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Inclusive Innovation Guide helps event planners improve accessibility

person with disability speaking at the event
Two people facilitate a workshop at the 2018 Enable Montreal event. | Photo: Concordia University

When Enable Montreal wrapped up in June 2018, organizers knew they had to find a way to pass on the invaluable lessons gleaned from the project. The Concordia-hosted initiative challenged designers to find solutions for a more accessible and inclusive city.

The result is a new Inclusive Innovation Guide, an open event-planning resource developed to help Concordians and those in the innovation sector make their activities barrier-free.

“Program design for Enable Montreal was hugely complex, and our team navigated a steep learning curve in delivering it,” says Charmaine Lyn, senior director of Concordia’s Office of Community Engagement.

The office developed Enable Montreal in collaboration with the Maison de l’innovation sociale, the Critical Disability Studies Working Group, Independent Living – Montreal,District 3 Innovation Center, SHIFT and Fondation Mirella and Lino Saputo.

The non-competitive challenge, which ran from March 9 to June 8 last year, brought together 10 teams of students, researchers, activists, designers and community members — half of whom identified as having a physical disability. Lyn says participants worked together to develop innovative and concrete proposals for city-wide accessibility solutions, touching on key areas such as transportation and employment.

The program involved 12 participatory workshops that deployed a diversity of facilitation techniques to introduce participants to key concepts in design thinking as a tool for solving complex problems.

“We are sharing our most important lessons on widening participation through this Inclusive Innovation Guide to encourage and equip others to design accessible innovation programs and events,” Lyn says.