Inclusive innovation at Plexal

We believe that innovation should benefit everyone, and that we end up having better products, policies and services when everyone is included in their design.

Inclusion is one of our three main innovation themes, along with cybersecurity and mobility.

We’re on a mission to support user-centric, genuinely inclusive innovation. Our approach is to understand the challenge, bring the right people together and create real change – quickly. Sitting in the heart of London’s most inclusive business zone in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, we’re working with industry, academics, policymakers, innovators and experts by experience. Large-scale change takes a village – so it’s a good thing we’ve got one.

ACCESS ALL AREAS: THE ASSISTIVE TECH OPPORTUNITY

There are 13.9m people with disabilities in the UK but assistive technology is still not reaching enough people, while industry hasn’t fully woken up to innovation opportunity in front of them.

That’s why we intend to turbocharge disability-led innovation in the UK. We believe that by including diverse experiences and innovating around specific user challenges, you end up with better solutions for everyone. So we’ve partnered with University College London, The Global Disability Innovation Hub, Disability Rights UK and many more to launch an inclusive enterprise zone in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

We’re optimising Plexal’s workspace to meet the needs of people with a range of accessibility challenges, and we’re working with both industry and disabled people to stimulate the growth of the assistive tech sector. Our goal? To develop and scale disability-led innovations that benefit everyone.

WHAT WE DO

RESEARCH

We work closely with partners like My Life My Say and Disability Rights UK to understand the challenges and identify opportunity areas for innovation.

COMMUNITY

Through our workspace and events, we’re uniting a community of innovators who are typically under-represented in the tech sector. These experts by experience help us craft solutions that are genuinely user-centric.

CHALLENGE

If you’ve got an inclusion challenge, we’ll design a bespoke project or programme and ensure the solution is user-centric.

ACCELERATOR

We’re helping social entrepreneurs get their idea off the ground, find a route to market and scale with our OpenDoor accelerator.

ACCESSIBLE INSTRUMENTS CHALLENGE

Our innovation team was tasked by Arts Council England to deliver a programme that would help uncover practical solutions that make it easier for disabled people to make music, and solve specific challenges when it comes to the supply of adaptive instruments to schools.

We partnered with Creative United, the OHMI Trust, Hobs 3D and University College London to design and deliver the Accessible Instruments Challenge: a virtual-first programme that ran over three months.

It was important that each team included people with different perspectives and had a good mix of disabled and non-disabled musicians, instrument makers, designers, manufacturers, tech experts, music teachers and academics.

OPENDOOR: OUR INCLUSION ACCELERATOR

When it comes to levelling the playing field, we’re looking to the innovation community.

So in 2019, we delivered an accelerator aimed at supporting solutions that could help people from under-represented groups to start a business, find work or succeed in their career.

 

OUR RESEARCH

We asked the public what they thought about the state of social inclusion in the UK – and who they think is responsible for improving things. Download our report, which contains a foreword from mayor of London Sadiq Khan, to find out what they told us.

THE EAST LONDON INCLUSION ENTERPRISE ZONE

We’ve partnered with University College London, The Global Disability Innovation Hub, Disability Rights UK and many more to launch an inclusive enterprise zone in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The East London Inclusive Enterprise Zone (ELIEZ) brings together a community of entrepreneurs, business leaders and design thinkers who are disabled or whose work focuses on disabled people.

We’ve also worked with our partners to understand the accessibility challenges people could face at Plexal, and we’re optimising our workspace to make it as accessible as possible.

We hope that by bringing disabled innovators together and connecting them with industry and entrepreneurs from across the tech sector, we can grow the UK’s assistive technology sector and create products or solutions that are inherently empathetic.

 

 

CONTACT OUR TEAM

Russell Gundry

Director of innovation programmes

As our director of innovation programmes, Russell leads our work with our Rapid Innovation Accelerator, designed and delivered our OpenDoor accelerator and collaborates with partners to deliver ELIEZ: the East London Inclusive Innovation Zone. With over 10 years’ consultancy experience, he’s an advocate for inclusive innovation and action-oriented, user-centric solutions that involve systems thinking. If you’ve got an innovation challenge to bring to us or a question about a programme, get in touch with Russell.

NEWS AND VIEWS

Apply for the Accessible Instruments Challenge

Applications open today for the Accessible Instruments Challenge: a virtual inclusive innovation programme aimed at making adapted musical instruments, assistive equipment and music technology more accessible and affordable for disabled people

That’s a wrap: our OpenDoor cohort graduates

Over the past 12 weeks, nine organisations have been through OpenDoor: Plexal’s accelerator programme aimed at supporting solutions that can make work more inclusive.

How we’re optimising our workspace for accessibility

Plexal has partnered with 12 organisations, including UCL, Here East and our member Disability Rights UK, to launch the East London Inclusive Enterprise Zone (ELIEZ) with the aim of supporting

WORK WITH US

Whether you want to test an idea, solve a specific challenge, scale a solution or connect with the right organisations and innovators, our inclusion team will create a solution designed around your needs.

Find Us

Plexal’s based at Here East: a tech campus in east London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. We’re a 10-minute walk from Hackney Wick train station, or you can catch the free shuttle bus from Stratford train, underground and bus stations.

Location

Plexal
14 East Bay Lane, The Press Centre, Here East, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, E20 3BS

Location

We’re open Monday-Friday from 6am-12am, Saturday - Sunday 10am-6pm