Domain: Innovation

Themes: Assistive & Accessible Technology, Inclusive Design

Inclusive Design Challenge 1.0: Access to open spaces for blind and partially sighted people

Location: United Kingdom


Inclusive Design Challenge 1.0 is one of the first Spark Innovation events, included in the wider portfolio of GDI Hub Accelerate - the innovation arm of the Global Disability Innovation (GDI) Hub. The event is organised in partnership with the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) based at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (QEOP), including some online activities. The design challenge will be run as an extended hackathon between 6th and 20th June 2022 on the theme of access to open spaces and outdoor nature-related activities for blind and partially sighted people.

Theme: Access to open space, outdoor mobility and nature-related activities for blind and partially sighted people

The theme has been divided into these sub-themes for teams to focus on.

  1. Planning visits to open spaces
  2. Wayfinding and navigation
  3. Identifying landmarks and objects
  4. Engaging with the natural environment
  5. Sharing open space experience with others


Design a solution for improving access to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for blind and partially sighted residents of east London.

  1. Encourage knowledge sharing and collaboration between blind and partially sighted east London residents and researchers, designers, and students.

  2. Promote awareness about sight loss and disability innovation using participatory design methods, bringing forward disabled people not only as participants in innovation but collaborators, leaders and innovators.

  3. Inspire east London disabled residents to participate in STEM research and innovation.

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Find out what's involved, who can register, and what support you will get.

What’s involved?

The hackathon will be a 2-week activity consisting of an in-person launch and networking event, a remote 10-day hack (excluding weekends), and a final in-person demo event which will be open to the public via Zoom webinar registration.

  • Monday 6th June: Networking Event and Kickoff

  • Tuesday 7th June - Monday 20th June - Hackathon

  • Friday 24th June - Closing Ceremony and Public Event (online)

A judging panel will evaluate the prototypes developed by the teams against a preset criteria. Winning teams will be awarded prizes in Amazon Vouchers.

  • First Prize: £750 (£150 per participant)

  • Second Prize: £500 (£100 per participant)

  • Third Prize: £250 (£50 per participant)

Who can register?

We would like to invite undergraduate and postgraduate students at GDI Hub partner institutions interested in designing assistive technologies to improve access to open spaces and outdoor nature for blind and partially sighted people.

Each team may include a:

  • Team leader

  • BPS individual

  • Researcher

  • Designer

  • Programmer

Ideally, you should self-organise to form a team and register using this link: If you haven't yet formed a team, you can meet other applicants on our Discord server to form a team. We also have a group of blind and partially sighted people available to join the team, should you need assistance to recruit a blind and partially sighted individual to be part of the team. Inclusion of blind and partially sighted people in the team is mandatory for hackathon participation.

Registration will be open until 30th May 2022.

Innovation Coaching and Check-ins

Teams will be provided coaching and support throughout the hackathon period from GDI Hub Innovation Coaches. Each team will be required to have a mid-point check-in with their innovation coach on day 5-6 via Zoom.

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Participants' information pack

To find out more details about the activity, please see the files below.

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This activity will involve a review process.

Judges Panel

  • Prof. Catherine Holloway, Co-founder and Academic Director, GDI Hub

  • Daniel Hajas, Innovation Manager, GDI Hub

  • Rikesh Shah, Head of Open Innovation, Transport for London

  • Rita Olufunmi Adeoye, Design Principal – Inclusive Design and Accessibility at London Legacy Development Corporation

  • Helen Aluko-olokun, Policy Business Partner at Guide Dogs

  • Adi Latif, Accessibility and Usability Consultant, AbilityNet
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Colour photograph of Maryam. Maryam is wearing sunglasses and is outside
Maryam Bandukda
Impact Research Fellow at GDI Hub
Daniel Hajas
Innovation Manager


We are grateful for our partners.

UCL East

This hackathon was funded through UCL East Public Engagement for knowledge exchange activities with communities in east London as part of UCL East. As part of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) funding, UCL Culture is creating opportunities for knowledge exchange between researchers and communities around our future campus at UCL East.

London Legacy Development Corporation

The London Legacy Development Corporation promotes and delivers physical, social, economic and environmental regeneration in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the surrounding area by maximising the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Guide Dogs

Guide Dogs is here to help the two million people living with sight loss in the UK live the life they choose. Our expert staff, volunteers and life-changing dogs are here to help people affected by sight loss live actively, independently and well.

UCL logo
LLDC logo
Guide Dogs logo