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GDI Hub celebrates fourth birthday with #DisabilityInnovationDay

Marking 4 years of Global Disability Innovation Hub
Credit: Angus Stewart

On the 3rd September 2020 the Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI) celebrates its fourth birthday with the launch of #DisabilityInnovationDay - asking what is possible for the future of Disability Innovation.

Throughout #DisabilityInnovationDay, GDI will encourage the growing global disability innovation movement to share a vision for a more inclusive future; capturing the stories and ideas and highlighting the successes of the journey so far.

Based at UCL, GDI is a research and practice centre driving disability innovation for a fairer world. It was born of the legacy of the London 2012 Paralympic Games and launched four years later at Rio 2016. GDI is now working with partners in more than 25 countries on long-standing disability challenges by co-designing solutions with communities and sharing new knowledge and ideas. GDI has already impacted 2.5m people, though projects like UK aid funded AT2030, and intends to reach over 15 million people by 2024 focusing on Assistive Tech, Universal Design and Cultural Participation and building evidence of ‘what works’ to drive change.

Throughout #DisabilityInnovationDay, GDI Hub will be provoking new thinking about the potential of disability innovation, asking: ‘what if we built a world that was accessible to all?’ or ‘what if there were more disabled leaders?’ each hour. Partners will respond and so can you! The digital campaign will run across social media and will cover stigma, sport, the arts and innovation.

“The London 2012 Paralympics enabled a new way of thinking and new approaches to drive inclusion – this is what we now call Disability Innovation. Though there are no Paralympic Games this year, we can still celebrate the values of determination, equality, inspiration and courage by pouring the spirit of the Games into imagining bold new approaches which can deliver social justice in the years to come.”

Vicki Austin co-founder and CEO of GDI Hub CIC

“We can hardly believe it’s been four years since we launched in London and Rio – what a journey! In that time, we have seen the world change immensely, but one thing is for sure, there can be no better time to be working on assistive tech and digital innovation, and never has the need for access and inclusion been greater.” 

Iain McKinnon, co-founder and Director of Inclusive Design of GDI Hub

“GDI is very proud to be launching #DisabilityInnovationDay today.  Now more than ever, we should acknowledge that human diversity must drive innovation - in education and employment, in transport and communication.  Only by growing diverse teams, sharing our learning, and building the broadest partnerships will we level the playing field and ensure no one is left behind. We can’t wait to hear your ideas on #DisabilityInnovationDay.”

Professor Cathy Holloway, co-founder and Academic Director of GDI Hub

In the four years since it launched GDI has developed a profile of more than 40 projects with a value of over £40m. In 2020, GDI will see the first year of graduates from our award-nominated MSc in Disability, Design and Innovation delivered with our founding partners UCL (University College London), London College of Fashion and Loughborough University London. From traditional research projects like CrowdBot, which helps wheelchair users navigate in crowds, to AT innovations tested in real time, GDI has supported governments as well as communities and private sector partners to lead change. The launch of Innovate Now - Africa’s first Assistive Tech Accelerator, as well as AT Impact Fund later this month continue that momentum.

#DisabilityInnovationDay provides an opportunity to celebrate the disability innovation community globally, marking a milestone on the journey so far and exploring future opportunities to change the world for the better with inclusive innovation.

You can join in disability innovation day by;

  • Tweeting your global disability innovations, ideas and projects on 3rd September at #DisabilityInnovationDay
  • Joining the GDI Hub Disability Innovation movement and Disability Innovation Live sessions.
  • Identifying disability innovation opportunities within your own business, workplace or community to support a more inclusive future.

We invite you to join us on this journey as we continue our work globally for a fairer world.

Credit: Angus Stewart
Credit: Angus Stewart