Mindset Matters: Contemplating The Future Of Accessibility



The writer Dan Senor in his book Start-Up Nation:
The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle wrote that “it is a story not just of talent but of tenacity, of insatiable questioning of authority, of determining informality, combined with a unique attitude toward failure, teamwork, mission, risk, and cross-disciplinary creativity.” This past week I had the good fortune of being part of a select group to participate in a five-day program known as the Global Accessibility and Inclusion Summit, or GAILS for short sponsored by Access Israel, a nonprofit whose primary mission is to both promote accessibility and inclusion across the State of Israel and improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities. Yet, throughout the summit what became quite apparent was not only the structure of the event but the fact that Israel provides such fertile ground for exploring the ever-changing scope and definitions of accessibility.


Access Israel’s philosophy for this event was built on the premise of bringing together a diverse a group of leaders across the accessibility space and developing an environment for cross-pollination of ideas, building trust, and planting the seeds to bolster a greater sense of community that has the potential to grow exponentially. Through these five days, this diverse group of thinkers and practitioners from all over the globe developed a sense of collegial harmony and built relationships that challenged the traditional framework of accessibility and offered new pathways to think about the potential opportunities of what can be done, not only in the State of Israel but across the globe.

Even though this was the first year that Access Israel has embarked on such an endeavor, what they understood through their programming included meeting with team members at tech stalwarts from the Israel campuses of Microsoft and Google to a bevy of young entrepreneurs who shared their start-up visions is the recognition of the changing parlance of accessibility goes far beyond curb cuts and ramps to something even more profound, a model of innovation that will have a tectonic effect on the century ahead.


The takeaway from these five days beyond feeling a part of a newfound community was the ability to recognize that accessibility is very much an umbrella term that has significant nuance and complexity. We are living at an inflection point where we must engage in exploring the many tributaries that will define accessibility for the future to come and identify that the lived experience of disability is inextricably connected to various elements of innovation including design, technology, and the future of work.


Access Israel understands that as an organization they are embarking upon a new paradigmatic model within the disability space. They are positioning themselves as a key mechanism for change that espouses the values of innovation leadership and highlights the disability community as central to building a new formula to help discover more effective solutions tying government, academia, nonprofit and corporate entities together to look toward a future society that embraces full inclusion as a fundamental ethos.

Access Israel and the Global Accessibility and Inclusion Summit (GAILS) is a monumental step forward in disrupting the status quo and pushing accessibility in all its permutations to the forefront of societal thinking. No longer can accessibility be an afterthought, but essential to the framework of shaping a better quality of life for all.


Credit | FORBS >>

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