What Does Inclusive Digital Innovation Look Like?

Multi-dimensional business opportunities can be created through digital innovation. The people who are involved determine the value and how they make them. An inability to bring together diverse perspectives and experiences can impact the kind of digital innovation that is developed. It can also affect the diversity of the products or services that are created. There are many mistakes in digital innovation. These could be avoided by including more variety concerning gender and age, race, gender, nationality, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and disability. Recent examples of AI-enabled speech recognize that has difficulty identifying female voices. Facial recognition techniques that have problems with darker skin colors.

This understanding is crucial to prevent future mistakes in digital innovation. It includes underrepresented and underserved communities concerning development, deployment, management, usage, impact, and digital systems, technologies, and products. However, this requires a greater awareness of diversity as it relates to digital technology.

A variety of topics has addressed inclusion issues in information systems research. Gender issues address the obstacles and biases that affect women in IT. Gender issues deal with the impact of the Internet haves and have nots, more commonly known as the “digital divide.” Cultural topics focus on how digital technology enables societal participation. It is becoming increasingly common to develop digital products accessible to all abilities, including sensory, cognitive, and physical.

How can digitally-based products or services cause inclusion issues we may not be aware of?

Ariella Lehrer is the CEO of Legacy Games in the U.S. She understands diversity and inclusion within her industry. Her company focuses exclusively on women aged 40 and older who are interested in casual gaming. Legacy Games, the primary distributor of simple gaming products to Walmart, continues to produce physical gaming products via CD-ROMs.

“The move to streaming and mobile has made CD-ROMs a more popular product than ever. Our customers still enjoy puzzle games on computers for many reasons. Some people still don’t own a smartphone.

In our research about the Covid-19 pandemic, we were keen to find out what other people are doing that aren’t being done and how they could be included in digital innovation.

There were several hackathons worldwide that took place when the Covid-19 lockdowns began in March/April last year. These hackathons focused on developing ideas for Covid-19 solutions to healthcare, mobility, and education. Due to lockdown restrictions, hackathons were conducted online and required participants, often strangers, to log on to create teams of 5-10 people who have diverse knowledge and skills.

The great success of these online hackathons was the vast number of people who participated. Research has shown that large groups of diverse people are more effective than a small group of experts. The number of participants in physical hackathons is limited because of geographical limitations. However, thousands of people participated in the Covid-19 online hackathons. These participants included students, retired workers, parents, and employees.

People from all walks of life have several digital skills and knowledge. Individuals were unable to use specific online collaboration tools because they did not know how to. Different backgrounds bring with them other routines. This is where hackathons take place often. However, parents also have obligations. Some participants had to leave to care for their kids or prepare meals for the family.

Covid-19 hackathons show how diverse participants can generate innovative ideas. However, it is vital to ensure everyone has the opportunity to participate in today’s digital world. Digital inclusion can be improved by being intentional about it.

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Samatha Vale
Samatha a senior writer for HC's entertainment team. She is an entreprenuer, mother and an excellent writer. She's also an avid reader, music enthusiast and all around inquisitive person - which is just a nice way of saying she's nosy.

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