The best inclusive goodness to enjoy from home

By Christine Hemphill | 6th April 2020

We are all at home a lot more at the moment. Conferences are postponed, meetups cancelled and the proverbial water cooler conversations are now non-existent. Serendipity doesn’t bring people and ideas together. We proactively need to decide to Zoom, Skype, Facetime etc. or simply pick up the phone and make a call. For some, work has quietened down or stopped all together. So we are putting together a list of best inclusive cultural goodness to keep you absorbing new ideas in fun ways, including books, music and film. So whatever your preference, we hope you find something you like.

We will keep adding to this list. Each week we will pick on one book and one other media to describe why it made the list, share a top quote or lyric and a bit about the core ideas it illustrates.

What we’re listening to

A screenshot of the Open Inc Playlist on Spotify

Let’s start with something really fabulous for many, some beats that can make us feel great as we get on with whatever our day holds for us!

Open has compiled a list of 147 tracks that we like to blast in as we work on blasting out exclusion! They are all available on Spotify here.

Our song of the week for the week starting 27 April is You Gotta Be by Des’ree. The key lyric that made this a winner this week was,

“You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm
You gotta stay together
All I know, all I know, love will save the day.”

Enjoy it! Some of our previous songs’ of the week are right at the bottom of this article if you’re interested.

What are your favorite tunes for moving to as you get on with your day? Please send us some of yours.

What we’re reading

Inclusive design books

Mismatch, Kat Holmes, 2018. Just brilliant! A must read. I bought it for my whole team for Christmas 2 years ago.

Rebel Ideas, The Power of Diverse Ideas. Author Matthew Syed, 2019. The positive power of diversity exposed beautifully and powerfully.

Authentic Inclusion Drives Disruptive Innovation, Francis West, 2018

Design Meets Disability, Graham Pullin, 2011

Universal Principles of Design, William Lidwell, 2010

The Spirit Level. Why Equality is Better for Everyone, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, 2011

New Old. Designing for our Future Selves, The Design Museum, Edited by Jeremy Meyerson 2017 (the book that accompanied the 2017 exhibition at The Design Museum)

Inclusive Branding, Revealing Secrets to Maximise ROI, Deborah Ruh, 2018

Inclusive Growth, Future Proof Your Business by Creating A Diverse Workforce, Toby Mildon, 2020

Broader good design thinking, insight and innovation books

The classic of UX! Don’t Make Me Think, Steve Krug, 2013

100 Ways to Research Complex Problems, Develop Innovative Ideas and Design Effective Solutions Bruce Hanington and Bella Martin, 2012

Thinking in Systems, Donella Meadows, 2008 (an incredibly important read just now as our world is impacted by fast-moving systems dependency constraints and challenges!)

Design is Storytelling. Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, Ellen Lupton, 2017. There is also a good presentation by the author available as a video here.

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about People 2nd Ed., Susan M. Weinschenk, 2020

This is Service Design Doing Marc Stickdorn, 2018

Innovating for People: Handbook of Human-Centred Design Methods, LUMA Institute, 2012

Design Thinking Playbook, Michael Lewrisk, Patrick Link, 2018

Value Proposition Design, Strategyzer, 2014. Strategyzer’s other books and frameworks are really good also. I use their frameworks a lot at the beginning of projects and new product concepts.

Mapping Experiences: A Complete Guide to Creating Value through Journeys, Blueprints and Diagrams Jim Kalbach, 2016.

Innovation by Design, Thomas Lockwood and Edgar Papke, 2017

Seeing What Other’s Don’t, The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insight, Gary Klein, 2014

Disability experiences and the rights movement books

Being Heumann: An Unrepenting Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist, Judith Heumann and Kristen Joiner, 2020

Disability Visibility, Alice Wong, 2020 (in pre-release currently)

Notes on Blindness, John M. Hull, 2017 (also made into a film that won a Sundance Film Festival Award. Sadly I haven’t watched it yet. On my list!)

Disability and Human Rights, Global Perspectives, Edurne Garca Iriarte, Robbie Gilligan, Roy McConkey, 2015

Everything is Possible, Martyn Sibley 2016. A great read from our very own Open Community Lead and social media manager

Blood and Sand, Frank Gardner, 2006. A great autobiography, well written by Frank Gardner (also known for writing explosive thriller novels) covering the period from his early interest in the Arabic world as a student, to becoming a Bahrain-based banker and then journalist and security specialist for the BBC covering the War on Terror from within the Arabic region. Then the shattering and rebuilding of his life after being shot and being permanently disabled after having been left for dead by members of al-Quaeda in Saudi Arabia in 2004.

Behavioural insights, analysis and economics books

Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, 2011 (The original tome on behavioral economics that looks at the different cognitive ways we make decisions and how these drive many behavioral biases that can distort and influence reason and rationality)

The Undoing Project, A Friendship that Changed Our Minds, Michael Lewis,  (A great biography of the two leaders of the field of behavioural economics, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky written by an excellent writer. An easy introduction to Behavioural Economics, who and where it sprung from)

Misbehaving, The Making of Behavioural Economics, Richard Thaler, 2015 (Why people act in seemingly irrational ways described by Nobel laureate and Chicago based professor who took up the mantle of behavioural economics in the USA very early along with Kahneman and Tversky. A combination of history and practical stories underpinning our irrationality and why we act as we do)

Freakonomics books from Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner including Freakonomics, Superfreak, Think Like a Freak and When to Rob a Bank. These are all great books filled with stories that help us consider how and why things work the way they do (or don’t) and what it is that drives these outcomes. They are fundamentally based on incentives and behavioural economics but are very accessible to all and really entertaining storytellers. Their podcast series is also on our very regular listens list and a great way to absorb this content is small, regular updates.

Social psychology books

Malcolm Gladwell, the Canadian social psychologist gets his own section as we have enjoyed so many of his thought-provoking, well researched and engaging story-led books over time. Here are our four favourites, all with significant relevance to inclusive design, insight, and innovation.

The Tipping Point, How Little things Can Make. a Big Difference, Malcolm Gladwell, 2000

the Tipping Point is very relevant with a global epidemic underway right now. It can help us understand how social distancing, testing and other practices we are being asked to undertake may help us right now. Although it is about the pivotal point and requirements for social behaviours to ‘tip’ to become fast-moving phenomena, lessons come from physical as well as social environments. For inclusive design leaders, this has some great tips on what the required conditions of success are to “tip” design practices to a point where all design is considered and developed in an inclusive way by default.

Outliers, The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell, 2008

David and Goliath, Underdogs Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants, Malcolm Gladwell, 2013

Talking to Strangers, Malcolm Gladwell, 2019

What You Do is Who You Are, How to Create Your Business Culture, Ben Horowitz, 2019

The Infinite Game 2019 and Start With Why, 2011 by Simon Sinek. He also has some excellent videos as TED Talks or on YouTube

21 Lessons for the 21st Century, Yuval Noah Harari, 2018

We are All Wierd. The Rise of Tribes and the End of Normal, Seth Godin, 2008

Solve for Happy, Mo Gawdat, 2017

Self-development books

The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg, 2014

The Art of Thinking Clearly, Rolf Dobelli et als. 2013

Mindfulness for Beginners Jon Kabat-Zinn, 2006

Creative Visualisation Meditations Shakti Gawain, 1999

What we’re watching

Movies and TV

Crip Camp just released on Netfix starts in Camp Javel in upstate New York. In the 1970s it provided Summer camps for teenagers with various disabilities and counselors from across the States. These kids and staff ended up being some of the most influential activists in the USA’s disability rights movement ensuring Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (the first American disability rights legislation) was passed in 1973 and then signed in to be enacted in 1977. They then went on to propel forwards the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990. These laws and this ongoing movement have changed inclusion legally, and as a result allowed massive shifts practically, functionally and socially, not just in the USA but globally also.

See also the book, Being Heumann above by Judy Heumann who was one of the critical leaders in this movement and a key character in this movie. The movie was made with loads of great historic footage from the camp, the Disability Rights campaigns and various characters lives across the 20 years it spans, well stitched together with recent interviews of those involved. Powerful, important and compelling small-screen entertainment. Produced by Barrack and Michelle Obama.

Notes on Blindness A 2016 Sundance Film Festival Award-winning film based on the book of the same name by John M. Hull originally based on his audio diary as he lost his sight.

Online Conferences and webinars

There are so many amazing learning opportunities right now online. Thank you to all the organisations sharing content for free to help us use this period to improve our skills and knowledge.

The Business Disability Forum has a range of Webinars

These cover this period of COVID-19 through the perspective of better supporting disabled customers or staff members. Last week Christine, our MD spoke on the BDF Webinar with Rick Williams and Bela Gor about customer inclusion in the time of COVID-19. The week before Robin Christopherson (AbilityNet) and Ruth Fischer (BDF) joined Bela for a session on the inclusion of disabled colleagues in the workplace during the COVID-19 period. Please also check out their broader toolkit with links to additional materials along with the webinars.

A Future Date Virtual Conference

This was a 3-day virtual accessibility conference held 21 -23 April 2020 online. It is now all available on YouTube for your (and our) ongoing enjoyment. Here is the session schedule showing the fabulous range of topics covered and speakers involved. It also has a PDF transcript and slides for each session.

The whole programme is now available on YouTube,

Day 1 is here

Day 2 is here

Day 3 is here

We haven’t had a chance to see them all yet but (to now) some of our personal favourites for individual sessions are

Day 1

XR Access: Improving Accessibility for Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality by Dylan Fox and Bill Curtis-Davidson

Audio Graphs for Users with Visual Limitations by Sukriti Chadha, Yatin Kaushal and Kisiah Timmons

Day 2

Making Artificial Intelligence Inclusive for Hiring and HR by Corinne Weible, Jutta Treviranus, Nathan Cunningham (Just brilliant! Please watch/listen to this one especially if you are involved in AI and/or recruitment)

Red is Not a Signal Color to Me – From User Research to Inclusive Design by Wendy Fox and Lauriann Hebb

Day 3

Sorry – not had a chance to see any of these as yet! Come back soon and we’ll share some of our favourites.

Add to our collection!

If you would like to add to this collection of inclusive content goodness, please send your additions to us at

Wishing you and your families all a healthy journey through this challenging period.

Previous song’s of the week

Our song of the week for the week starting 20 April is “Lose to Win” by Daniel Power. For all that we don’t wish to be in the situation of turmoil the world is in right now, and many people will go through specifically difficult emotional, physical or financial difficulty (likely we all will, but to differing degrees)  there may also be some long term benefits from change. We will “lose to win”. Here at Open we genuinely believe that inclusion of people with disabilities, especially thinking about digital services and workplace inclusion, will improve significantly and sustainably as a result of this social isolation period that the whole world is going through.

Our song of the week for the week starting 6 April is Emeli Sandé’s “Human“. Right now as we face this global challenge, it is good to remember we are all human and “we all go through things” that are really challenging and specific to our situation, needs and constraints. We can’t know or understand any individual’s specific ‘things they are going through’ without asking, so let’s be a bit kinder and more flexible wherever possible to allow for our very human fears, needs and challenges.

“We all love, we all pray
We all make some mistakes
Win or losing, we all human
We all go through things
We all dream, we all cry
We’ve all felt pain at some point in our lives
We’ll keep on moving
Yeah, we all human
We all go through things…

Wer’re so good together, but we are mad confused”