Rounding up 2022. Looking forwards to 2023

By Christine Hemphill | 22nd December 2022

What a year! As we finish our working year this week and head off for our various festivities, we wish to share our deep thanks to our Open Community members, collaborative partners and clients.

Looking back on 2022

2022 has been a great year for us in our work in disability- and age-inclusive research, design and innovation, and we look forward to working with you in 2023. In the pause between looking back to the year that was, and looking forward to the year ahead, we wish you a peaceful, and joy-filled festive season and break.

This year, our work has informed almost 50 projects, working with clients in 15 industry sectors and engaging in research conducted in 7 countries.

North American Community

We have grown our North American community to over 450 people and have welcomed 7 new Community Leaders to help us co-create research and inform us from their diverse and rich perspectives. They are helping us meet the increasing demand for our services in the region and ensuring that our work is considerate of, and aligned to, the preferences and needs of the diverse sub-communities.

UK Community

Our UK Community has also grown, particularly in the breadth of perspectives represented. Open’s UK projects are, as always focused through the experienced perspectives of our Community Leaders based in England and Scotland.

Research and growth

Our primary consumer research is informed by the considered and considerate responses of our, more than 1,100 active community members, through participation in various research formats. This year these have included surveys, diary studies, usability testing, physical product testing, accompanied journeys/shopping, depth interviews, client engagement and awareness events, focus groups, light user check-ins (guerilla testing), and service safaris.

We are working specifically to grow our community into areas that we feel we do not have sufficient depth of perspectives in today. This includes people who have other marginalised characteristics in addition to disability. This may be due to their ethnicity, sexual orientation, faith or any other traditionally under-heard and under-considered context. We are also looking to grow both ends of the age spectrum, attracting more younger adults with disabilities and people who are just getting older but may not identify as disabled. Please do share the opportunity to join the community with any friends, colleagues or others you know across your community who may wish to be a part of Open’s Community. New UK members can sign up here (UK) and new North American members can sign up here (USA)  By early next year we will have a new registration form that is effective globally.

Our impact

Together with our community, collaborative partners and clients, we are having a powerfully positive impact, helping build awareness, understanding and empathy to inform more accessible and inclusive solutions.

Some highlights from this year include:

  • Successfully running the first year of the Simply Open Awards. The winners of these simple life hacks and effective solutions were awarded their prizes following the big announcement at the start of this month on the International Day of Persons with a Disability. Watch out next year as we again collaborate to collect and share great ideas as part of this global awards programme (a part of the Discovery Awards)!
  • Working with a new rail operator to more deeply understand the needs and preferences of disabled rail travellers across a wide range of projects conducted throughout the year in a collaborative partnership with Common Collective.
  • Providing pan-disability research around the use of voice interfaces when applying for jobs online. This multi-layered research supported the design team at Zammo AI working within the Microsoft AI for Accessibility Programme.
  • Conducting multi-industry consumer research for the Business Disability Forum to understand what disabled consumers choose to buy and why. We also ran market research into the experiences of disabled consumers in the UK with intersectional characteristics for OMD. From an industry-wide perspective, we also supported the global IT industry research for AbilityNet to better understand the attitudes to accessibility from those involved in technology provision.
  • Working on five innovation accelerators in the USA, Australia and the UK supporting a very wide range of disabled entrepreneurs and those creating disability-oriented or age-inclusive solutions. We also worked on many inclusive innovation projects with universities, innovation agencies, entrepreneurs or internal corporate innovation teams.
  • Developing and announcing our partnership (AMVxOpen) with award-winning global branding and communications agency AMV BBDO. Engaging with the blind community in Kenya to inform and help co-create an advert for Guinness about two brothers love of football, one of whom is blind. With AMVxOpen we also won the award for Best Innovation in AR/VR for the Metathon (marathon in the metaverse) with Rexona. The engagement of our community before and through the event highlighted the diverse experiences in this new online 3D space and helped precipitate change to make the platforms used in the Metaverse more accessible and inclusive.
  • Working with government departments supporting better understanding around the needs for digital health, urban design and social service provision through inclusive citizen engagement. Our work on the NHS Test and Trace App for the Department of Health and Social Care and Zuhlke was also awarded Best in Accessibility at the Digital Impact Awards (Silver).
  • New fabulous colleagues, new genuinely collaborative partnerships, new engaging clients, new and redeveloped practical tools and propositions, new engaged community members, and of course new practical and actionable insights.

Looking ahead to 2023

The team at Open have been busy this year reviewing and improving how we engage with our community and clients. We have been living to our recommendations to our clients and co-creating this with those who will use it. Thank you to those involved in informing this work so far. We have been creating a community engagement platform and refreshing our brand. That will all be revealed in the next few months so stay tuned!

We have a wealth of exciting projects to come back to in January. Many are with clients we have enjoyed working with before, and there are also upcoming projects with some exciting new clients.

If you have any suggestions for things you would like to see us do in the new year, whether you are a member of our community, collaborative partner or client, we would love to hear from you. Please contact us at contact@openinclusion.com. We always look forward to hearing how we can make inclusive research better and more positively impactful.

Happy Holidays to you all and see you in 2023!

A Card from Open Inclusion wishing you a very Happy Holidays.

Christmas baubles each with a statistic on it. These are written in the body text.

The statistics in the baubles:

2022 at Open: 47 projects, 20 projects delivered in collaborative partnerships, 16 global projects researching in 7 countries. +£57,000 paid in incentives to the research community. +1,135 people in the Open Inclusion direct community and +350,000 people in the community through global partnerships. 25 wonderful colleagues at Open. 5 innovation accelerators worked in this year. 15 industry sectors (advertising/marketing, digital services, telecommunications, third sector, travel, entertainment, culture and arts, government services, health, professional services, universities and education, pharmaceuticals, banking and finance and communication services.