Shaping an Inclusive Future at Remarkable

Our Progress in Diversity, Accessibility, and Innovation

Hello, I’m Emma Earley – the Head of Acceleration programs at Remarkable!

This year, on International Women’s Day (IWD), in order to stay accountable, we publicly committed to:

  1. Prioritising discussions to identify where we can take action to improve our processes and practises that foster a truly inclusive Disability Tech ecosystem; and
  2. Share updates on this work today – which marks one month after IWD.

In my first blog post for Remarkable, I’m proud to share some of the work we have done, and hopefully encourage you to make some small steps within your own organisation.

What led us here?

It’s important to recognise that the team has prioritised and made incredible progress in the areas of diversity, inclusion and accessibility since Remarkable launched in 2016.

Part of Remarkable’s ethos is acknowledging that we won’t always get it right, but are committed to continual learning, growth and progress.

In late February, at our team offsite, it wasn’t all team-building lunches and paint-and-sip activities. Though, they were definitely highlights! We identified our team’s desire to enhance knowledge and skills to ensure we are more accessible in all areas of our work. We have prioritised training and capability-building across the team.

Then, throughout our Launcher pre-accelerator program in February and March, which supported 38 startups across seven operating countries with a range of accessibility needs, we listened to feedback on how we can improve our accessibility and inclusive practice.

When IWD 2024 came around, we had a number of discussions internally on what content we might create for you, our Remarkable community. However, we found ourselves stuck on what would contribute meaningfully to conversations and tangible action.

These IWD-related conversations uncovered an opportunity for us to solidify and build upon this work, and share it publicly to encourage collective action across the tech and startup ecosystem.

How did we approach it?

We approached this with a few principles in mind:

1. Momentum – keep it going strong post-IWD, whilst being realistic about achievable timelines.

2. Embedded, not an afterthought – we want diversity, inclusion and accessibility to be embedded in all of our work, not something that sits on the side as a discrete project. This is to ensure it is core to our way of operating, and to realistically account for resourcing and workload.

3. Progress over perfection – Combine long-term strategic thinking with immediate and short-term, achievable steps towards a bigger goal, and have a bias for action.

4. Accountability – dedicated staff leading the project and people responsible for specific tasks and mini-projects. We will share our progress with our community.

What progress have we made in one month?

The week after IWD, we surveyed and met with our Remarkable team to discuss how to approach this work and what to prioritise.

Quick wins (one month post-IWD)

1. Create a new internal Slack channel for this work to ensure targeted Remarkable team communication. [Completed]

2. Engage a subject-matter expert to facilitate an ‘Introduction to accessible presentations’ for Launcher program. [Completed]

3. Review Accelerator application and judging process to foster diversity and minimise bias.

  • Review and update application questions. [Completed]
  • Build and test application form to optimise for readability and screen readers. [Completed, and can be improved further]
  • Update judging process to de-identify applications and minimise bias. [Work in progress]
  • Define minimum standards for diversity of judges. [Completed]


4. Review our approach to Remarkable programming to ensure accessibility and inclusion is embedded, starting with Accelerator 2024.

  • Update Accelerator commitments and operating principles. [Completed]
  • Come along to our Accelerator AMA sessions this week to find out more!


5. Narrow down team training priorities, service providers and budget [Work in progress]

  • One staff member has commenced a digital accessibility training course, but we acknowledge we need to do more work in the short-term on this.

Let’s create change together

It can sometimes feel overwhelming to look at blue-sky outcomes and realise how much work it will take to get there, so we’re focused on making constant progress, no matter how seemingly small. Let’s continue shifting beyond awareness and inspiration on the day of IWD to perpetual, collective action that moves the needle in the right direction.

Remarkable’s next commitments

We’ve checked a few things off our to-do list already, which is a great start, but there’s
more important work to be done!

Here’s what we commit to over the next five months:

1. Strategy: Define the focus areas for diversity, accessibility, equity and inclusion, our key metrics and how to navigate competing priorities.

2. Data analysis: Review our current representation across all programs and stages of the user journey, and identify any data gaps.

3. Internal processes: Review, update and publish our Inclusion and Accessibility Commitment on the Remarkable website.

4. Training: Tailored training for Remarkable team members.

Join us on the journey

We encourage you to join us in this work and to keep each other accountable!

1. Please share your thoughts and feedback on our commitments.

2. If you have some commitments for action, share them on LinkedIn and tag Remarkable so we can stay in touch and on track.

If you’d like to be connected with someone working in diversity, accessibility and inclusion in the Remarkable community, feel free to get in touch at hello@remarkable.org

Meet our JK Fellow Fiona Murphy

Orange tile with text “Fiona Murphy, Writer, 2024 Fellow” alongside a headshot of a white woman with short dark hair. She is wearing glasses and is smiling.

Introducing Fiona Murphy

I’m an award-winning writer and editor based in the Blue Mountains, NSW. My writing about disability and accessibility has appeared in The Guardian, ABC, The Saturday Paper, Griffith Review, The Big Issue, among many other outlets. I’m a casual lecturer for RMIT University’s Professional Writing and Editing Program.

In 2021, my memoir about deafness (The Shape of Sound) was released in Australia, New Zealand, UK and North America. It has received praise from Helen Garner, Sarah Krasnostein and Bri Lee. It was highly commended in the 2022 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

What was your motivation to apply?

I want the world to be more accessible.

I hid my deafness for over twenty years. I was terrified to be excluded from interactions and rejected from jobs. Having a communication disability can be a stigmatising experience.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

There is clear policy, guidance and recommendations for physical accessibility. Most cities and towns have endless examples of physical access — from ramps to rails, curb cuts to arm rests. But there is a lack of information about communication accessibility.

This is why I’ve created the Accessible Communications Collective. Having an accessible brand, content and sales strategy is essential to attract and retain customers. It creates a feeling of ease and inclusivity. It is also just good business. Accessible communication is good communication. It is clear and impactful.

What are you hoping to achieve?

Having access to community and accountability has given me tremendous confidence. Since starting the fellowship I have launched an email newsletter. It has quickly gained subscribers from across Australia and around the world. I have been genuinely blown away by how many people email me after each newsletter, either to say thanks or to continue the conversation. It is heartwarming how enthusiastic people are about learning about communication accessibility.

I have so much to discover about start-ups, but the fellowship is fast tracking my learning curve. It is a thrilling journey to be on.

What excites you about Disability Tech?

Digital accessibility.

What does the Remarkable community mean to you?

The enthusiasm and kindness is unparalleled. Everyone has been so generous with their expertise. It is like having dozens of cheerleaders on your side.

Stay up to date – Follow us on socials, subscribe to our newsletter.

2023 Tech Summit Talk | Markeith Price

Markeith Price | Provocation

Talk Overview

At the Remarkable Tech Summit, Paralympian and tech innovator Markeith Price shared his journey of living with optic nerve atrophy and the transformative role of assistive technology in his education. He highlighted the significant impact of accessible tech on his academic achievements and urged greater innovation in assistive solutions, especially for resource-limited settings, inspiring us to champion change for the future.

Full transcript available below.

Top Insights

1. Markeith Price, shared his personal journey of living with optic nerve atrophy and how it shaped his perspective on disability and technology. He emphasized the importance of perseverance and adaptation in overcoming challenges.

2. Price highlighted the importance of assistive technology in his life, particularly in his education. But he emphasized the need for more innovation and development in assistive technology, stating that while significant progress has been made, there is still much more to be done. He urged the audience to consider what more they can do to contribute to this field.

3. Price concluded his talk by posing a question to the audience: “Who would have thought?” He left the answer open-ended, encouraging the audience to reflect on their own thoughts and ideas about disability and technology.

About the speaker: Meet Markeith Price
Headshot of Markeith Price

Markeith Price

U.S. Paralympian, Entrepreneur, Content Creator, Business Developer and Analyst, Affiliate Marketer, Designer & Producer, Disability & Accessibility Advocate

LinkedIn: Markeith Price

Markeith Price, an innovative thinker. Markeith, is a Paralympian, Designer, Producer and growing Developer who loves to create strategies. Markeith is visually impaired – blind. He has never let the challenge stop his energetic spirit. Markeith strives to make a big impact on the world with his passion for teamwork and communication. Even through the challenges Markeith continues to Move Progress forward. He’s working on developing technology and solutions. Some of his studies consist of studying Music, Gaming Development Information Systems, Communication, Venture Capital and Private Equity. Markeith started a foundation called I C You Foundation Inc. In 2013 which started the Journey to his mission, vision and direction. Markeith wants people to know to never give up on yourself.

[Background Music and Markeith performing in spoken word poetry style]

This is motivation.
What’s up?
I’m pushing innovation.
Don’t stop.
This is motivation.
Wake up.
I’m pushing innovation.
Don’t stop.
This is motivation.
What’s up?
I’m pushing innovation.
Don’t stop.
This is motivation.
Wake up.
I’m pushing innovation.
Don’t stop.

[Background Music ends and Markeith continues his speech]

Thank you guys. That’s the first time I’ve ever performed. I gotta take a photo. So, Is it good?

So without assistive technology and accessibility that music right there might have not been made. So now we’re here. 2023.

I got introduced already but I will introduce myself again. My name is Markeith Price. I’m a Paralympian. I went to the 2012 Paralympic Games. I went to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, I’ve been to 7 World championships competing as a Paralympian and have been to 3 Para Pan American championships and just got nominated to go to my fourth Para Pan American championships in Santiago, Chile.

So, I was born in Silver Spring, Maryland and raised in Baltimore, Maryland and was diagnosed with something called Optic Nerve Atrophy. Optic Nerve Atrophy is a diagnosis where either your optic nerve is not fully developed, or you have had some sort of damage or some type of injury towards your optic nerves. And there’s many other ways that you can have optic nerve atrophy but those are the main ways and it’s a rare eye condition. I’m here to give you a challenge and provoke you all as well and give you some insight. But the first thing that I have to say is, this room is awesome. And I think it’s a special room for the last three days that I’ve been here. I’ve never been to anything like this before, and just speaking as a Paralympian, I know that’s a different space, and I would urge and encourage you all to go to a Paralympic games if you have not been to one yet, because it’s awesome. So if you have the ability to make it to a Paralympic Games, which is next year in Paris 2024, and then also there’s going to be one on our home ground in the United States, LA 2028 that we’re getting ready for and gearing up.I would say go because, as innovators, as investors, as founders, as entrepreneurs that are in this space, I think is important to see, to be a part and to ask questions amongst a whole group of people that are able to come out and compete for the same thing and have the same mission. Maybe some of the motives may be different people from different backgrounds with different disabilities. But I actually like to say “different abilities” I know we’re wordsmithing and finding different words but everyone has a different ability to do something. So I’m just trying to incorporate that into that. So,I would urge all of you all to get out there and find a way to go to the Paralympic Games. I know it may be challenging for some, but it would change your life and change. How you view things. If you have not been able to attend one.

I’m here once again to provoke you guys and give you a little bit of a challenge. So I hope my story, one story, will resonate with some of you or you guys, can take this home and just think about it.

So typically, I talk about perseverance and persevering through my challenges and persevering through, you know, overcoming and the embarrassment of things but still pushing forward through my sport in track and field. But today I’m not going to do that because I think the other story is a little bit more important for this space. I truly believe that each and every one of you all have a story that may be similar or different, So hopefully you all can resonate with me.

So, I was diagnosed when I was younger, at the age of 3, knowing that I was born with something called Optic Nerve Atrophy. My parents tried to do their best and being born in 1990, that space and at that time was still kind of tough, and it still is tough. But it was even tougher because the ADA just actually got passed when I was born in 1990. For those who don’t know, that’s the American Disabilities Act, and there is some controversy between whether it’s good or bad. I’m not going to get into that. But that meant it felt like there might have been some liberation for people that have been dealing with different abilities all their life.

So, just like any other kid going to school, my parents wanted me to have the best education, and find ways for their child to have that education. So eventually, I got rolled into being involved in vocational rehabilitation in my school because I went to school with sighted kids. My parents actually didn’t know about Maryland School for the Blind until I was about 6 or 7. And I had already kind of pushed those limits to what they felt like they could do for me. So I was in school with sighted kids and in my community that I lived in, I was probably the only visually impaired blind individual that anyone ever knew. So, this consisted of trying to get my education and that meant using the tools that were offered, which was learning braille, using large print, using magnification, and this is right before CCTV was really a thing. And CCTV is a projector that’s on the screen and you’re able to blow words up so that they’re really, really big. I’m not going to get into the technicalities of it but this was right before that time and so instead I had to use large print books, and this is where my story is going. So when it came to these large print books, my parents were told we have this resource for you right about third grade and I was excited. I was ready. I was like, “Oh, I get to be included with all the other kids and I get to be able to keep up and I get to be able to do everything else like the other kids, because I’m going to have a large print books.” So, the week arrives to give me my large print books and they come in volumes, just like a Braille book comes in volumes, which basically means is if you have a regular, I guess normal book your large print book consists of three volumes of those books or may consist of six to eight volumes of those books. And so I was excited, I’m going to, I’m going to be able to keep up, I’m going to be able to do everything else like the kids! So I get my book and I open it and I realize I can’t see the book. So, I’m like, “man this is what I’ve been waiting for. This is the moment…”

So a week goes by and I tell my parents I can’t see the book and just like any parent they’re trying to encourage you. Any good parent is going to encourage you, and they’re going to advocate for you and do their best. They’ve never experienced anybody else with a disability before in their family. I mean, there might have been a story or two, but they really didn’t know how to handle those things. So what they told me and encouraged me to do was, why don’t you use your tools? You know you’ve got your magnifier. You got this. You have that. So that’s what I did. And I was using my tools.

Year after year, year after year, things started evolving. Things started to change. Technology started to actually grow a little bit here and there. 2000 comes around, 2001 I went to middle school and get a CCTV in school and it did work, but unfortunately carrying a CCTV, this big old thing around school on a big cart was embarrassing. I’m trying to be cool, like who’s going to want to be friends with me? I eventually didn’t carry that around because it just was embarrassing for me. And honestly, when I reflect on it, a lot of the kids, they actually wanted to play with my equipment and that’s probably the most embarrassing part because my parents would say, Don’t let anybody touch your stuff and so they probably thought it was cool but in my mind, I’m like “my parents told me don’t touch my stuff.” So time goes on, you’ve got large CCTV magnifiers that aren’t really working for me and then you have large print books, then I’m still learning Braille at my vocational rehab.

My vocational rehabilitation teacher said it is going to be a little bit more challenging because you have some sight and if I haven’t explained my sight to you, my eyesight is with my left eye I have little to no vision, but I still can see out of it, but they don’t have a visual activity for it. So I can see images but brain doesn’t really pick them up from the left eye and then out of my right eye. I do have some vision where I can see about 2–5 ft, and then everything else becomes a little distorted, and then I also just adapt and kind of figure out ways that most of us as people with disabilities wind up doing. I know they can relate to that. Adaptation.

Back to the story of the books…So year keeps going year after year comes around, and I get to the point where I’m fed up. I’m like, I’m not using these books any more. They’re not helping me. They’re not assisting me. I’m just not. And don’t get me wrong. I believe that whoever created the large print books were meant for who they were meant for, And that’s probably somebody else with low vision, but unfortunately, it wasn’t meant for me and that’s okay. It wasn’t meant for me.

So at 15 or maybe 16 I got to the point where I said I’m going to tell my parents. I said, I’m not using these books anymore. I’m just not. I just can’t do it. I don’t know what I’m going to do. And, of course, technology was still kind of getting to a point where I might not have had to use a large print book ever again in my life, and of course, they did have audio books. But this was right before that golden age of audio books. It was like right before it so although I still had some audio books, they were hard to access and actually get my hands on it. And I absolutely love audiobooks. But this is about the large print books.

I told my parents. I’m not using the books any more, and this is probably the only time that I ever talk back to them. And they said, ‘Well, what are you going to do?’ And I was crying, I was like, I’m just not going to do it. I’m just not using the books. No more for like, 2-3 hours, just saying I’m just not just fussing at them. They kind of sat there and just said, Okay.

Eventually I figured it out, the reality of it is I actually didn’t figure it out, it was all the people that created the accessible technology that we see today. It was all the people that created the assistive technology that we see today, that we’re able to use from Jaws, to Zoom text, to having an iPhone and now android and having smartphones and being able to use magnification. I wish I could go back in time and take the CCTV that they have now because I would have been really cool. Let me tell you some of those CCTVs. They read to you. Now you can get on the Internet. You can post a video on Tiktok, posting your video on instagram so I would look and then you can actually fold. Some of the CCTV is like, Come on now. Why couldn’t that have happened for me? When I was in middle school and high school? That’s good, though it is here now, and that’s okay.

I have a few more words for you all. And I want to share this one thing before I get into the other words that I have for you are actually have been able to graduate with my master’s degree last year in information systems with honors for 4.0 in. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, And literally like audio books because the books were available, and I advocated hard for myself. There was one class I wanted to say, but I was like, OK, I’ll just find a bunch of audio books on audible. It was risk analysis. It was going to be a little easy class for me. They didn’t put the book in a version of audio, and I just didn’t have the time to actually submit it to the National Library for people with disabilities, which their process has really improved over the years for especially since they’ve changed the name from the ‘Library for the Blind’ to the ‘Library for people with disabilities’. So yeah, I was able to do that.

So a few words that I have for you are we doing enough? What more can you do?

I want to tell you all that I believe you all are awesome. I believe this room is special. Because once again, I’ve been to the Paralympic Games. I’ve spoken at many places of actually was able to had the honor to speak at the Executive office of the White House one time speaking about accessibility, but when I tell you the energy that I felt in this room and I understand that there are some other talks that are going on around the world, I truly believe that we can change things.

I also want to say that we need to do more. Especially for the fact that I know that I’m talking about books and technology, what I’m also knowing from my journey of being a paralympian that not every country and not every space has the same opportunity that I actually got to argue with my parents about having a large print book, and that means that we need to do more.

So, I think you guys are remarkable.I want you guys to continue to move and progress and I have a question for you all and the answer for the question you guys can formulate. The question anyway, you want to answer that question in any way you want to and the question is, who would have thought? And the answer is you are the people with the thoughts.

2023 Remarkable Highlights

Collage of smiling people, a phone screen, group portrait, and a number 2023 in bold.

Wow! 2023 has been filled with hardwork, achievements and ground-breaking milestones. As we near the end of this year we want to take this chance to reflect and celebrate our collective success, so buckle up for this fast-paced recap of this phenomenal journey!

Check out our list below of some of the top highlights:

1. Supported 12 startups through our Global Accelerator Program

Twelve ground-breaking Disability Tech startups completed our 2023 Remarkable Accelerator (#RA23) program! These global pioneers received seed funding and honed their skills, propelling their revolutionary technologies forward.

Experience their journey by watching the #RA23 Demo Day recording!

2.Ran Design-athon in partnership with Soda

Thrilled with our 2023 Design-athon’s success! We hosted 120 participants from 13 countries who used inclusive design to solve community-identified issues, supported by our partner Soda and experts like Elizabeth Chandler. We can’t wait to watch this year’s three Design-athon winners continue their journey in our 2024 Launcher!

3. Introduced Scaler to the world

We were excited to launch ‘Remarkable Scaler’, offering funding and support from Seed to Series A for Disability Tech Ventures. With the help of Cerebral Palsy Alliance, we now support disability tech startup founders on their next stage of growth. Join us, transform your product into a thriving business, and start your remarkable journey!

4. Produced Season Two of Remarkable Insights

Season Two of the Remarkable Insights Podcast doubled the inspiration with guests like Vint Cerf and Elizabeth Chandler joining host Viv Mullan. Each episode celebrates pioneers transforming disability-tech and shattering conventional boundaries. Tune in for a voyage through innovation, business, and social change!

5. Release of the world-first State of Disability Tech report

We were elated to contribute to the first-ever report on the Disability Innovation Ecosystem! In partnership with Village Capital and JP Morgan Chase, we assessed global disability innovation hubs. This pivotal work, part of the Moonshot Disability Accelerator Initiative with Smartjob and Enable Ventures, is paving the way for inclusive tech startups.

6. Hosted our 2023 Remarkable Tech Summit

We celebrated a transformative week at the 2023 Remarkable Tech Summit, thanks to CPA and CPARF. San Diego buzzed with panels, keynotes, and workshops, all ignited by the ‘Liminal’ theme, pushing Disability Tech boundaries to create a better world. From innovative design to market growth and inclusive environments, we’re proud of each moment that made this Summit unforgettable!

7. Released our Launcher Program Hype Reel

We had the best time working with some of our incredible alumni to create our first Remarkable Launcher hype reel!  

The Launcher pre-accelerator program supports early-stage startups that are improving the lives of people with disability. The 2024 program runs February to March 2024.

Applications are now open and close in just under four weeks on January 14, 2024.

8. Winners of Market Builder Award at the Australian Impact Investment Awards

Honoured to be named the Impact Market Builder of 2023 at the Impact Investment Awards! Immense thanks to our team and our incredible community of supporters. This accolade underlines our dedication to driving sector growth and fostering collaborative innovation. Congrats to all amazing nominees and winners who share this journey!

9. Welcomed three new team members

Our Remarkable team grew even brighter with the addition of three amazing new members: 

Cinthya Zurita,
Operations Manager

Kirilly Conroy
Digital Campaigns & Engagement Manager.

Zara Fulton,
Head of Investment

And there you have it, folks! A thrilling wrap-up of an unforgettable year here at Remarkable. We’re brimming with gratitude and joy as we stand at the end of 2023, looking back at the milestones we’ve achieved together.

On behalf of Cerebral Palsy Alliance, we send a special thanks to our partners icare NSW, Telstra, Vivcourt, TPG Telecom Foundation and The Ian Potter Foundation.

It’s also important that we thank the community of Remarkable supporters including our startup founders, mentors, coaches, facilitators, friends and the extended Remarkable family!

Your ongoing support for what we do has been critical for pushing us further towards our shared vision. So, here’s a massive thank you to our remarkable community— you are indeed the heart of all we do!

Until next time, keep being remarkable.

2023 Tech Summit Talk | Minnie Baragwanath


Talk Overview

In this enriching interview, Vivien Mullan and Minnie Baragwanath discuss the societal implications of inaccessible designs for disabled individuals or ‘access citizens’. Minnie shares her perspective on how disabled people become ‘shock absorbers’ for the inconvenience created by unaccommodating designs. Based on her personal experiences, she speaks out on the mental and physical cost of living in an inaccessible society. Furthermore, she also touches on issues of withholding support and power, stressing the need for radical social change and innovation that includes disabled individuals as active participants.

Full transcript available below.

Top Insights

1. The Disability community as shock absorbers: Minnie introduces the concept of disabled people serving as ‘shock absorbers’ for the inconveniences caused by inaccessible societal designs.

2. Cost of Inaccessibility: She highlights the overlooked costs that inaccessible societies impose on disabled people in their day-to-day lives.

3. Withholding Support and Power: Discussion on societal tendencies to withhold support, resources, and power from disabled people, which hinders the development of a more inclusive society.

4. Need for Radical Social Change: Minnie underscores the importance of radical social change to ensure the full inclusion of disabled individuals in innovation, design, and entrepreneurship sectors, leading to a more accessible future.

About the speaker: Meet Minnie Baragwanath
Headshot of Minnie Baragwanath

Minnie Baragwanath

Author, Social Entrepreneur & Access Innovator
Chief Possibility Officer at the Global Centre of Possibility

LinkedIn: Minnie Baragwanath MNZM

Minnie Baragwanath is an independent author, coach, consultant and social innovator. In addition to the variety of work she has underway globally, Minnie is also currently the Chief Possibility Officer and Founder of the newly established Global Centre of Possibility @ AUT.

In 2011 she, along with her incredible team and Board established Be. Accessible, a social change agency committed to the creation of a 100% accessible Aotearoa particularly for the 25% of people living with an access need. In 2019 Minnie led the transformation of Be. Accessible into the Be. Lab and in 2020 established what was to become the Global Centre of Possibility @ AUT.

Minnie’s focus on Possibility, with its unique emphasis on “Possibility leadership, design and innovation” as the key to future social transformation, is the next chapter in that pioneering story! ‘Possibility Leadership is the capacity to imagine and create a future of possibility, beyond current limiting paradigms, and beyond current concepts of disability and accessibility.’

The concept of “designing with” is absolutely fundamental to this approach. It is distinct from designing to or designing for which are the common defaults when approaching any type of design with the access community.

Minnie’s work and study as an access innovator and as a social entrepreneur, extends over 25- years and has included many diverse roles. Over the last few years Minnie has been awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit, the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award, the Westpac Women of Influence Diversity award, the Zonta women’s award and was placed as a top 10 finalist for the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year.

Earlier this year Minnie published her first book titled ‘Blindingly Obvious – The beautiful vision of Minnie B.’ More information about where to purchase this book is available at, https://www.minnieb.co.nz/blindingly-obvious

Viv [00:00 – 00:39]
I thought before we get into our conversation one of the amazing things about you is your use of language you’re an amazing writer and an amazing speaker and I understand this is a really safe space for people to choose language that feels right for them. Remarkable use the term ‘Disability Tech’ and I know that this is a term that you don’t choose to adopt and you use terms terms like ‘Human Tech’ and ‘Access Citizens’ and I just thought before we dive into the conversation maybe you’d like to speak to that a little bit more?

Minnie [00:39 – 02:56]
Sure Viv and look thank you so much for having me as part of this amazing event. I’m so devastated that I couldn’t be there at the last minute. So probably what I’d say is language is so pivotal especially when it comes to social change at I think conveying what it is we’re trying to achieve and so I think there’s a range of language that people can use and I think the critical thing is to understand why we choose to use the language we use. What’s that about. What is it conveying? Is it a language we can grow into or is it an outdated language that perhaps once served a purpose and was really powerful but maybe needs to keep evolving? So for me it’s about the ability to keep questioning and being very intentional about the language and why we use it. I quite love the concept of ‘Possibility-Tech’, ‘Possibility-Design’, and ‘Possibility -Leadership’ which is about future centered accessible design and Innovation, that’s a framework that I personally really relate to and it makes sense to me as I understand the world that we’re in. Now that may not be the case for other people but I think at a conference at an event like this you’re exactly right this is the space to actually explore and to keep challenging ourselves on which language we choose to adopt. I’m very happy for a range of language to be used I won’t be offended but it just might be that I might choose to use different language through this conversation…and as a person from New Zealand we speak differently.

Viv [02:56 – 03:32]
In New Zealand they say “chilly bin” for what we in Australia know is an “eskie” and I don’t know what Americans call it? A “cooler”? Alright I think New Zealand’s ‘chilly bins’ are way more fun. Okay so when it comes to the language you use, one of the really powerful concepts that you’ve sort of coined in your work is this idea of people with disabilities being “shock absorbers” for sort of the inaccessible designs within society. Would you be able to expand on that?

Minnie [03:32 – 08:01]
So as Pete said at the beginning I’ve worked on accessibility social change for oh my goodness well for at least 25 years and when I was 15 I was diagnosed with a congenial sight condition which means that I’m also legally blind. So from that age I became very aware of what it was to grow up in the world as someone living in this case with blindness but it could have been any type of impairment or or disability and as I’ve sort of continued to try and advance my work and to try and strive to create a more accessible world, as many people in the room here today I’m quite sure have done the same. One of the things that I’ve been reflecting on is actually there is a price to be paid for being an inaccessible society and any of us who live with an impairment or disability encounter that price, that cost every day of our Lives when we’re prevented from literally accessing the world around us. What fascinates me is that we we often talk about the cost of, well we government business usually those parts of society who are unwilling to change, talk about the cost of making the world more accessible so they say we can’t invest in accessible Tech or we can’t invest in entrepreneurs with a disability or we can’t put that lift in here or there or whatever the conversation might be because it costs too much. But what I notice is we’re never talking about the cost of our deeply inaccessible world and the cost of maintaining a status quo which is not benign but is actually very damaging by its very nature. So that’s why I started to think about it and I thought actually those of us living with an impairment our families, our friends, our immediate spheres are the shock absorbers. Somehow we’re expected to absorb into our bodies into our lives that inaccessibility and it comes at a price and I think it comes at a price of burnout it comes at the price of getting sick often. I think it’s something we don’t often talk about and I think the other part of that is when we think about leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, CEOs, Founders who live with an impairment of any sort and I know this firsthand having been the founder of several organizations as a blind woman there is a price to being a pioneer and when you’re out the front pushing at the edges of what’s acceptable pushing at the boundaries of what society deems acceptable that also comes at a price and a cost because the way has not been paved. The path through the forest if you like has not yet been cleared so we are doing the clearing. We’re having to clear the path and one of the things that I’m really interested at an event like this which is such an important Summit and again I just want to say I just have such admiration for Remarkable for yet again pulling off such an a remarkable event to create the space for these conversations but one of the things I don’t know if we’ve truly explored as a community, and as a growing community, is what is the current price and cost that CEOs Founders innovators entrepreneurs who live with an impairment are paying to do this work right now.

Viv [08:01 – 09:08]
I think that actually echoes a few conversations I’ve had at the Summit and also to a degree learning from an experience of having to come to terms with the fact I put a lot of effort into masking to try and fit into roles and responsibilities as I’ve kind of navigated my career and trying to unlearn these behaviors and give myself space to heal and grieve. I think when you’ve done it for so long you get hit with sort of a postponed grief and exhaustion which is a bigger cost and I suppose one that requires you to be patient with yourself and to be okay asking people to be patient with you. Have you had experiences in your career where you have tried to articulate the cost that you have paid for this inaccessible society and it has just been received with essentially just shrugged shoulders and people not understanding?

Minnie [09:08 – 14:42]
I think the challenge we’ve got is that this is quite an emergent space right now so this area of Technology Innovation entrepreneurship and design in my mind it is the single most important area in terms of if we are to truly ever create an accessible future for the nearly two billion people worldwide living with a disability if we collectively can really understand what is needed to ensure that access entrepreneurs designers innovators and leaders can thrive and do their work well then I think we can create an accessible society. If we do not understand and if we don’t ask the question ‘what is needed for a blind CEO to thrive and succeed?’, ‘what is needed for a Deaf entrepreneur to thrive and be successful?’If we don’t ask those questions and understand what’s required in terms of resourcing behavior and attitude all of that then we’re not going to see the change that’s possible in the world. In order to do that I think we need to have some shared frameworks for having these conversations. I only really started to understand the true cost of an inaccessible world as a blind CEO after I went through cancer and then I had a very unexpected and quite shocking experience of heart failure in 2020. As a blind woman CEO living alone in my home in New Zealand but also still trying to run a progressive social change organization but without any support that I needed to really function well. What I realized was that we didn’t have sort of a shared framework to have that conversation and to be able to say ‘Hey how do we talk about this in a way that other people don’t feel defensive? Don’t feel criticized? Don’t feel like they’re failing?’ I think the challenge is when we start to raise these issues firstly as the CEO or the entrepreneur people around us who feel they’re there to support us might feel criticized and that’s not my intention. My intention is to say hey everyone’s doing their best but perhaps we need to be doing more or better or differently. But how do we talk about this in a way that we can all come to the party? This is where this idea came to me of what I call being able to take an approach that is based on this idea of how do we be ‘with’ as in ‘with’ our access entrepreneurs, leaders, innovators and designers. How do we show up with these key innovators in a way that we’re all actually set up to succeed and not trip at every hurdle that comes up before us. So it’s a model for success but it’s also a new social contract saying as the innovator, entrepreneur, designer there may be things I need that someone else does not need there may be ways of operating and running my organization or my Enterprise in order to be truly accessible that actually does not fit neatly into that government contract that I’ve just signed up for it might mean we have to push back on a whole lot of traditional ways of thinking about entrepreneurship and design that actually is challenging for other designers other accelerators because we start to disrupt everything around us if we’re being true to our way of working and so it’s not an easy conversation but but I think if if and this is why I wrote my book in many ways was because I thought actually I look back and I think if I’d had a framework from the age of 15 day where I could have talked to my family my friends as I went through education employment and then as I went out into the world trying to Pioneer change through my different organizations if I had this framework of weth what might have been different and I think when I think about this immersive uh immersive emerging space of whether we call it disability Tech or as I like to call it possibility Tech design and Innovation I think we need some shared ways of talking of leading and understanding each other that are fit for 2023 and Beyond. I don’t know if that answered your question at all Viv…

Viv [14:42 – 15:13]
it did it and one of the parts of this sort of social contract is this term ‘withholding’ and in essence and correct me if I’m wrong but the concept is that as we sort of entered this space with each other there are undeniably and sort of inevitably these people that withhold and are resistant to that change and those people are people that are outside the disability community and inside. Could you speak to that?

Minnie [15:13 – 20:02]
absolutely and so if ‘with’ is how we birth an accessible future and interestingly the word ‘with’ has some of its early origins in old German and it has to do with being a midwife actually helping a mother to birth something. So if we think about ‘with’ as every moment of every day with every decision we make we are either enabling or disabling the birth of a more accessible society. So I’d love us to really think about what does ‘with’ mean? What could it look and feel like in this area of emergent technology for this future? We are all collectively trying to birth but then the other side of that because there’s always an opposite is when withholding happens. When for whatever reason we and I mean “we society”, a colleague, someone working as a designer. a friend, a family member, hold back something that is fundamental to that birthing of that accessible future. That might be we hold back our support, we hold back our generosity of spirit, we hold back funds but what I find really interesting is often we hold back power. In my experience we’re okay with people with a disability or access need reaching a certain level but are we really ready for blind people, Deaf people, people living with any kind of impairment to lead this radical revolution of possibility technology? Or are we withholding that opportunity because actually we don’t want to give away that power? That resource we don’t want to give away to this community? Because for whatever reason we’re fearful. It’s uncertain, it’s scary, it’s uncharted territory. So I think often withholding happens and we all do it. It’s something that I think we need to become cognizant of ourselves. It’s when we put a chair in the way of an accessible hallway. It’s when we choose to print something in size font instead of something larger. It’s when rather than smiling at somebody we frown at them. I have this example in my book, it was so pertinent to me. I had this massive contract that I was negotiating with about $1.5 million for an accessible Employment Program when I was running one of my organizations and in those big meetings I pour tea or coffee for my guests – you know it’s part of being a good host just to be able to pour a cup of tea and a coffee for your guest. Now that might sound really small but actually it’s a fundamental part of building a relationship through a contract negotiation and the member of my team whose job it is to support me as the CEO in that moment and there was obviously something going on for them okay but in that moment when I said would you be able to pour the tea they felt that task was suddenly beneath them and they actually walked out of the room and I couldn’t see they’d walked out of the room but I keep thinking where have they gone? Now in that moment that team member withheld an act of support that was part of enabling the birth of an accessible society. That single act of withholding almost derailed a $1.5 million contract negotiation; those are the stakes we’re talking about. Sometimes it’s the smallest things like that of withholding that actually can have the biggest impact and they’re often the hardest things to pinpoint. We often look to bigger examples around funding but it’s each of those little micro moments that determine whether a new Enterprise gets off the ground. They determine whether a new innovation sees the light of day, whether an access entrepreneur can actually flourish and create a successful organization

Viv [20:02 – 20:52]
I’m going to read one of my favorite quotes because it’s great it’s “No matter how cool disruption can be made to sound I now believe most people do not want disruption especially if they’re the ones who need to change in order for it to occur the fact is that we all need to change for True access to occur no one is exempt. And I now know in my heart that very very few people are brave enough to stay the course as we go out and into the fire’ Now that’s a big quote and when I first read it I got genuine chills but I would love you to expand on what that means for everyone in this room who are are really facing this challenge of disruption in what they’re doing?

Minnie [20:52 – 25:01]
I think again I I look at the this through the lens of for those of us who putting ourselves right in the in front line of social change because you know everyone who’s here at this event no matter what hat you’re wearing we are part of a radical movement of social change and by its very nature change requires us to do things differently and it is disruptive. You know in the next part of that quote I say is that people and marketers will water this concept down all the time and they’ll call a new chocolate bar or a new type of bottled water disruptive and it’s like oh my goodness it’s so not but when you think about the Civil Rights Movement in America the kind of radical social change movements and protest that we see around the world every day, women in countries you know where their basic human rights have been stripped away day after day after day but who bravely come out onto the streets and protest that is disruption. Now I think the challenge for us in a space like the Remarkable Tech Summit is we have to remain brave. We have to remain on the cutting edge. The world of Entrepreneurship, the world of business, the world of design also play it safe. There are models right now and in the world of business and this is one of my big bug bears actually and concerns with the space that we’re all a part of at the moment have we yet created an economic model where the value of the technology and the Innovation that has been created comes back to the access community? As the designers and innovators and entrepreneurs? Because what I often see and this is a quote from an amazing designer Liz Jackson but many of the Innovations and Technology the acess community radically fights for the money that’s generated whether it’s by big companies like Microsoft and sorry I don’t mean to just point them out, it could be any company when these products get commercialized which of course is is fine – where do those profits go? Until the access Community has direct access to the resourcing to actually lead the innovation of what I call “possibility design” we’re always going to be in the position where we are waiting to be invited to the table, we are waiting to be included. This is why I struggle with the term inclusive design as well because for me inclusive design is often about those who have the power and resource inviting us to the table – if we want and if they deem it appropriate or timely. We’re often invited to the table in a way that suits them, not necessarily us. So I think we need to be thinking about inclusive design along one platform and then what I like to call possibility design along another platform. We need to be doing both. We need to be ensuring the things that are being designed right now have accessibility built into their DNA but then we need to be having radical possibility design that is designed by the access community with our own resource base, with our own ways of designing, innovating, creating, going to market that honors a truly accessible worldview and that is disruptive.

Viv [25:01 – 25:26]
That was a very powerful way to end this chat – I am conscious that our time is up but you have just released your book and a a round of applause for you. Where can people access purchasing your book, is that on your website?

Minnie [25:26 – 25:47]
It’s on my website. I think there’s a beautiful slide that I sent through with an oh I’ve never done a promotion like this but it’s actually so at Min b. co.nz so m i m m i e at

Viv [25:47- 26:03]
We’ve got it up on the screen Minnie, so people can it’s m i n n i e b dot Co dot NZ but we’ll share that with everyone. Minnie we’ll get you back on the screen and just say big thank you for coming and joining us.

2023 Tech Summit Talk | Joe Devon

Joe Devon | Snapshots in AI & Inclusion

Talk Overview

In a captivating presentation at the Remarkable Tech Summit, Joe Devon opened our minds to the revolutionary role of AI in digital accessibility. He emphasised the invaluable perspectives people with disabilities bring to AI development, stimulating thought on sensory input and cognitive processing. Devon ignited interest about AI’s future role in personalising information, ultimately enhancing all our abilities.

Full transcript available below.

Top Insights

1. AI – A Game Changer for Digital Accessibility: Joe Devon emphasised the potential of AI to revolutionise digital accessibilities, urging for inclusive research and development.

2. Addressing Aphantasia through AI: Shedding light on the concept of aphantasia, Devon argued how understanding and accommodating such conditions could significantly enhance AI models.

3. AI Innovations for Inclusion: Devon discussed how AI could generate automated speech recognition, visual recognition, text-to-speech for increased accessibility, and even clone voices for those who need it.

4. Sensory Substitution – A Novel Approach: Introducing the concept of sensory substitution, Devon spoke about devices like the BrainPort and haptic vest that could allow blind and d/Deaf people to experience ‘vision’ and ‘hearing’ respectively.

5. Predicting an All-Inclusive Future with AI: In his conclusion, Devon predicted that AI will augment all of our abilities, transforming information in real time to suit the unique needs of each individual, thus challenging the boundaries of accessibility.

About the speaker: Meet Joe Devon
Joe Devon - headshot

Joe Devon, Co-Founder Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

LinkedIn: Joe Devon
X: @joedevon 

Joe Devon, Head of Accessibility and Al Futurist at Formula Monks, is a technology entrepreneur and web accessibility advocate. He co-founded Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) and serves as the Chair of the GAAD Foundation, focusing on promoting digital accessibility and inclusive design. Joe explores artificial intelligence’s (AI) potential to revolutionize digital accessibility, developing Al solutions to enhance online experiences for people with disabilities.

Joe Devon:
I have a little image here. Everything here is generated by Midjourney. And this is just an image of someone who has lots of things coming out of their mind, and the condition of people that have extremely vivid memories of imagery is hyperphantasia.

And, this is really an experience of a vivid mind’s eye where you can visualise things very well. Who here has a poor visual memory? And I’m like that as well. So we’ve got Molly. You’ve got you as well. So, Molly, can you tell us what did you imagine when I mentioned the beach?

Molly Levitt:
I mean, I live on a beach, so I had a very clear picture of what I knew but I was not imagining anything new.

Joe Devon:
OK. And I probably have aphantasia and similar to you, really struggle to visualize anything.

And here we have an image of a man with a cloud in front of his face because he’s got nothing. And the inability to generate images in your mind’s eye is called aphantasia, and it’s another form of blindness when you think about it in your mind’s eye.

Working in accessibility, as well as AI, has made me rethink the fields of accessibility as well as the field of artificial intelligence. Because that artificial intelligence is an attempt to try and understand sensory input, as well as cognitive processing, and producing generative output, just like a human being does. And when you think about disability, what is disability other than a disruption in sensory input, cognitive processing, and generative output?

So think about that for a second. Everything that we’re trying to do in artificial intelligence can really be improved when we are thinking about people with disabilities. And if you’ve seen lately about some of the things people are talking about when it comes to AI, they’ll talk about things like automated speech recognition, which generates automated captions. They’ll think about visual recognition, which can generate automated alt text and hopefully very soon, automated audio description. And then you’ve got text to speech, which can be great for people that might need to have their voices cloned and be able to generate their voices.

And it made me think. What if we start to rethink accessibility from the sense of trying to understand the different abilities and senses that everybody has and focus AI researchers on the fields of disability so that as they’re building their technology, they are testing with people with disabilities. It’s going to improve the models considerably.

Has anyone heard of an anauralia? No. Anauralia is the inability to have an inner monologue. So some people, just like we talked about the inability to visualise something in your mind’s eye, it’s the inability to have a monologue. Does anybody here not have an inner monologue? It’s pretty rare but it does happen. And what’s interesting is if you’re doing artificial intelligence, if you’re focusing on these little differences, you’re going to learn a lot about what you’re doing when you’re building artificial intelligence, and one example is I have a friend who is a child, Dakota, a child of d/Deaf adults, and he’s heard since birth. However, he thinks visually because his mother tongue is American Sign Language. And so this is just one of these tiny little details that when you’re trying to emulate using artificial intelligence to try and emulate human beings, you’re not going to be thinking about how to build models that are useful for different kinds of people unless you speak to people with disabilities.

Colour perception is another one that’s really interesting. Anybody know why monitors have you heard of RGB? Red, Green, Blue, Yes. Do you know why monitors are RGB? So they’re the primary colours, and it’s because most people have three primary colours that they can see because they’ve got three colour cones. And I liked your answer. So I’m gonna give you a dollar. There you go. Awesome.

But did you know that women actually have a backup colour cone and in rare cases, some women actually express all four colour cones, and they therefore have four primary colours, and this is a condition that is called tetrachromacy. And we can talk about disabilities where you’re looking at ‘what does the average person have?’, and if the average person doesn’t have an ability or has some kind of impairment compared to the average, we’ll call it a disability. But what about tetrachromacy? Women that have this and it’s only in women can see 100,000,000 colors, whereas the rest of us that are tetrachromats can see a maximum of a million colors. And interestingly enough, the retina displays can show a billion colors, so can 8K and, nonetheless, because it’s based on RGB technology, it comes out flat to tetrachromats because it is RGB based. So this is another example where you can push technology further by testing with people with disabilities.

Some of you may figure out where I’m going with this. This is a question here. ‘Do words or numbers evoke specific colours or tastes for you?’ There’s a dollar in it for whoever says yes, but please don’t lie. Do you associate numbers or letters with colours? Oh, no. OK. Usually there’s at least one or two in the audience and this is called synesthesia. But at one talk where I gave this in this black and white slide one person raised their hands like, ‘Yes, I know what you’re getting at here. There are fireworks coming out of this black and white slide and colour streaks’, and he just described something incredible and this is the kind of thing I wasn’t prepared for that, and everybody in the audience was completely shocked. I gave him 5 bucks, not $1, and it is just incredible. And what synesthesia really is. Does anybody know?

Audience (Ted):
Yes, it’s when you see sounds? It’s when you taste colours, you see sounds. It’s when your senses overlap.

Joe Devon:
Yes, cross functional! Here is a dollar, can somebody help to get this over to Ted, please? Thank you. It is cross-sensory. You’re having one sense, even though the colour cones are not actually activated, they actually do get activated by some other means. And a good way to show this is, this is a chart with fives and twos all in black, but people that are synesthetes they identify specific letters or numbers to colours, and it could be taste as well. And so here’s another slide where the two are in red, and the fives are in green, and what’s really interesting, too, is because these patterns kind of come out at you, if you have synesthesia, your memory tends to be much better.

So all of these little examples. There’s probably hundreds of them. I’ve taken a 45-minute presentation and turned it into 15 min. I just gave you like a few of these. But there’s a lot more that you can do. And there’s lots of reasons why studying different kinds of people with their abilities is going to power the future of technology. But in addition to that, as you see here, there’s a lot of companies here working on BCIs there is a gentleman over here wearing a cognition device and it says, ‘My name is Chris’. And he’s using his brain to control the screen and be able to communicate. And when you think about it, only tech companies that are working with people with disabilities are going to be able to create a great brain-computer interface. Because how are you going to do it with the general population? You absolutely need to work with people with disabilities, so this is really the future. Sensory substitution. Anyone know what that is? Yes, sir. You Yes, we’ll get you a microphone…

Brandon Briggs:
Sensory substitution devices are software some kind of device that you can use for example, visual elements can be converted into sound based off of, you know, some sort of algorithm. And so you can do that for different types types of senses. So haptics, or visuals or auditory.

We do this for the James Webb telescope. We can’t see different radio waves and the different types of life that they’re getting from the telescope. And so people turn it into visuals that look pretty. And that’s kind of a sensory substitution experience.

Joe Devon:
Yeah, very good. That’s a dollar. All right. I got your dollar. Okay, so, over here we have a picture of the brain port and the brain port uses sensory substitution where they have a camera mounted. I don’t know if anybody here has used it. But there’s a camera mounted on glasses and it streams digital data to what they call a lollipop. I wanted to try it, but they said you’re not blind and you need FDA approval. But if you’re blind, you can actually use this device and see through your tongue. And that’s where one sense substitutes for another sense.

And there’s also some of you may have seen the Ted talk with David Eagleman, where there’s a haptic vest worn, and it streams audio data from the iPhone to have haptic touches on people’s backs and someone who’s d/Deaf is able to actually hear through a haptic touch on their back. So this is what’s coming. This is the future of technology. And then I’ll just do one other example.

Has anyone seen Humane? The Ted Talk on Humane? Yes, sir. in the back tell us what you saw?

Markeith Price:
It’s like a computer body. I can’t even explain it. But basically they’re trying to make devices like non-visual. Am I correct?

Joe Devon:
More or less, they’ve just come out with a little bit more information, so it’s a pin. They released it in a fashion show, and it’s a pin that projects a user interface on the palm. But it also does similar to Alexia or Siri, where you can talk to it, and it uses AI to communicate. So it’s definitely a super interesting new wearable and what I think is going to become what I think is going to be happening. Oh, wait, You can’t leave off your dollar.

So we’ll get you that what’s definitely coming is what we’re going to see BCIs working for everybody. We’re going to see haptics being an input device and we’re going to see that AI will transform, for example, from one language to another, from one input to another. So, for example, if you’re blind, you need all of your information to be verbal, so it will translate information to be verbal. Or if you’re d/Deaf, it will translate it into visuals. And if you’re deaf-blind, you will be able to have haptics to communicate with you. And so your real life will be generated in real time by artificial intelligence. And this is the future, AI will augment all of our abilities.

Thank you.

2023 Remarkable Tech Summit: Revolutionising Disability Tech

The 2023 Remarkable Tech Summit, which is made possible by Cerebral Palsy Alliance and Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation, is a 4-day event that took place from Oct 2 – 6 in San Diego. It includes insightful panels, keynote speakers, robust debates, networking opportunities, and group workshops. And it was all geared towards one aim – celebrating and expanding the burgeoning Disability Tech landscape.

The theme for the 2023 Remarkable Tech Summit was ‘Liminal – exploring the space between the world as it knows it and the world as it could be, in disability tech and innovation.’ Within this we explored the space between:

  1. Design and innovation – How to prioritise access alongside innovation.
  2. Need and Market – Changing the narrative from charity/compliance to opportunity/market growth.
  3. Human and Environment – Shifting the burden from disabled people to advocate, to be included in a rapidly changing innovation economy.


Now for the highlights…the question is where do we begin? The Summit was teeming with brilliant moments some of which are listed below!

1. Exploring Disability, Youth & Employment

Before the Summit kicked-off we joined our friends at ATscale, hosted by UNOPS for a 1-day ideation workshop. We joined an incredible group of individuals to explore how to leverage AI-enhanced assistive tech (AT) to dismantle barriers experienced by young adults with disabilities in low-and-middle income countries. Later in the week the insights of this conversation were shared with our Tech Summit guests in a panel conversation.

A group of individuals sitting in chairs presenting a panel on stage, one person is holding a microphone.

2. Incredible speakers tackling the hard questions

What we love about the Summit is that we don’t shy away from asking ourselves hard, provoking questions about our sector and challenging ourselves to think bigger and bolder.

We had a huge range of guests join us to tackle various topics including the future of AI, equitable access to AT in low-middle-income countries, the constraints of funding models, the dangers of averages in inclusive design-thinking, risks of hustle culture and more. Below are some of our favourite quotes:

Headshot of Fernando Botelho

“If you want to do something bold, really bold, you’re going to have to redesign everything. You’re going to have to rethink the way you work with labor unions, improve training, redesign the production line. Both the equipment and the process itself. Because it’s just too ambitious for you to get it done without rethinking everything about the way you do it.”

Fernando Botelho, Assistive Technology Programme Specialist at UNICEF 
Headshot of Jutta Treviranus

“We need to upend the hierarchy of compromise because what happens is that the people at the margins are told to be happy with the pittance of change that we provide and people at the margins, such as people with disabilities, have less room to compromise because they feel greater constraints. It is the people with the most power, attention and resources that are most able to compromise.”

Jutta Treviranus, Director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre.
Headshot of Charli Skinner

“We adopt this ever familiar hustle approach and that disabled people are really forced into. We exist in this world that isn’t made for us. So we create our own Suburbans, our own tools, our own systems and our own coping mechanisms so both brilliantly and ironically, those are often the sweet spot of where innovation is arising.”

Charli Skinner, Co-Founder of SODA 
Headshot of Moaz Hamid

“We realized that there is a $146 billion impact in our economy because we are not employing people with disability today. We are not creating the opportunity for them, and we prefer to just give them a voucher and not offer any job.”

Moaz Hamid, founder and managing partner of mvmt ventures
Headshot of Diego Mariscal

“Oftentimes, particularly in the entrepreneurship space, when we think about disability, we talk about it being the source of innovation, creativity, resiliency, which all that is true. But the challenge that I want to pose to you today is that that image oftentimes is too rosy. It’s too one-sided because disability also encompasses oftentimes medical appointments, unsupported family structures, accommodations that are not received…Failing to recognize the complexity of disability puts us at risk of not supporting people in the holistic experience that they need.”

Diego Mariscal, CEO and Chief Disabled Person of 2Gether-International
Headshot of Elizabeth Chandler

“The future cannot be built upon the past. We’ve had a past that has not considered accessibility and inclusivity as part of what we’ve got the foundation of what we’re working with and trying to build off of in future innovations.”

Elizabeth Chandler, Founder of The Good Robot

3. Launch of world-first Disability Tech report 

Last year, Remarkable joined the Moonshot Disability Accelerator Initiative’s inaugural class, which is a groundbreaking alliance launched by SmartJob and Enable Ventures. We were excited to see the impact of this initiative taking shape with the public release of the world-first report looking at the Disability Innovation Ecosystem at our Tech Summit!

Developed in partnership with Village Capital, JPMorgan Chase & Co., this report analyses the global landscape for disability innovation hubs and organisations propelling the next wave of inclusive tech startups. We had Elizabeth Nguyen from Village Capital, and Gina Kline from Smart Job share some of the key insights of the report at the summit!

Headshot of Elizabeth Ngyuen

“Overall, the moral case of inclusion and disability and accessibility is becoming the business case. It’s a market size that is just too big to avoid.” 

Elizabeth Nguyen, Village Capital

3. The inaugural Solly Rodan Award

We hosted a Startup Showcase with some of our amazing #RA23 startups including Hominid X,  Springrose,  Possibility Neurotechnologies, SpineX Inc. ,  XR Navigation and Aurie.

As part of this showcase our audience voted for their favourite pitch and we were thrilled to award the first-ever $20,000 Solly Rodan Award to Nicole Cuervo, Founder of Springrose!

A group of individuals smiling and holding a large purple check and sign
Two people on stage presenting a startup pitch. Behind them is a large screen with their presentation.
A diverse group of individuals on stage smiling for a group photo.

4. Blueprint for the future

Each day included group discussions designed to create nine guiding principles for our guests to feel empowered to move forward with clarity on how to best grow the Disability Tech space. Below are a few of our favourite principles that we established together:

  1. Innovation is not an end in and of itself. In order to make AT accessible we need to focus on innovation in distribution systems AS MUCH as specific new technology.
  2. Technology needs to be designed with the most diverse input from the outset and work to ensure continuous interoperability.
  3. Move from a marketplace that suggests products based on diagnosis to one where users choose products based on their specific needs, encouraging individualization and adaptability.
  4. The AT ecosystem should have standards, norms, and facilitators that drive scalability and sustainability to bring products and services to markets quickly, efficiently, and equitably.
A young woman presenting on a stage in front of a large screen that says ‘Tech Summit: Future Lab’’

What are the next steps? 

Well, we will carry the brilliance, energy and insights from this year onwards so that we can reflect on what we’ve achieved as a community at our next Summit and will focus on these three key next steps:

  1. Investment – Off the back of the Disability Innovation Report we will be seeking investment into the Moonshot Initiative and the Disability Tech sector at large.
  2. Guiding principles – As a community we will collectively use our guiding principles to influence how we pave the future of the Disability Tech sector globally.
  3. Tap into the outliers – We will challenge ourselves to constantly check that we are using the learnings and knowledge of minorities, outliers and just as importantly our mistakes to create truly inclusive innovative solutions.

We’re excitedly seeking collaborators, champions, and partners to join us in this journey! Stay in touch by contacting us at hello@remarkable.org. Here’s to the wonders of the future!

Indii | 2023 Demo Day Pitch


Pete Beckett, Founder of Indii.


Indii is enabling independence for disabled and older people by unlocking the potential of the smart home.


[00:00 – 01:28] Pete

This is Sofii, the adaptable switch for your home.

And this is Sophie, my youngest sister. Sophie is a genuine ray of sunshine who finds her joy in good food and singing Christmas songs all year round. In 2001, Sophie experienced a severe brain trauma, and as a result, now requires one-to-one care on a daily basis. Sophie’s experience is what inspires our vision.

Hi, I’m Pete Beckett the founder of Indii and we’re developing technology to enable the tens of millions of people with motor disabilities who stand to benefit from integrating smart-home technology into their homes.

Currently, home tech is limited by its input devices. In a world ruled by phone apps, quick and universal control is not a given. Voice assistants have been a great step in the right direction, but there are many scenarios where users cannot or do not want to use their voice as a primary input method.

Meanwhile, companies operating in the assistive tech space excel in designing solutions with specific user requirements. Unfortunately, to date, most implementations of environmental control have been prohibitively expensive and limited in both scope and capability.

That’s what led us to develop Sofii, the switch, not the sister. Sofii supports adaptive switches and offers audio-visual feedback and connects directly to the smart home without the need for a mobile device.

[01:28 – 01:34] Sofii

This button controls your bedroom lights. Press the button again to toggle on and off.

[01:35 – 02:33] Pete

Sofii can act as a Bluetooth switch for iPads, phones and computers and at just $350, is more capable than its nearest Bluetooth-only rivals and for a lower price.

Over the past 18 months we’ve developed the hardware and software and tested with new potential users.

We’re now really close to delivering on our mission of providing new and improved ways to enable independence at home. But the next 18 months is set to be even more exciting. This spring we’re welcoming interested parties to evaluate our hardware and explore commercial partnerships as we move towards a launch, selling into the NDIS early next year. And this is just the beginning.

In the future, we want to take our tech out of the home and into public spaces, providing more convenient ways for our customers to interact with the world around them.

And all this thanks to Sofii, the switch and the sister.

The Care Co | 2023 Demo Day Pitch


Brianna MacDonald, Founder of The Care Co.


The Care Co teaches kids aged 5 to 12 mental health habits in the classroom and beyond.


[00:00 – 3:29] Brianna

I’d like you to imagine a primary school class. This might be your child’s class or a child you know and there could be about 30 kids.

If it’s a classroom of 30 kids, we expect about 1 in 5 of those children to have already experienced a traumatic event.

We expect 1 in 7 of those kids to already or soon to be struggling with their mental health.

And on average, about 1 in 10 of those young people is disabled.

I’m sure you can imagine, in a classroom of 30 children, that’s a lot of need. And unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there.

We know that 1 in 3 adults struggles with their mental health. We’re losing about $5 trillion in the workplace and 1 in 5 sick days for the same reason. Depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorder are three of the world’s leading disabilities. And it’s expected that almost all people will face at least one significantly traumatic event in their lifetime.

The problem isn’t just our declining level of mental health and wellbeing. The problem is that we’re not learning the skills needed to manage these challenges and we simply don’t have enough supply to meet the need.

My name is Brianna and I’m the founder of The Care Co. I’m a Canadian First Nations woman studying a Masters in Psychology with Harvard. I’ve worked in the trauma-informed education space, am a two-time entrepreneur, and 20 years ago, I was a Care Co kid. Now a flourishing, healthy adult, I’m just one example of what can be achieved with early intervention. And I spend a lot of time looking for where the opportunities are.

Chances are you or someone you know is a parent or guardian and you’re probably pretty busy. While you may not feel like a mental health expert, you’ve got one silver lining. Chances are you send your child to school. If you’re an educator, you might feel plagued with questions like, “How do I teach mental health in the classroom?” Again, an opportunity. You’re teaching fundamental life skills every day. Psychologists are a fantastic, effective model, and while they’re hard to scale in their current form, the psychology community gives us an evidence-based best-practice way to work with kids.

And this brings us to The Care Co. The Care Co is an in-classroom software that teaches kids between the ages of 5 and 12 mental health habits. A self-paced learning tool, we offer easy lesson planning, agency, and a unique way to build mental health habits from day one. One of the features we’re super proud of include our ability-based, evidence-based model,support for school disability funding reports, and activities that are mapped to health subject teaching needs. So where do we go from here?

We’re beta testing our app with 5 schools and 1,500 students. Next we’re partnering with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance and positioning The Care Co in front of about 1,200 schools in September 2023, and officially launch in October. Our future plans include the psychology,
disability and social work communities, as well as an app for parents and guardians at home.

And we have one really audacious goal – “every child, every school.”

To get there, we offer subscriptions priced per student per month. Schools can choose a 6-month or 12-month licence. And considering the 2 billion kids worldwide, we’re just getting started. First targeting 1 million students, we’ll be grossing $60 million in annual recurring revenue if we reach that goal.

For those ready to see mental health skills taught in every school, I ask that you scan this QR code to view a product demo, visit our website, or join our product updates and investment opportunity newsletters.

And if you’re onboard with our North star, join our mission. We would love to have you along.

SpineX | 2023 Demo Day Pitch


Kara Allanach, Director at SpineX.


SpineX is a clinical-stage bioelectric MedTech company committed to delivering spinal cord neuromodulation technologies to improve the lives of people with neurological conditions.


[00:00 – 04:05] Kara

Imagine if you or someone you love was unable to move their body as they pleased or control bladder function on their own. For millions of people in the US living with neurological conditions, this is their reality.

Here at SpineX, we are developing incredible new technology to treat these conditions by using electrical impulses to retrain the spinal cord. Our technology is built on groundbreaking research from the top scientists in the field of neuromodulation and is done non-invasively, without needles or surgery.

Although our technology has many potential applications, we have chosen to focus our first two commercial products on conditions with huge unmet clinical needs, movement disorder in children with cerebral palsy, or CP, and incontinence in adults with neurogenic bladder. These conditions together affect more than 2.5 million Americans.

Existing treatments are simply not good enough because they don’t fix the problems, they only reduce symptoms. At best, they’re short-term solutions, like drugs that cover up symptoms but have unmanageable side effects. And at worst, they’re invasive treatments, like Botox injections or nerve-severing surgery, causing irreversible long-term reductions in function.

With SpineX, now there is hope for these patients and their families. This is a three-year-old child with CP. Before SpineX, he was unable to take steps on his own but when we provided SpineX therapy, within five minutes, he was able to take steps. We have seen similar results, in line with their functional level, with nearly all of the more than 40 children who have undergone treatment with SpineX therapy so far. The really exciting part? We see durable improvements that last for several months beyond the final SpineX therapy treatment. Nothing else on the market can do this.

Neurogenic bladder, or NB, is common in spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis and stroke. NB often involves incontinence, frequent urinary tract infections, loss of sleep from night-time voids, and use of catheters to empty the bladder. For some people, catheterisation can take 20 minutes each time and must be done anywhere from four to more than ten times per day, including several times through the night.

With SpineX therapy, we’re able to reduce incontinence episodes by 70%. And if leaks do happen, they’re smaller. Patients report feeling more in control, they don’t need as many catheters and they can finally sleep through the night.

How does it work? The common thread between all of these conditions is that messages between the brain and the spinal cord don’t get through clearly. SpineX acts like a hearing aid for the spinal cord, amplifying the signals that need to get through while cutting out background noise. We deliver special electrical pulses through the skin to rewire brain patterns and encourage neuroplasticity, producing long-term results.

What’s next? Our team of highly-experienced medtech professionals is excited to bring these technologies to market. We expect to receive FDA approval for and launch the first of our products in late 2024. We will reach our target customers by working directly with our collaborators in the hospitals, rehabilitation centres and physical therapy clinics where they are already being treated so that we can make sure that we reach as many potential users as possible.

We’ve been told by our patients and their families that the impact of our technology
is magical, and we agree.

Join us in our quest to bring this amazing technology to market. We’re launching a financing round, recruiting for clinical trials, and interested in talking to people with lived experience with any of these conditions.

Please reach out to us. We would love to talk to you.