President Sara Diamond spoke at the 2017 BIA National Conference in Toronto on April 4 to help launch the BIG IdeA, a collaborative pilot program that celebrates successes and promotes innovations in accessibility.
The Ontario government is partnering with OCAD University's Inclusive Design Research Centre to deliver the BIG IDeA, which will help make inclusion top-of-mind for companies – and customers – so that accessibility becomes an integral part of Ontario’s culture.
Creating a culture of inclusion is central to OCAD University’s values and one that we uphold and promote on our campus and in our community.
At OCAD University, our Inclusive Design Research Centre, under the direction of Jutta Treviranus, helps to orchestrate a collaborative and connected ecosystem of businesses, consumers, designers, developers, researchers, public organizations and innovators to ensure that emerging socio-technical systems and practices are designed inclusively.
BIG IDeA Quick facts:
Ontario is investing $500,000 in the BIG IDeA through the EnAbling Change Program, which supports projects that promote accessibility standards in businesses and organizations.
The BIG IDeA is first being piloted in Toronto, and will eventually expand across the province.
Major tech companies, including IBM, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Apple, are working within the BIG IDeA to solve accessibility barriers in machine learning models.
The BIG IDeA emerged as the leading initiative in an open government engagement process.
People with disabilities represent a market worth $25 billion in Canada.
Businesses and organizations in Ontario with more than one employee must comply with the Accessible Employment Standard. It requires employers to have accessible hiring practices and workplace policies that support staff with disabilities.
“We’re all misfit consumers — we need inclusive design” — In her article, Jutta Treviranus, director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre at OCAD University, discusses a course titled Unlearning And Questioning, part of the two-year master’s study in Inclusive Design, intended to question assumptions, unlearn conformity and remove boundaries to thought. The students from very diverse backgrounds are challenged with unlearning the fear of “drawing outside the lines” — the compunction to label, sort, rank, filter and conform. They relearn the priceless value of mistake-making and failure. The ultimate learning outcome is a “radical form of inclusive design” that is seen as the next generation of design thinking. The inclusive-design students imagine scenarios of successful innovation agendas, stretching into several successive generations. They consider the potential impact on the complex adaptive system that is our global society. The class soon discovers that if we are rethinking innovation, we also need to rethink common assumptions about entangled factors such as markets, customers, employment, design, research and development. Invariably, our inclusive design students propose that the innovation race we should embark upon is not a race against other countries, but a race against escalating economic disparity and environmental deterioration. They conclude that collaboration and inclusion are good economic strategies – and challenges that Canada is uniquely prepared to accept.
Dr. Peter Coppin is an Associate Professor of Design at OCAD University. He is a core Program Faculty member in the Master of Design (MDes) in Inclusive Design program where he runs the first and second-year Inclusive Design Laboratory courses and serves as Principal Advisor for a number of graduate student Major Research Projects (these are the culminating focus of the program's final year).
Jutta Treviranus is the Director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) and professor in the faculty of Design at OCAD University in Toronto (http://idrc.ocadu.ca). With its origins in the ATRC, which she launched in 1993, Jutta has established the IDRC as an international center of expertise in the inclusive design of emerging digital systems, networks and practices. Jutta also heads the Inclusive Design Institute, a multi-university regional centre of expertise (http://inclusivedesign.ca).
Grahame Lynch currently teaches on tenure track position as Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Communication and Design at Ryerson University. Grahame’s areas of research includes issues of accessibility for people with visual impairment as well as the study of graphic design and communication systems in countries with low literacy rates.
Monday, January 28, 2008 - 5:00am to Monday, February 4, 2008 - 5:00am
This exhibition showcases a variety of programs and projects in and around Toronto which address disability/accessibility. The exhibition highlights ideas and programming of relevance to contemporary designers as they develop strategies for quality design that accommodates diversity and inclusivity across a broad spectrum of public and private activities and needs.
Faculty Member Emma Westecott has published a chapter entitled "Playing with Gender: Promoting Representational Diversity with Dress-Up, Cross-Dressing and Drag in Games" in Etc Press's book "Diversifying Barbie and Mortal Kombat: Intersectional Perspectives and Inclusive Designs in Gaming", edited by Yasmin B. Kafai, Gabriela T. Richard, Brendesha M. Tynes.
You can find more information about the book, including an option for a free digital download in the link below.
In response to the consultation on the Innovation Agenda, OCAD U urges the Government of Canada to make design and design thinking practices foundational elements of its inclusive innovation agenda in order to enable Canadians and Canadian companies to thrive on the world stage. As stated in the response: “Crucial to Canada’s future, design thinking must be front and centre in the federal inclusive innovation agenda, both in policy development and implementation. Critical to experimentation as well as to the development and further enhancement of services, products and business methods, design thinking is applicable to governments, not-for-profits and businesses of all types and sizes — from start-ups to blue chips”.