation in any jurisdiction is put your detail into the regulation itself. That’s what the government was recommended to do by the standards development committee that proposed extensive work in this area. Unfortunately the government didn’t listen on that important point.

We are moving forward, but we’re not moving forward quickly enough and we need to move forward — we need more detail, we need tighter timelines to get us there.

Let me tell you about one or two other quick things in Ontario. Our government, to its credit, committed to in the last provincial election at our request that it would develop and has implemented a 10-year infrastructure plan for government-run kiosks and information technology. We already have government 10 year infrastructure plan for built environment and it does includes accessibility commitments. That’s good. The government, however, did not include it in information technology electronic kiosks. We asked the government to commit to that in last fall’s election.

The good news is that they did. The bad news is subsequently wrote the two key ministers responsible for implementing it, to see what they were going to do about it, they sent us letters back thanking us for our great concern and our great advocacy, but didn’t answer the question. Bit of a recurring theme. Let me turn to one other really important area, which is what kind of resistance might one expect if one presses for access technology or information technology accessibility. One argument that is put is, oh, not that many people need it. I answered that one at the start of my presentation when I asked you to raise your hand. Eventually it will touch everyone. But I proposed a question asked earlier today. The fact is access technology or access to building regiments ultimately help everyone. I fought that case personally against the Toronto Transit Commission, Canada’s largest urban transit provider to require them to do something as simple as call out all bus and subway stops so we blind folks could know where we are.

At a relatively easy pace, every bus has a driver, every driver has a mouth and hopefully they know where they are. Toronto Transit Commission not only resisted but spent as much as $450,000 on lawyers to oppose. They lost. The fact that what I can tell you to learned from this is this: Most of the positive feedback I get on our now-consistent subway stop announcements on our buses, streetcars and subways, comes from sighted people — sighted people who say, thanks for the announcements. I couldn’t see out the window. It’s snowing. The windows are dirty. The bus is crowded. I’m reading a book.

The accommodations that help us, help everyone.

The accessible websites — I was hoping they would just hold up a note so I could just ignore them. Oh well.

So the fact that these accessibility measures not only in the long run cost little if anything, but they tend to benefit everyone. The next pushback is, oh, our company. We have a legacy system. We have a legacy system that’s 20 years old. How are we going to retrofit it? Well, fortunately in Ontario we are moving in the direction requiring things to be retrofitted over time. And that’s the standard to use. But frankly any company that’s going to continue to use 20-year-old technology, I think is not got a competitive edge for very long. But one way or another, whether it’s a legacy computer system or a brand new computer system, the fact is, human beings need to interact with it. And everybody, not just some human beings, should be able to. So if they are going to create some kind of user interface, create an accessible one. We know how to do it better now. It’s cheaper than ever now. It can be done.

So organizations may say, we’d like to do this but we don’t have the skill set. Our people don’t know how to build in accessibility. Well folks, this, as I said earlier, is the sector driven by innovation. I am aware in my profession — some of you are aware that I am a lawyer for some thirty years —, I’ve got an edge over the new graduates because I’ve been doing it longer. In the information technology they new graduates have the edge over the people who have been around for 30 years.

So as long as people like the Ontario College of Art and Design are helping to ensure that those who do design do it accessibly. The new graduates are coming along and if the existing workforce doesn’t want to get with the program, they have to rethink whether or not this is the field they should be working in. This is the industry of innovation. So it’s hardly for them to say no, we’re not really able to do innovation.

The final argument that they put forward, we want to be able to get our act out the door the soonest. And we don’t want to hold it up and doing all this pesky accessibility stuff. Well folks, getting something out of the door that people can’t use, that’s not a market edge; that’s a market disadvantage. If you get the product out the door quickly but build in accessibility in, you have a bigger market edge. So the case for doing this is really strong. The ways to do it, we have learned in part in Ontario, but you can learn as much from what we accomplished as from what we’ve learned doesn’t work and needs to be improved.

Let me conclude by reaching out to all of you by saying that we at the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance would like you to sign up for e-mail updates, at But also to send us ideas. We welcome feedback from you. If we are proposing something that doesn’t work, tell us a better way. If we are proposing something that is impractical, offer us a option that’s arguable. Let’s take the sector that is best positioned to deliver accessibility, that is most imbued with skills in the area of innovation to achieve full accessibility the quickest, far quicker than Ontario’s Accessibility Standards require so that it can become a beacon from which other sectors of our economy can learn. Thank you very much for the opportunity to let me speak with you this morning.

(applause) End of Tape

I should apologize, because of other commitments, I can’t stay for the rest of the day.

I would really love to. but I’m told I can take one or two questions right now if people have them.

>> We love you David.
David Lepofsky: Thank you very much.

Economic Levers and Market

Good morning everybody. Please take your seats. Today is an easier day we won’t be travelling around so makeup. But for those of you that are in session, click Levers, Demographics and Market Forces that has been switch— it’s been switched to Room 550.

Some of you think you are in Room 550 already for the Policy and dissidence and Policy Levers. You are here in Room 190 456789 is what your tag will say. Reminder that your tag has your room numbers on the back. So Room 190 is for CRPD and Policy Levers.

I would like to ask if anyone has an early flight like 6:00 to let me know. If we need to — if there is enough people we might see what we can do to end a little earlier to get people to the airport more easily without missing of the good stuff.

And I think without further ado. That I can pass the mic on to Jutta. Thank you. Thank you Pina.

>>Jutta Treviranus: So I hope you enjoyed the weather that we ordered yesterday. And have seen a little bit more of Toronto.

Yesterday was quite a productive day. And today we are moving on to new perspectives. Yesterday we learned from current experience from mistakes and successes that we’ve had. And today we’d like to bring in some fresh voices — people who have not been in fact in this particular domain and have not been working on and slogging away at this for many, many years, but who are nonetheless working on convergent and similar issues.

Today is also a time to reflect and strategize on how we can use this moment in history. This time of disruption and this inflexion point to ensure that our future is more inclusive. In terms of economy and our markets while we have business compelled to compete for the largest markets leaving out the margins and unemployment rate for people with disabilities is abysmal. We now have financial meltdown, the Occupy movement and a digitally transformed economy.

In terms of technology, well, most products and services were designed for the typical or average user, and products were mass-produced while the major business strategy was to patent ambitiously, protect intellectual property making to modify products for the nonstandard user.

We have moved to digital systems, open access movements and 3D printing on demand which will change mass production.

In terms of policy, well, social programs have always been the most vulnerable in time of constraint and disability has frequently been a political pawn rather than a priority.

There is now a push for transparent government and movements where the margins are taking power.

And while universities have actually prided themselves in survival of the fittest — exclusive education — and educational jurisdictions tried to bring everyone to a fixed standard, we now have the transformation of education with ubiquitous connectivity in Google; it is not how— we no longer need human hard drives but a diversity of learners.

And so all of these jurisdictions and all of these areas and domains that we’re going to talk about today are at a point where there is an opportunity to rethink, to reformulate, to take away some of the silos and the barriers we have been facing. And we can participate in this redesign and hopefully design a much more inclusive future.

So we are welcoming a number of speakers who are going to be talking about these possible opportunities. And these as I said are fresh perspectives. Some of whom — actually one of the first ones — is someone who is in this particular domain: So the first speaker that we’ve invited is Richard Donovan, and many of you know Richard Donovan and I’m sure that you yesterday when the Lieutenant Governor was mentioning you will know of Rich’s connection with that.

Richard Donovan is a locally recognized subject matter on disability and is focused on unlocking economic value in the disability space.

And I would like to invite Rich to come to the podium — or, actually do you want to sit at the table?


>>Richard Donovan: Good morning, everyone. Can you can you hear me okay? So today we’ll begin the [cannot understand speaker]

Today I want to talk about two things. And I want to focus on the— I want to focus on the idea of — you’re probably thinking, what the hell does innovation have to do with disability?

Well, where does innovation come from? We often use extremes to drive new ideas. If we look at the— they built and designed the vehicle for a very different or would it be the [inaudible] it was built in the extreme years with — [inaudible] one.

The iPad was designed and tested by— by extreme users. A two-year-old can use the iPad as a blue line person. So that is a good example to take these extreme users and taking it to the mainstream consumer application.

Disability is probably the most extreme user going today. If you have ever seen me try to use a consumer product you will know what the hell I’m talk about.

It’s not easy for people with disabilities to; it’s difficult.

And now what we have been doing in the past with disabilities is designing for disabilities and we actually got that backwards. The way that we go about this is that designing for disabilities I?

>> So [inaudible] sitting in the big [inaudible] that’s a goal. That individual would likely have different vendors or different agencies but they might approach to get good — if you have seven to ten agencies and you get five people at these agencies how is the organization going to track all of those agencies and all of those people?

It’s not skilled that way. Because you have to boil it down to one or two partners. You have to get the volume up. You have to find numbers.

And when you employ 90,000 people, 300 people is not a scale. So the question is how do we use innovation to get that scale?

How do we use innovation to [inaudible] as opposed to we’re never going get there.

I’ll give you another good — example of scale. [inaudible] designed to employ people with disabilities in the distribution centre. And they did it for altruistic reasons. They were trying to be a good company, quote, unquote. But they could not realize that — they realized that over the first years they crossed that and they could not figure out why. And we’re not talking 3 or 4%. We’re talking 20%. Over the entire distribution center. That is a big number.

Now the study figured out that people with disabilities did they do something different? You have to change and design the processes differently. And in doing so the employees took the complexity out of the system. Because they looked at the process that was one hundred steps and they said, why are you doing it like that? Do it like this. It’s easy.

So a hundred-step process became a 20-step process.

And when you scale that up, as far I’m concerned in the distribution centre, they are seeing some serious numbers. That is saving the distribution centre a lot of money. That is $160 million gone. That is significant. That is real. And that’s directly from making the decision to hire people with disabilities.

But not because you hired people with disabilities, what drove it is the cost and value. What drove it is the scale.

What drove it is finding the way to do it, not just do it.

And I think that is an important point to make, a lot of folks get up in front of these microphones and tell us what we should do.

And frankly, that is easy to do. That is easy — the easy way out. The real question is why?

Why — why do these owners of [inaudible] going to have you to do this? That is the question that we need answer.

I think if you took a poll and asked who was against hiring people with disabilities — and thin focus on the two drivers of value in disability. Innovation and scale. If we do that the rest will follow.

Do we have any questions? Do we have any time for questions, Jutta?

>>Jutta Treviranus: Yes, definitely. Anyone questions for Rich? Yes, Mike.

>> Rich, I didn’t get the name of the U.S. company. Did you say the name of the U.S. company?

>>Richard Donovan: Yes, Walgreen’s.

>> Yes, that is being promoted because they have a staff member who has son with a cognitive disability, you know, right?

>>Richard Donovan: Yes, that is what originally motivated them.

They have done it and the experience is a 20% gain which I’m a skeptical guy. Even with that 20% number I have to say, okay, let’s see what this really is right? But when someone else does it and gets the same result, now you have something that is real. P/\&G is [inaudible]

>>Axel Leblois: Better? Good morning I’m Axel Leblois and your promotion of the extreme user is really powerful. There is a framework a natural classification fortunately that is now. Which is pretty well developed and well interesting to — and I was wondering if you had ever looked at it and see how it would make the adoption of the extreme user to some of the key categories of functionalities?

>>Richard Donovan: What we’re finding is that there is an in these categories. And when you want to get inside it’s very important to find, how shall we say, people that live their reality is in the extreme user environment, but they can also articulate that environment for use in a commercial pilot.

So we found we’ve had better success finding a crossover of extreme users in creative people regardless of their functionality.

So we go to artists, entrepreneur new years, designers, ones with disabilities that had to go shopping. As a dad with a disability I can relate to that.

Those kinds of — end up being very powerful to get people to articulate those challenges in the medium and usable way for the company.

I’m finding that when you — [inaudible] inside technique with disability it makes the company a lot more comfortable feel like, I actually [inaudible] because they don’t understand our world. And they probably — There is probably not much surreal in teaching them the intricacies of what disability is because all they really want is the inside. They want to be able to learn how this market works and the environment.

And that for the — for consume and in doing so they are designing for disability. So it is a fine line to walk here.

It is not complicated — do not complicate their world by make them feel comfortable.

>>Jutta Treviranus: One more. Yes.

>>Pina D’Intino: Thank you morning Richard, it’s Pina. As you know there’s been a lot of discussion with the wall green model, the best buy and so on and so forth. And a lot of discussion on measuring the return on investment. And while there are many, many numbers out there to, you know, support the notion that doing this has a number to it — has a, you know, investment —, what is your experience on how organizations are still requesting and demanding that sort of approach today, versus you would, you know, 2, 3, five years ago when it seemed like it was much more?

>>Richard Donovan: That is a great question, thank you. One of the things that disability was missing was data. Now we know who has what, we now all this medical stuff. But we really don’t know how people react with disabilities in a corporate environment.

We don’t know how people react to different messages. We don’t know how people react to certain images. We as a group I always put up a whole bunch of images and messages and get [inaudible] but that data really does exist.? So what is the conversation I have with my client? Hey, before you ask, go for the study [inaudible] with the [inaudible] to get their feedback on what your processes are.

And that is the traditional view of it. So you put [inaudible] and you get their reaction to those publications. That data doesn’t exist in the public domain today. But companies are going out to the market now and gathering that type of data.

I know because I do some — it started, that data has started to be built and in 3 to 5 years we’ll know pretty succinctly how it is affecting the workplace in a commercial setting.

The second part of your question was around turnaround investment and that is — that is what I do for a living. I write specifically how corporations get a return on their investment from the disability so that they [inaudible] we’re not quite read are did I quite ready to go to Europe with it yet but we’re doing well in North America.

We can tell you without a doubt that disability does have an impact on the bottom line. But the returns are different for each company.

I will tell you though that in the U.S. 78% of companies today have no visible activity relative to disability. So there is still a lot of room for improvement. There is still is a lot of opportunity to make some money from these companies.

>>Jutta Treviranus: Thank you. Were you finished? Thank you. I think what we’re — there is one more question but I think we’ve probably — well why don’t you — quickly? Is it a quick question?

>> I’m not quite remembering all of the details but the president of Wal-Mart issued a mandate last year for companies to hire people with disabilities. Is that — this is last year. Are you aware of that mandate as still going forward? What is the effective date of that?

>>Richard Donovan: There is a bit of history mind that. For the last 20 years they have issued and set that mandate. And the numbers actually have gone backwards instead of forwards. I think what people forget when these mandates are set is that the government itself is probably the most untrustworthy agency in the U.S.

And I don’t want to use words like dysfunctional but that is what I think it is.

So when you put those two things together, changing a culture is an incredibly difficult thing to do. It is difficult to do in an organization of 100 people, let alone an organization of millions of people around the globe.

The reality is that this is hard to do. You stand in the board room and say, I want to do this. Well you can do it but that doesn’t mean it will happen.

So what governments globally need realize is that this applies to organizational change. And I think we need the will to do that within the organizations. The will to do that [inaudible] out?

>> So it sounds like we have begun quite a number of potential topics and we’ll have a chance to speak about those this the breakout rooms. So thank you very much, Rich.

Technologies for Aging Gracefully

>>Jutta Treviranus: Our next speaker is Ron Baecker. He is the director of Technologies for Aging Gracefully Lab that is part of the Inclusive Design Institute [and] he is an adjunct within the Inclusive Design Institute as well. He is an ACM fellow and has been named — and there are many other accomplishments. And Ron, if you were there in the IDI launch, was showing TAGlab and he is going to talk a bit more about technologies for aging gracefully — this is one of the disruptive influences in our society today.

I’m just going to test the sound level for a second.

>> Okay. Thank you very much, Jutta. It is an honour to speak to this audience. And I want to start by giving huge thanks to the creative students and staff from my Technologies for Aging Gracefully Lab. The TAG team we call ourselves.

I will speak today about problems and opportunities and possibly solutions.

The good news is that we are living much longer. The U.N. data is particularly striking. Seniors constituting 5% of the world’s population in 1950 projected to grow to 32%. 32% in the year 2300. That is if the world lasts to 2300.

The bad news is we must contend with a variety of sensory, motor, cognitive and social challenges if these extra years are to be happy and fulfilling one us.

Research on inclusive design [is] essential for seniors. But there is a lot of other work. Most researchers who come from computer science working on these issues come from the disciplines of artificial intelligence and ubiquitous computing. They seek to create machines, sometimes tiny chips and cameras in the walls that watch over you. And detect and sound the alarm when there are problems.

We have another approach. We seek to make senior citizens and their families smarter, more resourceful and more resilient, more creative and autonomous.

Our method is envision design, test, improve and where possible commercialize new technologies that respond to a diverse set of human needs. We build prostheses that help individuals compensate for sensory, motor, cognitive and social challenges.

We seek to understand how such technologies can be used and rehabilitation. And an ultimate goal we are a long way away is for technology to keep us healthier longer for example by slowing down cognitive design.

We approach the challenges by focusing on 3 major themes: identity, autonomy and family community.

These themes may be understood in terms of Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs: From the lowest level we all need oxygen, food and water. And we all need to feel safe and secure. Maslow’s third level says we cannot exist without love, affection and a sense of belong. Nor can we be whole without meaningful, without satisfaction and a feeling of esteem. And at the top we need a reason to be.

>> Our emphasis [is] on the upper three levels of the hierarchy. The need for love, we focus on strengthening bonds to family and friends.

The need for esteem where we help— we work on helping people speak and read. And the need for self‑actualization, meaning and fulfillment, where we focus on the preservation of identity for individuals with dementia.

At Maslow’s lowest level there is much activity elsewhere in helping people preserve their health: websites with hopefully reliable medical information — you see an example on the upper left —; social media for sharing health experiences with individuals throughout the world, new device[s] such as the Wii that you see on the bottom to encourage seniors to exercise; and medical instruments such as the Fitbit that you see on the right to monitor physical activity.

There are also exciting advances to make us more secure with Maslow’s second level: technology that monitors electrical and fluid flow in the home that you see illustrated on the right — the work [of] the brilliant scientist Patel at the University of Washington, technology that monitors electrical and fluid flow in the home and detects irregularities as a warning sign that something may be wrong is now coming on the market.

Smart cameras this ceiling that notice falls are soon to be commercialized.

And there’s been promising research on video monitoring to detect wandering by people with dementia at Carnegie Mellon University that is illustrated on the upper left.

But demographic research in our interviews with seniors in vulnerable situations suggests that millions of Canadians are isolated and lonely.

This is an area of work that has the— where my motivation to do it has been influenced by personal experience. My sister had a 15 year battle with MS and finally succumbed to it a little over 2 years ago.

And I used to imagine in the last couple of years as I visited her in a rehab hospital near Philadelphia with her body literally shrinking in. The television that was blaring and she could not see it anymore and it didn’t make a difference to her I think because she could not understand it.

With the television blaring we interrupt this mindless drivel with a message from your son: “Hi mom, it’s Neil. Went golfing yesterday, shot a 92. Going to see the Mets tomorrow night.”

So that vision influenced our work on digital communicating picture frames. The work is for seniors who live alone.

Not all seniors who live alone are lonely and isolated but many are.

Individuals in long‑term care or long‑term hospitalization, 7‑24 home bound caregivers. People who have chronic pain or MS or ALS. Hundreds of millions of people in the world.

Our current solution is to develop devices for the home that address the problems of isolation.

They must not look like computers. They allow a person to touch the frame and send a request for contact and then touch it again minutes or hours later when for example a grandchild has recorded a video message for transmission to the frame.

Let’s look at version two of the Families in Touch eFrame in action.

And on the upper left you see version one which was actually done as an undergraduate thesis by Elaine Macaranas here at OCAD.

>> So back at grandpa’s. And then a little later another message.

>> Hundred of millions of people have trouble speaking due to an inability to retrieve the words they need or due to difficulties in articulating them. Many are seniors who have had strokes and have developed aphasia. Other are children with autism spectrum disorder or other communication challenges.

MyVoice is a project begun in TAGlab.

An app on iPhones, Android phones and iPads provides and speaks words by a traditional semantic categories or by what we call locabularies.

And movie-relevant vocabulary when it notices you are in front of a movie theatre. Let’s look at the interface in a recent clip from City TV. [not able to hear video]

>> What the human brain cannot express, the iPhone can.

The MyVoice app is giving voice to the voiceless. It is the brain child of the University of Toronto students. Common words and phrases can be programmed into the app.

And these are very expressive voices. They can do things like laugh, cough; the second way that they can use it is take the words and phrases and associate them with physical places.

Getting started is very simple. Just input the address of the location you frequent regularly and once you find the location you can start inputting the phrases you would use there. Geolocation technologies when you are close by and automatically call up the vocabulary you use.

>> Please withdraw $40.

>> What are your thoughts on this idea?

>> The addition of GPS is brilliant.

>> For Bill Scott MyVoice has meant freedom and confidence.

It is really socially acceptable. A lot of people have iPhones.

It is like your own tourist. Before MyVoice, Bill lugged around this heavy briefcase with maps and illustrated books just to communicate.

>> You basically went from this to this?

>> Yes.

>> And the change has made life a lot sweeter. Future versions of the software will automatically populate the list for users based on where they are in the city, basically doing half the work for them.

>> Our in connection project addresses challenges in reading as there are billions of people in the world who have trouble reading. Some persons cannot see well enough. Others cannot hold a book or turn the pages. Others cannot understand the words.

Our accessible Large-print Listening and Talking ebook[s] project addresses these challenges and also provides ways in which social support from family and friends can encourage and support reading.

ALLT is a an app that helps people read by themselves. Like an electronic large‑print book, type can be enlarged for individuals whose vision is poor.

It can also be shown on a high def display or a TV for family viewing.

Like books on tape, the text is read out loud for people.

It’s synthesizing the voice. It is acceptable for people with challenges like MS and Parkinsons. It can be controlled by the mobile keyboard or a connected keyboard that also provides a stand for the iPad.

ALLT can also access a million books via the Internet Archives. So let’s pick the category, children’s literature English and you find Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Family members with read books aloud to all the users. Readings are recorded and later used by the user. [reading book]

Our last project focuses on the continued assault on identity by dementia as it gets more severe. Alzheimer disease makes it harder and harder for individuals to remember and reexperience what their life was once like.

There will be a hundred million such individuals in the world by the mid‑point of the century. We developed an effective method to create multimedia biographies of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and studied how viewing the digital life histories affected people with AD and MCI and close family members. Let’s look at two examples.

>> Capetown I lived there.

>> Yeah, you did.

>> So she not only remembers names and places but feelings. It was very good to live there.

But the real power of the technique comes in viewing this together for example with family members. In this case you will hear Mrs. Z’s daughter as narrator of the story of her mom as well as the person interacting and viewing it with her. [singing]

One unexpected thing we discovered in the two cases of 12 people we studied of people that lived in long‑term care facilities is viewing the video by care staff made a huge different because all of a sudden they really understood something about the people they were taking care of.

But our work has just begun. We will test our digital picture frames in people’s home this summer and are working on being to deploy them in institutional settings.

We are also looking at new methods of control that might be useful in hospital setting such as the Microsoft Kinect.

The MyVoice team is hard at the and we are building the mobile app that we call VocabNomad to help people with English as a second language challenges.

Our ALLT team is tackling speech recognition so it can as much as possible understand its users. And we’re beginning work on cognitive challenges in reading.

And new avenues for future work bring many moments of joy to them and occasional moments of sadness and strength and communication with and bonds to family and caregivers.

We continue to learn from the wonderful and courageous people who try and test our inventions.

It is not just about cognition which is what we started working on some time ago, but about communication and identity and self‑worth.

It is not simply building prosthetics for individuals, it is about building systems for support and rehabilitation and growth for older adults and their families.

There are many challenges, testing and improving these technologies not in a laboratory with university sophomores but at homes and hospitals and long‑term care facilities with real senior citizens is very difficult. Yet it is immensely rewarding because our success as designs rests in part on how well we do this and how sensitively we observe. And the payoff, although few of us can be — we can enable billions of seniors to have a few extra years or a decade or two of productive and fulfilling activities.

This can make a huge difference to the quality of the society in which we all live and to bring it back to the theme of this convention our design for the diverse of older adults will reap rewards for others who face challenges to full participation in society.

Thank you for your attention. I hope there is time for a couple of questions now. I’ll be around all day today and happy to engage in discussion with you. Thank you.

>>Jutta Treviranus: We do have time for one or two questions.

>> Yes, right here. Thank you very much for a very exciting serious of demonstrations. Terrific.

>> Thank you. I have one and we see a lot of terrific innovations coming out of universities like the one you are showing. And yet many people in the world are unaware of those and it is a difficulty to get those innovations to market or end users or to caretakers.

And we can go and let people use it or you can go through more commercial channels with more [inaudible] so I wanted to ask you, the question is, what is the best way to liberate your innovations in the terms of reaching out to as many users as possible?

>> I could speak for many minutes on that question. Suffice it to say that there is no best method, there are going to be different projects that are most appropriate for a proprietary model. There are going to be some that work well with open source. We have tried both this the four companies that have spun out of my lab over the last 35 years. The good news in Canada is that the government is very keen — both levels of government are very keen to encourage research turned into— to turn into commercial products. The bad news is that they are such a rush to do this that in fact we sometimes kind of tripping our own feet because we’re encouraged for funding purposes to try and commercialize prematurely. So there is a real need for the society and government and the universities to mature in having the right mix tour of long‑term research, medium research and commercialization and finding ways for universities and large existing companies and new start‑up companies to work together.

So you have put your finger on a very difficult problem.

>>Jutta Treviranus: Yes.

>> In watching all of this I’m wondering if it’s an application that could be applied to the employment world and to people with disables. You are focusing on senior citizens but are there other applications and are you exploring that?

>> That is a very good question. We are not exploring that now in our lab. But it might be some of the work in Jutta’s lab is more directed relevant to that.

We have picked a set of problems for complex reasons and in fact we’re doing too much. And we need to focus a little more.

So I can’t say that we’re likely to do this in the each future. But I think it’s very important that it be done.

>> I was just wondering in terms of that voice path, if it was all Internet based in terms of— for example if you arrived at the bank and requested that information, is it wireless connectivity, and [if] so then what are the implications for confidentiality?

>> Everything the with encrypted so that deals with the issues of confidentiality. Mobile apps are big enough so that you can have all of the data you needed urine mobile app as well. But the system is designed for direct interaction with servers at place through 3G or wireless.

>>Jutta Treviranus: Thank you, Ron. And we’ll continue this discussion during our sessions.


Importance of Community and Social Cohesion

>> So our next speaker is Kristyn Wong‑Tam. Kristyn is a city councillor in Toronto and is a tireless community advocate and has a distinguished track record in human rights advocacy.

She has led efforts to defend the rights of tenants to obtain affordable and decent standards in housing. And helped create neighbourhood associations and many other things. All you have to do is google her name and she is one of the first that comes up when you google councillor and advocacy. And so I would like to invite her to come up to the podium.

[ Applause ]

>>Kristyn Wong-Tam: Thank you very much. Thank you very much. It’s a real thrill and delight to be here with you this morning.

I have to say that the presentations have been illuminating. I have learned quite a bit just because very often the topic of accessibility comes up in City Hall.

How does it result in action and what is the impact to people’s lives? That is something that we still need to do a better job at and especially when it comes to measurement.

And I’m not sure if I always want to speak about equity in relationship to the rate of return.

I just don’t think that is a viable measurement for us if we’re going to build an equitable civil society.

My topic today is community and social inclusion and how do we really do a better job at democratizing innovation. And this is more heady words. And the lexicon we use at OCAD University may not be the same one used at City Hall or the one that is bantered around neighbourhoods.

And how do we break through that and make it accessible? So I will focus largely on city-building and neighbourhood-building initiatives — that is the place that I can speak to especially as a new city councillor; I was elected a mere 18 months ago.

So prior to that I could not find myself on Google. And so much of my experience is still very much informed from my involvement in advocacy in civil society as someone who is a private citizen who has become an elected official.

Now, the concept of social innovation and social inclusion, social cohesivity are ones that need to be unpacked. Because we can get caught up in language. And what does that language look like and how does that sound and who uses it and who doesn’t is all part of those discussions of access and equity.

And so I’m going to perhaps provide a few illustrative examples where I think that we can do a better job from City Hall. And also how do we ensure that we are actively engaged in city and community building initiatives. So we are not elected officials and handing over all of the power to them. I am interested in giving the power back to the people.

I don’t think that the power sits with very well with 44 people when we have a city with millions of people living and talking in different languages. In my case Ward 23 right down to soot [?] neighbourhood that I represent which is Moss Park that is one of the most impoverished neighbourhoods not just in Toronto but across the country. And of course the other neighbourhood on the other end to the social economic [stratus] is Rosedale, that happens to be one of the most established and wealthy neighbourhoods in the country. How do we bridge those communities?

And this are some things that divide us. But there are far more that can connect us.

So I’ll break it down to a couple of examples. Recently there was a debate on transit. And it was so simplified it was almost insulting. And we brought it down to are you pro-subway or pro-streetcars. So that became the polarized method of discussion. You are either pro-LRT or pro-subway. There was no discussion of how do we use transit, how do we build prosperity and connectivity in the city, and who is going to be using the transit and how do they use the transit. And oftentimes we talk and ask companies for surveys and they produce the surveys of who their customer base is. And what I found to be so much as a struggle as an advocate, a new advocate to City Hall is: it was way too simplified.

So in other cities around the world they have actually started to rethink how they build social infrastructure. They have to build it for those that are using the infrastructure. And this infrastructure that is currently being bantered around that we need are itemed such as housing, such as transit.

But we didn’t really ask the questions to get the right answers. Because right away we’re polarized into two ideological camps. So those living in the suburbs wanted subways and those living downtown wanted the LRT’s.

Instead of break down the walls and bringing neighbourhoods together we did a very effective job of dividing the city, dividing the city along neighbourhoods and also dividing the city around ethno-cultural lines.

Because the movement about — the movement afoot in Scarborough was driven by an ethno‑cultural population that I belong to — the Chinese‑Canadian, South Asian groups — because that is what they told were their choices.

So how do we rephrase the discussions and have the innovation and technology that we need to have to ensure that it’s accessible to all?

What we found out through the transit debate is that communities who are not wired and fully connected were not necessarily getting all of the information.

I actually ended up hiring someone in my office to provide translation services for the LRT group largely because the Mandarin[-] /Chinese-speaking population in Scarborough was only getting information from one side. So because they were only getting information from one side they were making their decisions based on the data available to them.

So once I started and understand that I represent one of the busiest wards in downtown Toronto with a lot of complexities. It is Toronto Centre–Rosedale, Ward 27. It is the second most populous ward in the city. And I am concerned about what is happening [in] Scarborough. I was concerned about what was happening in Scarborough because I didn’t think we were having an honest conversation. So I hired somebody to trans— to translate some of the technical data coming forward from the special advisory panel on the Scarborough LRT debate because they were only getting half the story.

With that simple move from my office I then started a campaign that engaged — that engaged the Chinese media and I started to give them to technical data they were not necessarily getting.

That really in the last week of the debate shifted the conversation ever so little bit in Scarborough because I had people who were then contacting my office saying, “No one has actually framed the debate for us in such a manner.” And all they needed was information.

So although there was a huge movement afoot to bring out data through Twitter, through social media, we were not doing it in ways that were always going to be accessible to those who don’t speak English. And that is a component of accessibility and we’re living in a diverse society such as Toronto. How do we ensure that those who are not in the room have the same access to information as those who are?

And when I have gone into socially forward thinking, you know, social innovation clusters, just about every single person that steps forward looks a particular way.

And so we need to do a better job of breaking down those cultural and linguistic barriers. And I think that the responsibility sits on both sides of the fence. We do a better job of reaching out and there has to be a better job of reaching in. Otherwise the talk about social inclusion and community building is only a talk that will affect a certain population and not everyone.

Other things that have happened at City Hall recently is the talk about, you know, transformation of TCHC and affordable housing.

And as we move towards building affordable housing for certain populations how do we build those communities for people living there.

If we have communities designed and built by architects and urban designers and not people who live in those communities, we are not going to have an urban built form that is going to be as responsive as it would be if we engaged the population we’re designing. So a very good example is if we are going to rebuild housing for communities, how engaged are they? Are we coming to those communities with master plans already in place? Or do we go to them before we put anything on paper or before with we open up the iPad and ask them the question of how do you live?

What would make an ideal neighbourhood for you? What would it take to build a healthy and inclusive community? And how do you serve dinner? Where do you cook dinner? Where do the kids study and play? And if you ask those questions at the very beginning of the design process, this is the consultation piece, and not necessarily go to communities with, you know, half-cooked, half baked templated ready to plug in some extra feedback. I think that we would be building social housing that will look very different to what is — what has been built 40 or 50 years ago and what could be built in the future.

And some of the learnings from other cities is that if we’re able to go out early and ask those questions without, you know, leading them to an answer, you will find and what has been found is that women who lead those households often will tell you that the most important space in the home is the kitchen. So they start designing their entire home, their apartment from the kitchen outward. And that was a very interesting learning because if you had not asked the families how they wanted to live, what would it take to build an ideal, safe and inclusive neighbourhood? Those answers would not have come about.

There are times where and many occasions where City Hall needs the help of you. And I would tell you a most interesting concept that I have floated forward and it is one that involves revenue tools and financing.

Now if we were to change the culture of Toronto’s, you know, political climate at the local level especially as it pertains to financing you will hear right now that every single level of government is speak about austerity measures. And if we save enough money and cut our civil service by a quarter or a half or a third we’ll save ourselves in prosperity. We’ll — that is the message coming from all 3 levels of government. If we reduce governments and all of the costs of the services delivered to you and your family that make life meaningful and give you quality of life in Toronto we will be a more prosperous city, province and country.

The challenge before us of course is that we know we cannot save ourselves or reduce ourselves into a prosperous inclusive economy.

That simply doesn’t work. And in Europe there are big conversations that are taking place around austerity. And there are massive conversations that are taking place about who has access to finances and who doesn’t. Who actually has access to credit product and who doesn’t.

And how does government function now for the people? And these are big conversations to be had. We have not had the political courage at City Hall to have that conversation. We have not been innovative at City Hall that have said to the people, how can we solve this problem together? The questions we have come out to the community with include, well, what services can you live without? Is it daycare? Can we privatize daycare? Can we reduce the number of litter pickers top street? What are the things you don’t really need? What is a core service and what is gravy?

It is extremely frustrating to have that conversation because we know that the infrastructure that has been built in the city, the social infrastructure from our parks to our long‑term care facilities it’s taken a number of years to build. And once we start to dismantle those pieces, it is very difficult to bring them back.

So I propose that an idea that is not really quite new, it is centuries old, this idea is public banking.

So the concept of public banking is new to Toronto but not necessarily new to other parts of the world.

Why did I bring forward an idea about public banking? I bought forward an idea of public banking because we needed new ideas. It is simply the repurposes of money and credit for the public good. I don’t know if you are aware of this but the City of Toronto has the power to create its own municipally owned bank. And if you think of where the City is depositing its money presently we have an operating budget of $10 million. All that money is being put into the hands of private banks so we are capitalizing those banks to create reserves and what do we do when we need money? We go to private banks to borrow money so that we can fund infrastructure projects so we can build roads and highways and the services and the sewer systems we need to run a city. Why do that when we have the ability to repurpose credit and money for the city. So we can actually then control the city’s finances without having to go to private banks to then borrow the same funds that we’ve deposit[ed] at compounded interest payments that are rather unproductive to build our city? To build those services that you and I need.

That is a big topic. And by any measurement and by any standard I’m asking for help and this help has to come from the people because I can assure you that it may not necessarily come from City Hall.

If you are interested in working on this project, this is where you and I get to work together. I don’t come out and tell the community what to do. But how do we have that conversation. Rogers Communication has applied for a bank license. Last summer Walmart Canada was issued a bank license. I am simply asking the question, can we use the same legal mechanisms afforded to private, for-profit companies to do the same thing we would like to do.

In the City of New York they deposit their fund into, uh, 31 individual charter and private banks, and what the City of New York has now decided to do, they have moved a motion to the floor of council and asked this question: What are those banks doing for the local community? How are you reinvesting those funding loosening the credit lines so that we can build our neighbourhoods better. And those private banks, believe it or [not], they are throwing up massive resistance. They are not wanting to tell you where they are taking the revenues and reinvesting it. So this is a conversation that involves civil society.

This is a conversation that needs your participation. And this is a conversation that is clearly about innovation because we’re now asking you to think outside the box to refinance the municipal finance programs and this is a conversation that can actually in many ways revolutionize how we build our neighbourhoods and our cities and I’m available for questions and I’m happy to give you any other information you like. Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak to you, it is an absolute honour to be here.

[ Applause ]

>> We have time for one or two questions. So Vanessa and Richard.

>> Thank you so much for your topic. Are you running in the next election?

>> A couple of things I have discovered about City Hall is that it takes a long time to get things done. I have planted a couple of seeds and I do plan to run [in] the next election.

>> Just curious have any projected savings if Toronto were to go with a public banking system?

>> Yes I do. The City of Toronto currently pays 250.$14 [?] million in compound interest to banks. We happen to be the financial bank heart of Canada. If there is any city that can do this it would be the City of Toronto.

And one of the things that has happened. Actually several things have happened since I floated the idea of financial reforms. A number of thinkers have contacted me privately. They do have contracts with banks and they are consultants to banks. And they have said, “Councillor, you are on the right track and perhaps involve the pension funds and work with other municipalities around Toronto that would like to piggyback on this particular proposal.” The reason why say I need your support because often times change comes from the people.

And we know that if you don’t demand and ask for the change it may not necessarily come.

As much as, you know, crowdsourcing, you can’t crowdsource to build a bridge. You can have all of the people to show up to build the bridge, you still need government, by government means civil society to move this particular project forward.

>> Thank you.

>>Jutta Treviranus: One more question.

>> So the federal government has a number of programs to sponsor innovation with scientific research and experimental development fund for the tax credits for corporations or companies or organizations that are incorporated to take risks and develop new ways of doing things.

And very substantial amounts of tax money can and given back to those corporations. And there has been costs in other areas of creating bonds to front them. To spend the money. I’m just talking about the federal program or the scientific research and interim development fund that the trick is that you have to spend money in order to get money back.

Would you imagine this bank issuing bonds to social innovation and enable these type of corporations to emortgage?

>> It is a great question and I will not rely on the federal government for this type of support. We have a public bank in Canada called the Bank of Canada and it has abdicated the responsibility to produce low credit or nominal interest loans for provinces and cities. And currently there is a lawsuit that has been filed against the bank of canada named in that lawsuit is also the minister of finance for abdicating their role and responsibility.

In 1918 [?], Mayor Mel Lastman wrote to the Bank of Canada, the Finance Minister asking for assistance to fund the, here we go again, the Sheppard Subway; they wrote back and said, “No, you’re on your own.” So fasttrack this conversation literally 22 years later. We’re back in exactly the same spot asking for help to fund the Sheppard Subway system when we actually have a national bank, [the] Bank of Canada that won’t do its job.

So this is why I’m saying, I don’t believe that this the solution to Toronto’s financial crisis is going to necessarily come from government.

I believe that the solution to the Canadian economy that provincial economy, the Toronto treasuries and the revenues that we receive will actually be a conversation that will be started on the streets, in the cafes and in our liv— living rooms.

In the United States the Occupy movement has taken root in many different jurisdictions and there are 18 units— states that are actively exploring legislation to create a [state]‑owned bank. And this [ran] the gamut from Hawaii to Iowa to, you know, to California.

So when the 12— when the eight financial markets collapsed we had a consolidation of the banks and they are coming back those banks bigger than ever.

>> JP Morgan lost billions in derivative trading. They are doing the same thing now. So I don’t believe that the conversation will be solved at only with the government.

I really — I really believe that we need people involved with this one. Thank you.

>> We have overshot but one more question.

>>Jutta Treviranus: Go ahead.

>> Just a quick question, in your proposal, are you also going to include an innovative way of how to include the community in spending the funding as well, which includes people with disabilities?

>> Yes, absolutely, I think that the mandate of publically owned Toronto bank would be set by the people. Like literally people.

I am actually going to be producing a documentary because it is such a large topic. And the documentary will focus on austerity and the public banking as a possible innovative tool to counter the talk of austerity because it is also tied into the talk of privatization and I don’t have a lot of money, but I firmly believe that this is going to be larger than health care and the environment. It affects each and every single up with of us and can actually change the direction of our country. Thank you very much.

>>Jutta Treviranus: So much fodder for additional conversations. Now it’s time for you all to get back to work again. If you look at the back of your name tags, you will see where your breakout group is. We have one room change.

>> So just a reminder that CRPD Policies and Levers is in the Auditorium. And Economic Levers, Demographics and Market Forces is in Room 550. And please go ahead now and get your coffee, get a treat and we’ll push you to your rooms.

DEEP 2012 Breakout Sessions Summary


The Designing Enabling Economies and Policies (DEEP) 2012 Think-tank was held at OCAD University in Toronto, Canada from May 24–25. This by invitation only event brought together the world’s most influential digital inclusion thinkers, information and communications technology designers, persons with disabilities advocates and policy makers to identify levers and innovative new strategies for digital inclusion that go beyond current approaches.

Objectives of DEEP

To engage in substantive in-depth discussion about implementation strategies for digital inclusion of persons with disabilities among decision makers promoting the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in their respective countries; To identify levers and innovative approaches that go beyond current strategies.

DEEP Format and Process

DEEP followed an interactive approach with brainstorming break-out sessions led by moderators, rapporteurs and participants. It was assumed that attendees accept the goal of inclusion and the importance of inclusive participation for persons with disabilities. All were asked to contribute to a meaningful debate about innovative strategies to accomplish this goal. Information about successes and failures were sought and were recognized as equally important. Sessions were designed to facilitate the greatest interaction possible among participants. The focus of group discussions was on the process and lessons learned from implementing policy and programs rather than on the policies and programs themselves. Discussants with specific experiences to be shared as case studies were identified ahead of the sessions to enable sharing of information prior to the think-tank.

Breakout Brainstorming Session Summaries

Following are summaries for each of the ten DEEP 2012 breakout brainstorming sessions.

Day One

Analyzing success factors and causes of failures of e-accessibility policies and programs in specific areas; Impact of e-accessibility, voluntary initiatives, regulations, micro and macroeconomic perspectives.

Goals and Assignments, Day 1 Breakouts, May 24th

  • Gather experience and insight into strategies that do and do not work and the factors that influence their success and failure
  • Pool this experience and insight and generate new promising approaches and strategies that have not yet been tried.

Each was asked to generate:

  • 5 successful strategies that significantly have advanced accessibility and inclusion in the domain, listing the factors that contributed to their success.
  • 3 strategies that have failed, possible reasons for the failure, and lessons to be learned from the failure.
  • 3 new promising approaches and strategies that have not yet been tried and steps that can be implemented to put these strategies to a test.

Accessible Education

In a Knowledge Economy education becomes ever more critical. With economic constraints, increased class size, and decreased time to prepare curriculum, more and more students become marginalized. What are creative ways to support accessible Inclusive Education for students with diverse needs? How does this align with the transformation of education? What has worked and what has not worked?


Lizbeth Goodman, SMARTlab University College Dublin (UCD)


Catherine Fichten, Adaptech Research Network, Dawson College

Successful Strategies

Successful strategies that significantly have advanced accessibility and inclusion in the domain:

  • Omnibus legislation – national disability strategy
  • Inclusion of people with disabilities
  • “Mainstreaming” all children
  • Universal design
  • Awareness
  • “Adaptable” general use ICTs
  • Buy in from the top
  • Champion

Strategies that have failed

  • Too many resources/information
  • “Perfectionism”
  • Projects with inadequate buy-in top and/or bottom
  • Inadequate foresight/pre-planning before implementation
  • Inadequate programs for people with intellectual impairments
  • “You cannot…” and “Don’t aim too high”

Promising Strategies /\& Required Steps for Implementation

  • Support students with internships and provide ICTs for first year on the job (government funding)
  • “Immersive ICT experiences” + effective ICT solutions
  • Multidisciplinary support team for student
  • Do not rely on experts but disperse accessibility throughout organization
  • Cross-disciplinary teams
  • Transforming documents to XML for access to all

Examples, Case Studies

None provided.

Workplace Accommodation

Unemployment among persons with disabilities continues to be disproportionately high; the social and economic costs of unemployment are staggering. What are some creative ways to break this impasse? Which strategies have worked and which have not?


Pina D’Intino, Senior Manager, Enabling Solutions and Support Management, Scotiabank Group


David Rojas, Business Development and Marketing Director, Trust for the Americas, OAS

Successful Strategies

Successful strategies that significantly have advanced accessibility and inclusion in the domain:

  • Centralization of funding and Procedures
  • Evaluation of the accommodation process
  • Engagement of different stakeholders both internal and external in regard of diversity
  • Increase education:
    • For employers and employees
    • Through mentoring and coaching,
    • Internal support network
    • To promote and foster TRUST
    • Break the traditional paradigms about disabilities medical model)

Strategies that have failed

  • Evolution of process: Centralization or Decentralization of the accommodation process and funding
  • Training through orientation and job preparedness at the hiring and ongoing
  • Lack of corporate culture to support the accommodation and the understanding of inclusion and diversity (lack of internal support network)
  • Eradicate the fear of inclusion both employee and employer (negative culture)

Promising Strategies /\& Required Steps for Implementation

  • Education as it relates to job and specific business training (similar than the POLITEC in MILAN).
  • Sharing good practices, successes and lessons learnt through programs such as Computer Lab, Job Fairs, PWD as ambassadors)
  • Include Accessibility in all curricula
  • Involve Academia and the education sector to create awareness and knowledge among potential employees of accommodation anticipate the situation. (Addressing the transition)
  • Changing the definition of Disability
  • Development of more usable and accessible technologies that can assist a person understanding their real needs to improve workplace integration and inclusion
  • Leverage programs such as Advancing Women in IT to/for PWD and employment
  • Help PWD the how-to’s of Lobbying
  • Start using and sharing Check list about accessibility and accommodation (not reinvent)
  • Create relationships among different sectors such as government and different industries
  • Using diversity and inclusive lens

Examples, Case Studies

None provided.

Broadcasting and New Media

Access to culture, participation in the public discourse, representation in popular media all help to create a culture of inclusion. What are strategies that work and what are strategies that have failed in promoting inclusive access to and participation in media?


John Harding, Past–Secretary General, North American Broadcasters Association (NABA)


Christine Staddon, Canadian Abilities Foundation

Successful Strategies

Successful strategies that significantly have advanced accessibility and inclusion in the domain:

  • None provided

Strategies that have failed

  • None provided

Promising Strategies /\& Required Steps for Implementation

  • Regulation
  • There is need for research to show success and influence policy decisions
  • Forward thinking regulations are being based on what is happening now not what will happening soon
  • Multiple regulations different
  • Marketing
  • Moving around copyright issues
  • Media depictions (content)
  • Cross platform, accessible out of the box. I.e. iPhone, iPad. Consumers are being vocal about what works and doesn’t work through websites and social networking. Example a version of Skype was inaccessible and consumers approached them and they produced a new version
  • Regulators in Canada should look more like regulators in other areas. CRTC does not have the ability to fine and does not regulate the internet
  • Separating the newly created content (audio description) from the original photo

Examples, Case Studies,

None provided


We live in perpetually connected societies. More and more essential and daily services are delivered through mobile and interactive applications and networks. What strategies have helped to ensure that persons with disabilities can fully benefit from this connectivity and from these services and what strategies have not worked?


Andrea Saks, Convener, ITU JCA-AHF


Gary Birch, Executive Director, Neil Squire Society

Successful Strategies

Successful strategies that significantly have advanced accessibility and inclusion in the domain:

  • Combination of stick and carrots for standards/legislation. E.g. public procurement.
  • Hearing aid compatibility (HAC) good example of legislation that references a technical standard. Standard can evolve with new technology without the need for new legislation.
  • Including consumers in development process from the start of the design phase. Universal design. Save on expensive refits.

Strategies that have failed

  • Without good regulation with accountability we don’t get consistent accessibility.
  • Not including persons with disability and domain experts in the standards creation process we don’t get accessibility.
  • Rapid pace of technology change makes it challenging for standards to keep up.

Promising Strategies /\& Required Steps for Implementation

Three new promising approaches and strategies that have not yet been tried and steps that can be implemented to put these strategies to a test

  • Require training on accessibility best practices as part of post-secondary education for designers, developers, and IT professionals.
  • Look at standardization at international perspective, and harmonize policies, interoperability, compatibility, for persons with disability.
  • Abstracting of interactions with devices, to achieve personalization
  • Stop waiting around, just do it. With clear consultation from all stakeholders.
  • Recognize the cost of devices and services for persons with disability.

Examples, Case Studies

None provided

Contents and Services

Every form of content and almost all interactive services are now delivered through online systems. Issues of accessibility interact with issues such as identity management, security and access. What are creative ways to ensure that online content and services are accessible? What are some threats to greater accessibility? What strategies have not been successful? What are some of the solutions that can be reused or repurposed?


Kiran Kaja, Accessibility Engineer, Adobe Systems


Tom Smith, VP of Sales and Business Development, Ephox Corporation

Points of Interest:

  • Current state of accessibility of online content and services in different countries/regions: Are some countries more successful than others? If so, what are the reasons?
  • Can WCAG 2.0 and related resources be leveraged better to improve accessibility on the web? If so, how?
  • How can we ensure new technologies and standards such as HTML5 include accessibility as part of the specification?
  • What technologies are required for creating accessible content?
  • Can regulation help/hinder accessibility when it comes to online content and services?
  • How can regulation keep up with technological developments?
  • What are institutional/organisational barriers to accessibility and how can they be overcome?
  • When issues like security, privacy get a lot of coverage in popular media, why is accessibility lagging behind?
  • Can we think of any innovative approaches to create more awareness about web accessibility?
  • Is increased popularity of mobile web helping accessibility or creating additional barriers?

Successful Strategies

Successful strategies that significantly have advanced accessibility and inclusion in the domain:

  • Enforcing accessibility regulations, with impact of lack of compliance being unprofitable for companies.
  • Rewarding accessibility compliance in developing countries with social points that the World Bank used to determine when to extend loans.
  • Regulations that require organizations create policies and report on progress towards compliance with those policies.
  • Measuring services organizations on customer satisfaction can be a motivator for accessibility compliance, as inaccessible websites negatively impact satisfaction.
  • Push /\& Pull – Regulations can push compliance. Pull can be created by
    • Making it easier to comply through better content authoring tools which create compliant content while the content is being authored.
    • Positioning the benefits of accessibility in terms of SEO improvement and alignment with Mobile Web Best Practices. Promote benefits as human enablement, not just disability enablement.

Strategies that have failed

  • Not enforcing, or allowing self-enforcement, of compliance with accessibility guidelines can result in compliance being de-prioritized
  • Assuming it is one tool, thing, or action that will make content accessible. The entire process must take into consideration accessibility compliance.
  • The word Accessibility may in itself be somewhat detrimental to adoption, as opposed to Inclusive Design which could resonate with more people. Many don’t understand what Web Accessibility actually means
  • Reaching out to businesses with non-compliant websites to educate them on WCAG and encourage them to become compliant.

Promising Strategies /\& Required Steps for Implementation

  • End user testing which takes into account accessibility, as part of an overall accessibility focused process.
  • Create authoring tools which, without author intervention, automatically assess and create accessibility guideline compliant content.
  • Government challenge grants would likely be required to fund development of such breakthrough tools
  • Processes to create accessible content must be simplified.
  • Awareness of need and value of being accessible must be increased throughout society
  • Create some metric related to Inclusivity (vs. Accessibility) that reflects degree of compliance

Examples, Case Studies

None provided

Day Two: Levers

Acting with Levers: multi-stakeholders’ perspectives.

Goals and Assignments, Day 2 Breakouts, May 25th:

Think beyond current efforts and approaches
Step back and introduce new perspectives outside the realm of accessibility, rethink and reframe the problem
Each was asked to generate:

  • 3 current assumptions or conventions that block progress toward greater inclusion in the domain:
  • 2 to 3 disruptive trends that have or may destabilize conditions that maintain these barriers.
  • 2 to 3 side benefits of accessibility and inclusion in the domain, and potential allies that might value these benefits (list names of groups and influential individuals if possible).
  • 3 ways to leverage disruptive trends in the domain and steps that should be taken to take advantage of these trends.

Technology Levers

New publishing standards supporting digital readers bring the structure required to make documents accessible to individuals with print impairments, cloud services offer a way to pool resources, digital curriculum makes it easier to share alternative formats, and online networks enable crowdsourcing for things like captions and descriptions. What emerging technical trends can be leveraged to enable greater inclusion and how?


Dan Shire, IBM Interactive


Colin Clark, FLOE Project and accessible OER, OCAD University


Current assumptions or conventions that block progress toward greater inclusion in the domain:

  1. Assumption: That you have to build it first, and then make it accessible
  2. People with disabilities aren’t participating enough in education and design (and not part of the target market and business case) Empathy: Isn’t it too hard to involve people with disabilities?
  3. Assumption: It costs more to make it accessible (but doesn’t everything cost?)
  4. Accessibility isn’t a priority, and it isn’t clear what accessibility is
  5. What is good enough?
  6. Lack of awareness:
    1. There are lots of great access features, but the community needs to be aware of them and how to use them (consumers)
    2. Types of tools available to help make an accessible product (creators)
  7. Government regulations are written too narrowly to foster innovation; lest companies do the minimum amount of work to be compliant, but no more
  8. Technologies that don’t provide APIs or the creation of accessible alternatives
  9. Assistive technologies are always playing catch up with new and emerging technologies, and new technologies often make it hard for developers to know how to do the right thing (accessibility should be automatic, removing it should be an effort)
  10. Standards: many standards being created, often without any consideration of accessibility or bolted on later
  11. Mobile devices: the trend towards smaller form factors and their incredible ubiquity
  12. Accessibility features are rarely seen or advertised as useful for everyone
  13. Disconnect between openness /\& flexibility of consumer technology vs. enterprise tendency to standardize and dictate homogenous solutions
  14. Education: Designers, developers, business students, etc. rarely are exposed to inclusion and accessibility in their course work: no exposure to diversity
  15. Accessibility support: can be difficult to pay for and administer technology accommodations (e.g. assistive technologies), especially for big companies
  16. Help with using assistive technologies: the burden is on the user to figure it out themselves—Assistive technologies aren’t designed to be easy to use
Summary of Roadblocks

Education (training the next generation of creators)

  1. Design and development process (better tools, standards)
  2. Support and integration (how do I use assistive technology /\& built-in features?)
  3. Participation and leadership (in education, in product cycle, support)
  4. Models: costs, policy, legislation, standards, ROI

Disruptive Trends

  1. Mobile devices, especially tablets (e.g. cost revolution in the AAC space, platform and form factor flexible designs, etc.) (but also challenges to sustainable business models with commodity app prices)
  2. Away from the medical model towards designing for environmental barriers and designing for aging and linguistic diversity
  3. User involvement and community: reviews, crowd sourcing, open access and open source. Consumers are becoming producers, too.
  4. Legislation:
    • The impact of good legislation on driving participation in accessibility (e.g. AODA, UN Convention on Rights of People with Disabilities)
    • Drive towards harmonization of legislation globally will make it easier to launch world-wide products (enabled by WCAG 2.0)
  5. Intellectual Property: how can we think of ownership in a different way so that the community benefits, but can still profit?
  6. Era of cross-platform support on desktop and mobile (roughly equal share of browser market, mobile device market) and the rise of browser-based, standards-based software (HTML5, etc.) (this is both a positive and negative disruption)
  7. Widespread use of search engines and increased value of semantics and alternative formats.

Side Benefits and Allies

Two to three side benefits of accessibility and inclusion in the domain, and potential allies that might value these benefits (list names of groups and influential individuals if possible).

  1. Side benefit: Increased usability! (e.g., the benefits for all of us today from the real-time captions)
  2. Allies: the aging, second language learners, low literacy, ICF
  3. Side benefit: greater awareness of accessibility as a result of standards and legislation
  4. Also an attitudinal shift: it’s not about disability, but about needing something different, which we all experience
  5. Younger generation as a “silent ally” (e.g. kids using closed captions with the sound off so parents think they’re not watching TV)
  6. Side benefit: accessibility mandates can shift into user delight (e.g. captions make for a better teaching/learning experience, etc.) “Aha! moments”

Leveraging Disruptive Trends

Three ways to leverage disruptive trends in the domain and steps that should be taken to take advantage of these trends:

  1. Youth: encourage curriculum development at primary school level about diversity and inclusion
  2. Research, outreach and awareness
    1. Do more usability research and publicize
    2. Generate and share better numbers on accessibility/inclusion ROI
    3. Personal story collection and sharing: leverage user delight and stories to help inspire and explain

Economic Levers, Demographics and Market Forces

The aging of the Western world produces a large market of demanding consumers who experience disabilities. Meanwhile, the nature of our changing economy requires a diversity of labour skills, perspectives and greater collaboration. Tools that support a distributed work force have the potential to make tasks and workflow accessible to workers with disabilities. What economic disruptions and trends and relevant policies can be leveraged to enable greater inclusion?


Rich Donovan, Managing Partner, IPS Insights


Kevin Stolarick, Martin Prosperity Institute, University of Toronto


Current assumptions or conventions that block progress toward greater inclusion in the domain:

  1. Availability of data, evidence /\& stories that create value
  2. Getting it into business language
  3. Macro conversations but need micro examples
  4. Cultural/branding bias against disability
  5. Transitioning the market from disability products to mainstream products

Disruptive Trends

  1. Value creation and making money
  2. Branding
  3. Using advertising to change the language and discussion

Side Benefits and Allies

Two to three side benefits of accessibility and inclusion in the domain, and potential allies that might value these benefits (list names of groups and influential individuals if possible).

  1. Curb-cuts increase sales
  2. Putting disability issues into a customer framework
  3. Citizen/consumer engagement – asking people what they want

Leveraging Disruptive Trends

Three ways to leverage disruptive trends in the domain and steps that should be taken to take advantage of these trends:

  1. Public procurement
  2. Business /\& university engagement
  3. Teaching universal design – not only disability-centric

Examples/Case Studies

  • Japan
  • Easy to use cell phones
  • Maxwell House containers
  • Green economy

CRPD and Policy Levers

The broad support of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) shows a growing global commitment to equal access for persons with disabilities. The negative impact of inequality on a society has become an unarguable and daily-emphasized fact. How can we leverage the CRPD commitments and the current pressures to change policies to achieve solid and sustainable progress toward equal access leveraging Information and Communication Technologies? How can international cooperation foster standards, global economies of scale and resource sharing?


Axel Leblois, Executive Director, G3ict


Christine Staddon, Canadian Abilities Foundation


Current assumptions or conventions that block progress toward greater inclusion in the domain:

  1. Countries can read and understand their obligations under the convention differently. The convention does not tell countries how to implement the convention, which leaves the extent of implementation done at the state parties level
  2. Some countries do not have the components/building block (funding/user groups instruments) in place to allow for participation of people with disabilities or to implement the articles of the convention
  3. Lack of capacity (financial/practical) of people of disabilities to participate in the process and do the work such as shadow reports

Disruptive Trends

  1. Providing clearer definitions of accessibility and look at not providing access as a form of indirect discrimination
  2. Putting funding in place to allow participation and implementation of convention articles such as self-funding of individuals to participate in the process. It has been found that a clear/real picture of what is actually happening on the ground is only available if you consult directly with people with disabilities or their advocacy groups
  3. Providing a network of experts at a high level to provide an overview of the key instruments that every state should have in place, what is to be delivered and how to deliver it.
  4. Creation of a benchmarking tool with specific questions to avoid the dangers of self-assessment. At the same time make stronger reporting requirements so countries have to report on what they are doing and make it public

Side Benefits and Allies

Two to three side benefits of accessibility and inclusion in the domain, and potential allies that might value these benefits (list names of groups and influential individuals if possible).

Industry argues that requirements and regulations limit innovation. There is a need to dispel the myth that disability access harm innovation.

  • It often spurs innovation.
  • Influencers need to help designers understand if they design to the technical specifications they have a greater ability to increase their market share.

Leveraging Disruptive Trends

Three ways to leverage disruptive trends in the domain and steps that should be taken to take advantage of these trends:

  1. Huge market opportunities such as North America and Europe to give incentives (laws, fines or carrots) to industry to pay more attention to accessibility. Example is the closed captioning requirement on TVs sold in the US.
  2. Mobile devices as a gateway for people with disabilities a number of applications, technologies and resources. Huge enabler to bring a new world to people with disabilities .The trend is for all individuals to customize and personalize their mobile devices. This customization can be levered to increase access for people with disabilities.
  3. There is a need for standardization on communication devices. This would allow users to rely on certain basic components being available in every piece of technology. To counteract that devices become obsolete quickly there are great possibilities in the cloud technology. One potential downside to the cloud is that users could run into accessibility blocks from their devices or the cloud
  4. How to protect the standardization and the information of users in the cloud
  5. Work on new ways to tackle issues of working with all groups around standards. Developers of accessible features can’t get the attention of service providers. We need to think of it as an ecosystem.
  6. Education in other countries: Training and education for IT professionals, engineers and policy makers.
  7. Industry uses the medical model of disability: We should be looking at the social model and functionality as opposed to separating people with of disabilities and aging population

Education and Training on Accessibility Self-Learning

When knowledge about accessible design and development is fully integrated into education and training, especially in fields relevant to ICT design, development, business processes and practices; products and services will begin to be designed accessibly by default, and inclusive design becomes a conventional and habitual process. Personalized learning systems support inclusive education and support students in learning to learn: a much needed skill in a knowledge economy. What potential digital curbcuts exist in the area of education and training? How can the transformation of education and training be leveraged to achieve greater inclusion?


Judith Snow, Independent Research Professional, OCAD U


Frances Jewett, AccessAbilityAdvantage


Current assumptions or conventions that block progress toward greater inclusion in the domain:

  1. Proposed solutions are too simple and too functionalized.
  2. Not culturally and individualized approaches
  3. Financial resources for: (Austerity ideology)
    1. Professional development – teachers need comfort with the technology
    2. More appropriate technology – assistive technologies hard to learn for teachers and students)
    3. Better trained educational Assistants
  4. (access to web content) leadership commitment
  5. Not enough advanced preparation/planning for needs for accessibility; too much response after pressure applied
  6. Students lack control over their needs
  7. Not adequate testing! And QA testing needs to be broader and have more “perspectives”
  8. Adequate integration of access technologies with mainstream students
  9. Curriculum design –
  10. Residual segregation

Disruptive Trends

  1. New technologies to support multimodal communication – e.g., social media
  2. Encourage schools to use more innovative technologies to challenge students
  3. Informal online learning
  4. Unconferences/Bar Camps –
  5. Using social media – respond to questions
  6. Global Accessibility Awareness Day (May 9) – Immersive activities at a grass roots level
  7. Inclusive Design incorporated into the curriculum
  8. Champions
  9. Developers work with users, e.g., Extreme/paraprogramming approach so that the end users become invested in the design and development process.
  10. List of Free and innovative technologies ($200 or less) for students with disabilities –
  11. ELearning; eBooks etc.
  12. Technology part of the innovation e.g., Rogers – cell phones
  13. Possible for an extreme users’ work to be recognized in the global community, e.g. Mozilla program – World of Webcraft
  14. Near peer education in medical education – next level up shares experience with the next level down.
  15. Storage on the “cloud”

Side Benefits and Allies

Two to three side benefits of accessibility and inclusion in the domain, and potential allies that might value these benefits (list names of groups and influential individuals if possible).

  • Debrief learning experiences

Leveraging Disruptive Trends

Three ways to leverage disruptive trends in the domain and steps that should be taken to take advantage of these trends:

  1. Power of Peer-to-peer learning – “near peer” learning extends that to people who are close to the experience
  2. Related to debriefing – learners involved in educator competency development
  3. Use the experience of students/graduates as a resource for development and consultation.
  4. Use litigation as a way to get the world to listen

Examples/Case Studies

  • Person raised in a segregated educational environment by people who believe they are not capable creates people who believe they are not capable – this leads to unemployment and underemployment
  • Failure – change in the classroom that had to go to the superintendent. Many parents are not able to do this.
  • Run “Unconferences”/Bar Camps – 3-4 sessions using technology development for disabilities as focus
  • Involve students in advocacy and planning and faculty engagement
  • Flip the idea of providing service into a mutually based support system.
  • Faculty build learning activities with students

Societal Trends

The occupy movement, flourishing youth initiatives for social justice, and global advocacy networks linked by online systems, all indicate a growing appetite for greater equality of opportunity and inclusion. What social trends can we leverage to achieve greater inclusion and accessibility for persons with disabilities?


Meenu Sikand, Region of Peel


Lizbeth Goodman, SMARTlab, University College Dublin (UCD)


Current assumptions or conventions that block progress toward greater inclusion in the domain:

  1. Bureaucracy/Policies:
    1. (possible solution: involvement of all stakeholders in the development of policy as well as the implementation of policy)
  2. Lack of a common language
  3. Lack of full genuine engagement in compliance
  4. Lack of governance triggers
  5. Gaps in the Compliance Framework due to lack of funding
  6. The problem of perfectionism: the need to share small triumphs and achievements along the path rather than waiting for a ‘complete and perfect’ solution to be shared
  7. The need to embrace open source tools and methods, to break down silos and ‘own’ our work jointly
  8. The need for publication/making experiences public in print, online and on broadcast media
  9. Problems of internal communications within universities- not only bureaucratic impasses but also inoperability of systems and disconnects of messages between departments an between cross-sector players
  10. Perceived or real hierarchy of need/urgency cross-culturally (so the need to prioritise disability issues in cultures where peace, shelter /\& food are not the immediate issue- build momentum from culture to culture)
    1. (We need enforcers! We need real implementation; we need ways to push forward on disability research and compliance in ALL countries and need to establish a joined up plan to make real impact in appropriate ways…)
    2. The need for humour/ very visible public performances of compliance that demonstrate the added value to ALL from compliance in operation
    3. Recognition of the important role that women will play in this movement, as in all key cultural transformations…

Disruptive Trends

  1. Communication Channels to be set up and made visible both online in real spaces internationally
    1. (perhaps via a Portal or Hub or Forum/Dialogue Space to link the many international sites)
  2. Locative Gaming/competition games to make visible where the gaps in provision are + a volunteer and industry-sponsored cross-sector
    1. (idea: Give ‘power tokens’ to the players in the role of government officers in charge of implementing REAL GENUINE FULL compliance in game scenarios – so that to ‘win’ is to play the part of the government official with the power to enforce full implementation…)
  3. Increased visibility of women leaders with disabilities – live and online: online advocacy linked to (Mobility International USA – WILD Women Network)
  4. Global Prioritisation: build on successes / recognize the immediate needs of people

Side Benefits and Allies
Two to three side benefits of accessibility and inclusion in the domain, and potential allies that might value these benefits (list names of groups and influential individuals if possible).

  • The Guerilla Grrrls
  • The Occupy Movement
  • Pride
  • The Black Sash (South Africa in the 1980s)
  • G3ICT
  • MIUSA – Mobility International USA (Wild Women)
  • The Independent Living Movement
  • The IDRC Masters Programme
  • Sports organisations and Paralympics sportspeople
  • Champions:
    • Stephen Hawking
    • Rick Hanson
    • Marly Mattin
    • Michael J Fox
    • All People should be our allies…

Leveraging Disruptive Trends

Three ways to leverage disruptive trends in the domain and steps that should be taken to take advantage of these trends:

  1. For Disability Rights, the key would be to have one international site shared by all: a new lane on the Road to Digital Inclusion: a portal for virtual advocacy /\& mentorship – a Tardis which is the only way to enable movement for anyone (either everyone can move freely, or nobody can – it’s not a ditch or bypass or sub-lane on the superhighway).
  2. We need an open source new DART – a DisabilityAdvocacyRightsTardis:- )
    1. Safe nourishing smaller fora with flexible rules + a larger joined up network
    2. /\& Having multiple different fora is effective in incubation of a diversity of ideas/ and the integration of those diverse ideas needs a bigger place… (the ACM achieves some of these aims)

MESSAGE: Finding allies in our day to day lives / leaving negative energies

Examples/Case Studies

  • Chick2Go – the SMARTlab UK women with disabilities locative games group (remapping the streets of East London prior to the arrival of Olympic and Paralympic Games)
  • Atlanta – cinema of disabilities with all cinemas in a city showing work
  • Guerilla integration of disability work through allied organisations, without necessarily advertising the work as ‘about disability’
  • Coney2012 as a model: stopping child abuse through social media mobilisation of a fully integrated cross-generational performance.
  • Proposal for the future – a public intervention in humorous performance art mode
  • A kind of international Occupy Movement on Wheels using Social Media: Occupy the main roads and car parks leading to parliaments and show videos on big screens of all the spaces where ramps run out (whilst women with disabilities and women with baby buggies and elderly women all ‘flash mob’ the spaces, banding together to lobby very visibly, and with humour, for fully accessible roads, buildings, homes: ‘knitting circles’ and ‘quilting bees’ that block roads…) – with joined up coverage from world-leading bloggers, broadcasters, etc.

DEEP 2012 Archives

DEEP 2012 Documents

The following documents are available for viewing or download


White Paper:


The Microsoft Word documents are the unedited transcripts and as a result they contain a small number of transcription errors. These errors have been corrected as much as is practicable in the corresponding HTML versions, but please note that some transcription errors will still be present in the HTML versions.

Past DEEP Think Tank Outcomes & Discussions

DEEP 2016

DEEP 2016 Archives

DEEP 2015

DEEP 2015 Archives

DEEP 2013

This DEEP Heartbeat Meeting focused on Accessibility Policy as implemented in Ontario through the AODA and New Research in Canada on Inclusion, particularly in the labour force.

Content from DEEP 2013 including the HRSDC Reports can be found in the DEEP 2013 Archives.

DEEP 2012

The original DEEP conference was held from May 24–25, 2012, and this part of the site serves as a forum for the continuation of that discussion.

Content from DEEP 2012 including the White Paper can be found in the DEEP 2012 Archives.