·         Over 250 people from across the world attended the first Global Disability Innovation Summit, which will now become a bi-annual event


·         Global Disability Innovation Hub will play host to the International Committee for the Red Cross ‘Enable Makeathon 2’ in London, launching with a Parliamentary Reception on 4th December


·         Corporates and start-ups can get involved in the Global Disability Innovation Accelerator Programme run by PLEXAL based in the largest creative tech ecosystem in Europe on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park


Last week hundreds of people attended the world’s first Global Disability Innovation Summit in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Delivered by new social start-up the Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub), which is born of the legacy of the 2012 Paralympic Games and the Universities moving to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the event marked a step change in Disability Innovation, attracting world leaders in Assistive Tech, Design and Inclusive Development to London to start a new conversation about Disability.

The inspiring, dynamic and energetic event brought 70 global experts to London covering everything from wheelchairs and wearable tech, to art, culture, charity, corporate and sport. Speakers from the World Bank, World Health Organisation, Leonard Cheshire Disability, the Red Cross, UNICEF, International Labour Organisation, Microsoft, Barclays, the BBC, Channel 4 and the British Paralympic Association, joined Paralympians, Comedians, Academics, Artists and local disabled people’s organisation to set out a new manifesto for disability innovation which puts disabled people at its heart.

GDI Hub’s vision is to change the way we look at disability, using tech for good to make a difference to the lives of the World’s one billion disabled people by 2030.

GDI Hub is led by the University College London, who open their doors on in Here East, the old 2012 Broadcast Center now a thriving creative hub, to students this Autumn. They are joined by Loughborough University, University of the Arts London (London College of Fashion), London Legacy Development Corporation, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the Royal College of Art who are the founding partners. The work of the Hub is supported by a Disability Innovation Board with diverse members from three continents, Chaired by Lord Chris Holmes.

Working together, harnessing momentum and building a movement which goes beyond institutional and disciplinary boundaries were key outcomes from the summit, and something the Hub is passionate about, using the Park as a ‘Live Lab’ and channelling applied research into real outcomes.

The main outcomes from the event were:


·         Global Disability Innovation Summit to be a bi-annual event, next time to be held outside the UK, which the GDI Hub will develop online mechanisms to share thinking and grow the community

·          GDI Hub to host the Enable Makeathon 2 with the International Committee for the Red Cross, led by UCL. This will provide teams from around the world the chance to come to London and help design new product and services that help people in conflict and post-conflict situations around the themes of Accessibility and Employability – concurrently with the Bangalore event. This will be launched by Lord Chris Holmes in Parliament on the 4th December. Get involved by emailing hello@disabilityinnovation.com. And see more on the ICRC microsite: xxxxxx

·         Corporates can support the work of the Hub but sponsoring the Global Disability Innovation Accelerator, run in conjunction with our colleagues in PLEXAL (add details of PLEXAL). WEBLINK

·         A brand new MSc is launching in ‘Design, Disability and Innovation’ teaching the next generation of innovators and building capacity. Contact us for more information.


Tarun Sarwal, Innovation Advisor, International Committee for the Red Cross said:

“The first Enable Makeathon held in Bengaluru, India last year led to the establishment of some great new products which Red Cross can now test in the field, helping to meet real need in conflict and post conflict situations. This year we are delighted that the GDI Hub team, with Richard Frost, are going to be running Enable Makeathon 2 in London, concurrently with the Indian event, launched at the Houses of Parliament on the 4thDecember.


Charlotte V McCLain-Nhalpo, Global Disability Advisor for the World Bank said (TBC):

“I was delighted to be invited to the GDI Summit and genuinely enthused by the quality of contributions and the breadth of knowledge brought together in such a diverse strong audience. GDI Hub is new and genuinely innovative force in Disability Inclusion on a global scale. I look forward to many more events like this.”


Lord Chris Homes, GDI Hub Chair said:

“I’m absolutely delighted at the outstanding success of our first GDI Hub Summit. It was a complete sell out for two days of superb presentations from an incredible range of speakers including academics, Government ministers, broadcasters, tech companies large and small (and more). I am completely inspired by the potential for innovation through collaboration which is at the core of the GDI Hub Mission, with disabled people leading the way and completely involved at every stage.”


Dr Catherine Holloway (on behalf of UCL) and Victoria Austin (on behalf of LLDC),

GDI Hub Directors said:

“When we started the Hub less than a year ago we could never have imagined the momentum that has gathered from local disabled people to academics, cultural and corporate partners and institutions such as the WHO and ICRC. This truly feels like the start of a global movement to embed innovation in every aspect of disability thinking from technology design to policy.


Michael Vermeersh, Digital Inclusion Lead at Microsoft said:

“The excitement I felt when attending the Disability Summit was because I had never been in a room of people from such a diverse background, all leaders in their fields, who wanted to work towards a common vision and had great ideas of the next steps needed to realise this. We at Microsoft are delighted to be a part of this emerging movement and look forward to working with GDI team and the Red Cross on their next endeavour with the Enable Makeathon 2 in December”.