Smart Cities for All develops tool to bring inclusion to innovation ecosystems

Inclusion Innovation Playbook aims to ensure tech innovators and accelerators don't exclude people with disabilities from smart cities

The Inclusive Innovation Playbook is intended to help entrepreneurs, startups and others involved in creating new solutions for smart cities, to create solutions that include people of all abilities.
The Inclusive Innovation Playbook is intended to help entrepreneurs, startups and others involved in creating new solutions for smart cities, to create solutions that include people of all abilities.

The Smart Cities for All initiative has released a new playbook that will help smart city technology innovators and incubators to ensure that their solutions are accessible to all.

The Inclusive Innovation Playbook, which has been developed with support from AT&T, lays out specific steps that cities and their partners can take to infuse the urban innovation ecosystem with a greater focus on accessibility and a commitment to persons with disabilities.

Smart Cities for All (SC4A), a partnership between G3ict and World Enabled, said that many tech entrepreneurs and innovators are unaware of accessibility and inclusion issues and best practices. Sixty percent of global experts say that Smart Cities are failing people with disabilities.

A survey of 175 entrepreneurs in technology incubators around the world, which was conducted by SC4A showed that one third of entrepreneurs were unsure if persons with disabilities could use the technology products they are developing. Less than one half (43%) had a strong understanding of accessibility and inclusion in their own product development and user experience (UX) design processes.

The new Inclusive Innovation Playbook will help cities, partners, and stakeholders to address this challenge by defining inclusion of everyone as part of the technology innovation process and integrating it into urban innovation ecosystems.

“At G3ict and Smart Cities for All, we believe that inclusive innovation leads to technology products and smart solutions that work better for everyone, including persons with disabilities and older persons,” said James Thurston, Vice President at G3ict and Managing Director of Smart Cities for all.

“Closing the digital divide for the disability and aging communities in Smart Cities will require infusing inclusion, accessibility, and universal design into the innovation of new technology solutions at a scale much greater than is happening today. We think this new Playbook will help cities and their partners do exactly that.”

The Smart Cities for All Inclusive Innovation Playbook lays out five ‘plays’ and related actions that cities can take to infuse incubators, accelerators, and the innovation process with a commitment to inclusion and accessibility. The five urban innovation inclusion plays focus on a city’s people, economic assets, infrastructure, networking, and enabling public policies.

The Playbook draws from successful practices and insights from the private sector, government, and civil society. Cities that want to ensure their innovation ecosystem is inclusive and results in products, services, and solutions that are more accessible and work for everyone can draw from among all five of the inclusive innovation ‘plays’.

AT&T had already developed a white paper Smart Cities for All: A Vision for an Inclusive, Accessible Urban Future, and the new tool is intended to build on that and extend inclusion into the innovation ecosystem.

“Every day we’re seeing the power of smart cities solutions to transform communities, improve sustainability, and enhance the quality of life for citizens,” said Chris Penrose, President of IoT Solutions at AT&T. “From smart lighting to public safety, this new resource for smart cities will help us join together to build a more inclusive, scalable smart cities ecosystem.”

“Smart Cities technology can transform urban environments to be a better place for all people to live, work and play. It’s critical that we work in unison to foster an entrepreneurial ecosystem that develops technology that’s inclusive and accessible to all. It’s an honor for us at AT&T to offer this resource to cities. We strive to be a catalyst in making inclusive urban environments a reality,” said Suzanne Montgomery, Chief Accessibility Officer at AT&T.

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