Domain: Innovation

GDI Hub Accelerate

GDI Hub Accelerate is our innovation arm - with scale studios, acceleration programmes, a network, ecosystem development, world leading coaching and knowledge dissemination. We bring together global stakeholders to accelerate disability innovation through partnership and collaboration, while supporting other sectors in becoming more disability inclusive.

Every disabled person should have access to the innovations they need. Accelerate acts as a driving force for the disability innovation sector, challenging current barriers and facilitating appropriate local solutions globally. We bring together key stakeholders through partnership and collaboration, and provide support for innovators through their product and business development journey. Our Disability Innovation projects drive impact across three distinct approaches.

1. Spark Innovation - The entry point

We work with local communities and stakeholders to accelerate local disability innovation solutions relevant to their community, turn unmet or under-met needs of disabled people into an opportunity. Our current areas of spark innovation includes hackathons and innovation activities related to research grants such as TIDAL N+. Spark is our mechanism to kick start innovation and test proof of concept. We provide evidence and participation support, with access to co-design participants and validation of innovation concepts. The most successful spark innovations will feed up the pipeline - transitioning to the start-up innovation ecosystems.

2. Start-up Innovation - Where acceleration happens

The second level of innovation ecosystems, catering local-to-regional entrepreneurs. Innovators benefit from standardised entrepreneurship training programme and curriculum, Live Lab activities, business model support and expert sector insight support. Examples of our start-up innovation projects include Innovate Now, Africa's first Assistive Tech Accelerator. This approach is focused on products with existing proof of concept. We provide knowledge, expertise and data to transition into market ready solutions.

3. Scale Innovation - The exit point

the third stage caters for national-to-international ventures and investors, supporting catalytic funding and bespoke venture building support to take innovations to scale. Existing projects include the Assistive Tech Impact Fund, where we support large scale product trials, clinical trials, and research by sharing and harnessing our unique expertise and that of our partners, collaborators and coaches.

GDI Hub Accelerate: Innovation Coaching, Network, LiveLabs

We will support innovators, researchers, founders and the wider disability innovation community through a range of mechanisms such as coaching, network development, hackathons, events and livelabs. GDI Hub Accelerate unites innovation with academic rigor – enabling entrepreneurs, ventures, businesses, academics, charities and the AT community to share experiences and knowledge, find new partnerships, understand global challenges and work collaboratively to drive solutions.

Innovation Coaching

Through all our projects we build knowledge and expertise among the innovation community. By connecting individuals and ecosystems we are able to recognise, manage and overcome barriers to entry. Using our world leading expertise, and that of our partners and networks, we support ventures through;

  • Disability coaching to overcome typical challenges in disability innovation, who can act as (and connect entrepreneurs to) mentees, enabling bespoke, specialist, and expert advice in this unique field to support products through their development stages and into the market.
  • Expert coaching to provide specialist skills in one of four support domains: technical, marketing, commercial, and manufacturing support.

Coaching takes place across our accelerator, scale studio and grant funding portfolio. As we move forward our ambition is to widen our recruitment of industry professions to provide further coaching opportunities to ventures. Through this process we will be able to reduce innovation iteration cycles, saving time and resources for new products entering the market. Examples of coaching includes:

The Accelerate Network

Our Accelerate Network is a space for innovators, researchers, entrepreneurs, problem solvers and AT enthusiasts to share knowledge, experiences and expertise. It also provides a platform for new partnerships to develop. Though the Accelerate Network we will share exclusive content, resources, tools and discussions - aimed at supporting innovators and easing their path across the sometimes bumpy world of AT entrepreneurship.

The Accelerate Network will provide opportunities for bespoke support across our research, innovation, teaching, programme implementation and advocacy expertise. We'll also be able to provide linkages to the best technical knowledge.

To join the network:

  1. Register through the member registration form (below) and log in to GDI Hub Accelerate community on the Discord platform - where you will be able to meet other members, discuss ideas, form partnerships and drive change. You can use the Discord mobile app, the Discord desktop application, or the Discord website in any web browser.
  2. Log in to the GDI Hub Accelerate space on Discord and start sharing experiences, tell the community about you and your innovations, and offer your expert advice. Help us build the shared space into the shape you think it will be most useful.

*GDI Hub is not responsible for the views and opinions expressed in the network. It’s expected that members will be respectful of others.

A clubfoot brace, the innovation and work of MiracleFeet
A clubfoot brace, the innovation and work of MiracleFeet