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May 28, 2019

It’s the time of year where we South Floridians become all too familiar with heat and humidity.  Despite the beauty, our summers are best characterized as hot and sticky. I suppose it’s a fair trade off for the perfect weather we experience during the winter. 

Apparently temperature variants also effect our productivity in the workplace. (oh, so blasting the AC at 65 degrees has an effect?!?). 

A recent USC study concluded that office temperatures impact men and women differently. Specifically, women performed better on math and verbal tasks at higher temperatures, while the opposite was true for men; who performed better when at lower temperatures. 

While I have zero interest in traversing new territory in the never-ending battle of the sexes, the USC study prompted the inquiry: how are we thinking about adaptive solutions within our organizations and in everyday life?

So this week, in lieu of my usual philosophical musings, I’m highlighting a few assistive solutions and their champions in hopes of sparking a real, action-oriented dialogue around adaptive technology.

Talk Fast, Read Slow

Liz Jackson, aka the girl-with-the-purple-cane, is the founder of Disabled List, a disability self advocacy organization that is creating pathways into design for disabled people.  I’m super inspired by her latest project: Thisten.

It’s an app that allows real-time conversations to become more accessible and inclusive for the 466M+ people globally, who are part of the D/Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities. 

As an organization, VCM hosts around 750 #ThursdayGathering educational sessions every year. Few, if any, are accessible to folks with hearing impairment.  That’s a total F = failure.  So we’re crowd sourcing how best to improve our grade by asking: what adaptive solutions do you recommend we implement? 

TechX

Technology has the power to bridge gaps in access to a meaningful community experience.  From Japan’s tactile sidewalk strips to our friends at Microsoft’s AI for Accessibility iniative, who are empowering disability work through grants, investments of technology, and expertise.  Locally, the Woody Foundation offers collection of assistive devices for people with limited hand functioning.  A #ThursdayGathering regular, the organization’s namesake, Woody Beckham shares his story:

What we can learn from these advocates for equity in design is that you don’t know what you don’t know.   So internally, we’re performing an accessibility audit.  Are you?

Beach, Please

It normally rains on Memorial Day weekend, but not this year!  For folks with physical limitations, enjoying South Florida’s beautiful beaches proves more of an obstacle than an opportunity.  Sabrina’s Adaptive Beach Day offers a unique solution to putting lives back in motion, starting with Miami Beach. Every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month, volunteers lay out the “blue carpet” for a VIP  oceanside experience.

We believe in the power of play and that extends to bridging our knowledge gap about the accessibility of experiences. To learn more, our #VCMAmbassadors will be out on a special Sunday this quarter, so join our crew to be part of the fun. Finally, as the last #ThursdayGathering under our monthly theme “overlooked and underestimated,” don’t forget to join us this week for an experiential showcase of assistive technology.

Indeed, innovators are the most forward thinking enablers of adaptive experiences. Why? Because we’re obsessed with solutions that improve the human condition. 

Cheers,

Initials of Leigh-Ann Buchanan, Executive Director of Venture Cafe Miami

Venture Cafe Miami

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