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Thoughtworkers on the partnership between innovation and accessibility

Innovation and accessibility are strong partners. As with all great partnerships, it works two ways. 


We can think of the partnership as an opportunity. Innovation is better, bigger and more genuine when it is accessible. 


Whenever we are innovating - creating something new, approaching a problem with a different perspective - we prioritize accessibility or inclusive design, we innovate for ALL. That way, as tech progresses, as the world moves forward, every step is a step in the right direction, a step towards a more equitable experience for people with disabilities - whether they are permanent, temporary or situational. If it’s not inclusive, how can it be revolutionary, or even considered progress?


We can also think of the partnership as a dependency. Accessibility - providing a set of requirements - requires innovation and forces us to think beyond our own experience.


When we design, or build, specifically for accessibility or with a strong accessibility lens, we cultivate innovation. Accessibility drives innovation for all.


We asked a group of Thoughtworks experts from around the world to share their thoughts, reflections and advice on the connection between innovation and accessibility – enjoy. 




Like many, I’m a busy person. Many mornings, while making breakfast, I put an egg on the stove and say “Hey Google, set a timer for 3 minutes.” Then I listen to the news while having breakfast. If my partner is in a meeting, I slip on my bluetooth earbuds. Then I go to my computer, and start tapping on my keyboard. But later, when I get tired, I ask my computer or phone to read my email to me and I dictate what I need.

My voice-activated assistant, my text-to-speech reader, the fact that I can dictate to my phone, and my bluetooth earbuds are all innovations that have their roots in assistive technology. 


Where is assistive technology today? It is everywhere. And it will define the landscape of technology tomorrow. Why? Because designing to make technology better for times we are impaired, means making it better for everyone, always. 


Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.