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Simply Open Awards 2023 – GAAD Launch

Christine Hemphill

May 18, 2023

Christine Hemphill

May 18, 2023

About the awards

Open Inclusion, the global innovation and design group, are proud to launch the 2nd year of the Simply Open Awards on Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), 18th May 2023. This is in partnership with the Discovery Awards run by a disability-led organisation called Enable India and disability-led NGO’s. The purpose globally is to have regional awards programmes around the world running at the same time. Focusing specifically on frugal hacks that can be captured, recognised and shared with wider communities.

Christine Hemphill, Managing Director – Open Inclusion, said: 

“Today Open Inclusion is delighted to launch the 2023 edition of the Simply Open Awards. After an excellent first year in 2022, it is that time of the year when we get to welcome people with disabilities and those directly engaged with them, to share practical and innovative solutions. We are looking for simple effective approaches that remove or reduce barriers in a range of areas in our lives.  We have the opportunity to find and celebrate creative ingenuity!  Thanks to our global sponsors, we can accelerate the awareness of challenges that exist for people with disabilities, and share low cost, home designed ideas that help people across our community to more easily and enjoyably do what they wish to.”

What are the Simply Open Awards?

The Simply Open Awards is a competition run for and by disabled people. It also welcomes families, friends, carers and community groups to identify and share great ideas that help overcome barriers in life as a disabled person. We share the ideas across the community and award some great prizes to those that we feel are most innovative, practical and will be most helpful to others in the community to learn about. 

We offer individuals with any disability or other specific access needs the opportunity to demonstrate a solution they have created to better manage access challenges in a way that enhances independence, capability or joy through short videos. This can be something new or adapting an existing product or solution to fit a specific personal requirement.

We will then assess and award winners against five categories. There is the opportunity to win up to £1,500 for the most creative and valuably transferrable ideas across each category and up to £2,500 for the Community Organisation / NGO that best helps amplify the opportunity and, as a result, gets the most accepted submissions from across their network.

Hear from some of our sponsors

Darren Rowan, Senior Director – Digital Accessibility, Lilly, said:

“Last year Lilly were proud global sponsors of the Daily Living and Well-Being category, and we were blown away with the engagement and creativity from the broad range of solutions we received. A big takeaway for us was the reminder that innovation does not need to be a ground-breaking or world-shattering idea to be impactful.  All the finalists gave us solutions that involved everyday objects that can be repurposed to remove barriers that many of us take for granted. As a company that thrives on innovation and also strives to create a disability confident culture through our accessibility program and our EnAble Employee Resource Group, this sponsorship chimes perfectly with our own goals and aspirations. We are excited to be global sponsors again this year and look forward to seeing more great ideas that make life better.”

Here is an example of one of last year’s winners Debbie Riggsby with her hack, a lifting magnet to lift objects in and around the home:

Henrietta Corley, Board Account Direct – AMV BBDO, said:

“At AMV, Radical Empathy is one of our mantras. It drives our creativity and we strive to dig deeper to create positive impact for every body. After a successful first year, we’re very excited to be the global sponsors for the Communications Category at the Simply Open Awards for the second year. There is so much power to be unlocked in accessible communications and we’re looking forward to hearing about new innovative ways to interact more easily and confidently together.”

Robin Tim Weis, Director, International Affairs, Zero Project, said 

“The Zero Project finds and shares solutions that improve the daily lives and legal rights of all persons with disabilities. What drew us – and continues to draw us – to Open Inclusion is the shared belief in innovation that is ideated, managed, and implemented by persons with disabilities for persons with disabilities. Innovation in this regard often can be a simple, yet, powerful idea, change of perspective, or participatory model, not necessarily the quantum leap in software we sometime associate with the loaded term, “innovation.” Recognizing and sharing practical, simple life hacks across the disability community – that is what excited us about Open Inclusion and its Simply Open Awards 2023.” 

Applications & eligibility

Applications are open Thursday 18 May 2023.

They close at 23:59 on Saturday 2 September 2023.  

Applicants must be residents of the: 

  • United Kingdom
  • Ireland
  • United States
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • New Zealand

Applicants must have designed the solution for themselves as someone with a disability or access need, or have designed it specifically for an individual they know and support closely, such as an assistant (carer), friend, colleague, teacher or family member.

The five categories are:

  • Daily living and well-being – sponsored by Eli-Lilly
  • Education, work and employment
  • Technology
  • Getting out and about
  • Communications – sponsored by AMV BBDO

For more details:

For full details and a breakdown of all the key dates, all prize structures and how to enter the Simply Open Awards, please visit: www.openinclusion.com/simplyopenawards.

If you have difficulties submitting applications, have eligibility concerns or require an alternative format, please email simplyopenawards@openinclusion.com.


Notes for editors

Open Inclusion – Open Inclusion is an age and disability-inclusive research, design and innovation agency based in London and operating globally. They help businesses understand and access the market segments they may otherwise be missing, especially those with specific access needs that may disable them, such as people with permanent, temporary or situational impairments or of advanced age. Open Inclusion are the Founders of the Simply Open Awards.

Project Discovery is a video-based competition run by Enable India to discover delightful solutions that people with disabilities or access needs have created to overcome exclusion or access challenges. The videos from the competition are being collected and will later be shared through an online database that will be publicly accessible to anyone around the world, allowing others to find, use or adapt creative, inclusive solutions. Partners of Project Discovery include Google.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) is an annual observance on the third Thursday of May. It is an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of digital accessibility for people with disabilities. With the increasing number of people with disabilities worldwide, accessibility must be prioritised in all aspects of society.

Please contact simplyopenawards@openinclusion.com for additional media.

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