Project Type: Innovation

AT2030 Spark Innovation Sub-programme

Location: Kenya

Wheelchair user and non-wheelchair user co-designing at a table

Demand-led innovation aims to “increase demand for innovations, to improve conditions for the uptake of innovations or to improve the articulation of demand in order to spur innovations and allow their diffusion” (OECD, 201). Therefore, it is a process, which can and does spawn innovative products, but is more than simply a series of things. It is the process of experimentation (building, measuring and learning) to remove uncertainty and test assumptions around what works when it comes to getting AT to those who need it most. Strong innovation builds on a strong research base, and rapidly generates evidence of what works through the creation of innovative places, people and public services which align and support business needs through strong global partnerships.

For demand-based innovation to thrive we require a range of activities which can both adapt to good ideas coming from disabled people as well as working more closely with the market-shaping project to iterate business plans and create routes to market that were otherwise not available. Throughout the project and across the programme we will be developing these pipelines from innovation through proof of concept to market-shaping and back again to fund new rounds of innovation.

GDI Hub is working on the following activities

  1. Inclusive maker and innovation ecosystem in Nairobi (Innovate Now): Disabled people can and should be at the forefront of the design of AT which are fit for purpose and affordable and meet their needs.
  2. Innovation Challenge Fund: A dedicated challenge fund is being established. This is seen as a growing fund, and something which will be actively grown through engagement with industry partners and donors. The fund will deliver grants, provide mentorship and connect start-ups with industry leads to ensure growth. It will provide a critical mass of innovation in the space and in doing so attract additional investment.
  3. A Revolution in Wheelchair Provision: Led by Motivation, this is the first of two projects which will demonstrate their ability to scale. Building on the success of a grant the project will use novel manufacturing methods, specifically 3D printing to provide bespoke seating and modular wheelchair construction.
  4. AT Innovation for Humanitarian Response: Led by Humanity & Inclusion, the second proof of concept project will again build on successful demonstration funding. It combines telemedicine and 3D printing, in order to provide bespoke orthotic devices and splints for use in emergencies and remote settings.
  5. Ideation stage activities: design sprints, makeathons and other activities within the Innovate Now ecosystem.
  6. Future Tech: Future tech is specifically focused on using the next generation of technology to create leapfrog solutions for disabled people. There will be a focus on artificial intelligence and cloud-computing. It will align with the AI for Accessibility (Microsoft) and GSMA’s Mobile for Development programme. It is envisaged this fund will grow as the programme develops.
  7. Horizon scanning to harness the power of mobile and ICT: Through the research undertaken to scope the disability mobile gap, opportunities will be uncovered with mobile operators and disabled people to close this gap. This work is being led by GSMA.