CNIB National Braille Conference 2014

CNIB National Braille Conference 2014

Slide 1 – Speaker Presentation

Event: 2014 CNIB National Braille Conference – BRAILLE +
Host: CNIB Braille+ – Toronto
Date: October 30-31, 2014
Location: Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Toronto – 475 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4Y 1X7
Contact: Request Conference Information
Topic: Digital Intelligence And The Social Conscience – Bridging The Digital Mind-set
Abstract: Exploring the emerging global economy and the impact on disabled Canadians. Digital communications and the power of knowledge is shifting the balance of society. From corporate control to crowd sourcing influence, we are changing the world and the role we each play. What is the future of education and employment for blind, low vision, and deaf-blind Canadians? Are we in control of our destiny or subject to fate?

  1. A greater understanding of technology and the influences that shape it.
  2. A greater appreciation for the hidden talents, and the forces that shape our lives.
  3. The global trends we need to be aware of, and the motivation we need in shaping our own destiny.

Slide 2 – Introduction

Business and Educational Services in Technology
BEST A11y Consulting

An Accessibility IT Specialist helping organizations to increase employee productivity and market growth.

E-mail Contact

Slide 3 – Content

  1. Objective
  2. Purpose
  3. Impact
  4. Progress
  5. Trends
  6. People Trends
  7. Technology Trends
  8. Collaboration Trends
  9. Innovation Trends
  10. Business Trends
  11. Future Trends
  12. Observation
  13. Conclusion
  14. Action (Business)
  15. Action (Community)
  16. Evidence (Reports)
  17. Evidence (Education)
  18. Evidence (Business)

Slide 4 – Objective

    Learning Objectives:
  1. A greater level of understanding in the business need for flexibility and community engagement. sustainable growth in revenue, return on investment, and profitability is not just about legal compliance.
  2. A greater appreciation for product and service standards. A competitive advantage is built upon talent and market growth.
  3. Motivated to embrace change, and create a business model that enables people. Innovation and collaboration is at the intersection where humans and machines connect.

Slide 5 – Purpose

To create a more inclusive society through Education, Awareness, and Advocacy, that will result in greater equal employment opportunities for blind, low vision, and deaf-blind Canadians.

  • Education: Public, Business community, CNIB comunity
  • Awareness: Myths, Abilities, Technology
  • Advocacy: Partnerships, Collaboration, Innovation

Slide 6 – Impact

    Performance factors (Measuring the growth and maturity of progress):
  1. Who? Improvement in quality of life for Employees (Unleashing hidden talent by enabling people, and Consumers (Expanding market growth opportunities by enabling consumers).
  2. What? Increased community collaboration between Private and non-profit sectors, and Non-profit sector and government.
  3. How? Innovative technologies are closing the digital gap between Mainstream and adaptive products, and Attitudes and myths.

Slide 7 – Progress

We are moving toward a global digital economy by seamlessly integrating machines and people:

  • Machines connected together through a network, provide big data analytics and artificial intelligence, for economic growth, and
  • People connecting together through a vast network, are closing the gap in cultural differences and levels of education.

How is your organization preparing to compete in a rapidly changing world of compliance standards and inclusion best practices? Comparing past events and current activities will provide a greater understanding for future global economic trends and changing societal expectations.

Slide 8 – Trends

  • People: How have people changed in the past century?
  • Technology: How has technology changed in the past century?
  • Collaboration: How has integration and partnerships changed in the past century?
  • Innovation: How have processes and behaviour changed in the past century?
  • Business: How have work strategies changed in the past century?

Slide 9 – People Trends

    Shift in attitudes and expecgtations:
  • In the 1960’s we measured people ability by their IQ, intelligence.
  • In the 1970’s the women’s movement promoted EQ, emotional ability to build relationships and value people.
  • In the 1980’s a shrinking world (increased air travel and telecommunications) forced us to think SQ, social ability to understand and accept people of differing values and perspectives.
  • In the 1990’s governments legislated standards and policies for PQ, political correctness in speech and behaviour.
  • In the past decayed, we shifted toward Cultural Intelligence (CQ), engaging and interacting with people around the world.
  • This decade may be known as the Digital Intelligence era (DQ), the merging of people and machines.

Slide 10 – Technology Trends

    Sshift in technology tools:
  • In the 1970’s disabled people were beginning to use GPS, OCR, voice recognition, and internet technologies.
  • In the latter half of the 1900’s assistive technologies were stand alone devices.
  • In the latter half of the 1900’s digital communications was primarily character based.
  • In the past decade Graphicl User Interfaces (GUI) were increasingly in use, creating new barriers for disabled people.
  • In the past decade assistive technology support began appearing in mainstream products.
  • We now see a movement toward minaturization, cloud sourcing, and wireless devices.
  • We now see an increasing network of connecting machines.

Slide 11 – Collaboration Trends

    shift from proprietary ownership to open source:
  • In the latter half of the 1900’s we saw a separation of private research and public research.
  • In the 1900’s assistive technology research was a nich market that lead innovation.
  • In the 1900’s assistive technology was extremely expensive.
  • IN the 1900’s there was a lot of public funding for nonprofit organizations.
  • We now see greater innovation collaboration between private and public sectors.
  • We now see a growing acceptance of global standards and regulations.
  • Governments around the world are implementing accessibility legislation.
  • We now see a greater level of acceptance and involvement of the disabled community.
  • We now see a shift in power for innovation from corporate to grassroots.
  • We now see a growing acceptance of diversity and inclusion best practices in the corporate workplace.

Slide 12 – Innovation Trends

    Shift in innovation from personalized tools to cloud based tools:
  • In the 1900’s products were designed for a specific use without user design input.
  • In the 1900’s products and accessories were proprietary.
  • Social media is connecting people in real time.
  • Crowd sourcing on cloud clusters are engaging people around the world.
  • Increasingly, assistive technology is being integrated into mainstream products and services.
  • Manufacturers and communication systems are implementing standard protocol interfaces.
  • There is a growing acceptance for universal user experience design.

Slide 13 – Business Trends

    Shift in economic growth and business opportunities:
  • StatsCan says there is a huge skills gap between the demand for job talent and the qualified Canadian worker.
  • StatsCan says the quality of life for disabled Canadians has not improved over the past decade.
  • Employment reports show a persistently high unemployment rate for disabled Canadians.
  • Business reports show 1 out of 5 working Canadians live with a mental health issue.
  • the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) estimates that the economic cost to Canada is at least $50 billion (2.8% GDP) per year in lost productivity, due to mental health issues.
  • Since 2009 work related mental health issues doubled, reducing productivity due to absenteeism, presenteeism, and turnover.
  • Inaccessible products and services restrict market growth.
  • There is an increase in organized diversity groups within large corporations.
  • Disabled employees have limited career training opportunities.
  • People with disabilities are largely excluded from social networking.
  • Recent HEQCO reports show that only 3 out of 5 employed Canadians have engaged in educational activities.
  • Economic growth within Canada is shifting toward entrepreneur and small business ventures.
  • Business analysis reports show a large increase of innovative business start-ups within Ontario.
  • Business analysis reports show that large successful companies (like Nortel and Blockbuster) have failed due to cultural arrogance and system blindness.

Slide 14 – Future Trends

  1. Technology:
    We are crossing a new frontier in the evolution of computing and entering the era of cognitive systems. scientists and engineers around the world are pushing the boundaries of science and technology to create machines that sense, learn, reason, and interact with people in new ways to provide insight and advice. The speed at which smart wareables (like smart watches, smart bracelets, smart shoes) are being upgraded threatens to outpace established smartphone and tablet markets. It is estimated that the global wearable technology market will attain a value of $5.26 billion in 2014. Ontario is a recognized global leader in wareable innovations.
  2. People:
    The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is the first international human rights treaty to place an obligation on States Parties to focus on mechanisms for monitoring (Article 33-2). The 76 ratifying countries represent 72 percent of the world population and 81 percent of the total population of ratifying countries. The CRPD progress report offers a unique benchmarking tool that collects data on country laws, policies, and programs pertaining to accessible and assistive Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) around the globe. Ontario is a recognized global leader in establishing inclusive society standards (AODA).

Slide 15 – Observation

  1. Innovation:
    The trend data shows us that the technology is accelerating faster than our ability to put it to use. This innovation is being driven by consumer demand, and organizations are struggling to maintain IT infrastructure stability. This is having a profound impact on the workplace. A paradigm shift in society, driven by miniaturization, cloud sourcing, and wireless mobile devices, is placing greater power in the hands of consumers. However, the ability to use new emerging technologies is currently at the heart of social inclusion, with those excluded being left out of many work, entertainment, communication, healthcare and social benefits.
  2. Business:
    The rules of business are changing at exponential rates. The very moats, capabilities, and processes that created leadership positions in the last century are diminishing in relevance or being neutralized altogether, making way for a new set of competitive forces. And as we move from an industrial to information economy, every company will need to move and innovate at the speed of their competitors.

Slide 16 – Conclusions

It appears that as we approach the intersection of people and machines, the rapid change in society is having an impact on the way we interact with one another and how we conduct daily life tasks. Progress is influenced by two societal barriers, which are not unique to people with disabilities.

  1. Technology fatigue in the workplace impact employee decisions and career choices.
  2. The business case for disability is based on legal compliance or best practices.
  3. Employees with a disability are a business asset or liability.
  4. AODA enforcement is a business burden or a growth strategy.
  5. The growing acceptance of universal design and accessibility strategies introduce operational challenges or business opportunities.
  6. Employee resource groups and community involvement has increased collaboration or instability.
  7. Expectations based on unreasonable desires or misleading information effects trusting relationships.
  8. Employee discontentment and satisfaction effect productivity and workplace health.
  1. For the most part accommodation programs are not effective.
  2. Self employed entrepreneurs have limited accommodations support.
  3. Digital connectivity has improved knowledge and engagement for all.
  4. The use of social media for the most part excludes blind people.
  5. Virtual education and e-commerce has largely excluded blind people.
  6. Innovation Research, for health and fitness, does not reach the blind population until it is in the mainstream.
  7. Cost and complexities of emerging technologies have marginalized at risk groups.
  8. Standards and regulations have expanded access to products and services.
  9. Organizations are struggling to develop good accessibility governance models.
  10. Improved processes for accountability and responsibility is needed for greater employee and customer relations.

Slide 17 – Action (Business)

  • Develop a Genuine Progress Index (GPI) to measure satisfaction and growth.
  • Define a baseline of standards and expectations to guide progress.
  • Create an interactive communications process to engage all employees in decision making.
  • Evaluate productivity for technology fatigue, career opportunities, and social engagement.
  • Identify attitude and systemic barriers that impeed market growth.
  • Build trusting relationships through collaboration and innovation.
  • Design best practices that clearly define roles of responsibility and accountability.

Slide 18 – Action (Community)

It is estimated that less than 20% registered CNIB clients are totally blind, and only 10% are braille users, and less than 1% of those are professionally employed.
It is estimated that less than 23% working age clients are employed, and of that less than 1% are employed in their chosen profession and utilizing their university training.

  • BeBot’s Bad Day – YouTube
  • Get emerging technologies into the hands of the blind community as soon as possible.
  • Educate Diversity/Accommodation leads on workplace technology solutions.
  • Train/mentor blind professionals in the use of workplace technology tools.
  • Make WCAG accessible website screen reader usable.
  • Shift power into the hands of the blind community.

Slide 19 – Evidence (Reports)

Special report: America’s Best Companies to Work for in 2014

  • Good office culture
  • Work-life balance
  • Learning or training opportunities
  • Career development
  • Good benefits package

DiversityInc report: Top 10 Companies for People With Disabilities in 2014

  • Whether the company’s website is inviting to job applicants, vendors and customers/clients with disabilities
  • Whether the company’s recruitment process is inclusive of people with disabilities, including online applications
  • Whether the company has a reasonable accommodation or job-aids process
  • Whether the company tracks the number of people with disabilities in the workforce, including voluntary disclosure
  • The role of an employee resource group for people with disabilities in creating an inclusive workplace
  • Whether alternative work arrangements are available, including telecommuting and alternative career track options

Canadian Business SenseAbility (CBSA) Canada Economic Action Plan

    quantifiable benefits to employing people with disabilities:
  • Reduced turnover, health and safety costs
  • Increased Consumer goodwill
  • Low or no cost for accommodation
  • Capital markets outperformance

Slide 20 – Evidence (Education)

Why does the unemployment rate for highly skilled disabled people continue to grow, and why does the increasing need for qualified skilled workers in Canada continue to grow? We know that getting a good job, and sustaining a successful career, correlate with one’s level of educational attainment.

The recent HEQCO (Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario) Access to Education and Training report found that higher levels of continuing education disengagement are observed for visible minorities, aboriginals, respondents identifying a disability, and immigrants. With regard to work environments, higher levels of engagement are observed for workers in unionized jobs, and employees of larger firms. The report revealed that workers in occupations unique to primary industry, processing, manufacturing and utilities were the least engaged in job related education and training. Employment in the private sector was also associated with higher probabilities of disengagement compared to employment in the public sector.

  • A new study by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO), October 28, 2014 examines several types of experiential education and finds that programs that connect students directly with community organizations to work on real-life projects result in stronger engagement and better outcomes. By blending theory and practice, it is believed that experiential education helps students develop valuable skills that are directly applicable to careers in their field.
  • Productivity Implications of a Shift to Competency Based Education (CBE) The borders between CBE and traditional programs are dissolving, the report says, and institutions could implement some features of CBE without introducing new academic delivery structures. Although variously defined, CBE is generally structured around self-paced study where progression is determined not by credit hours but by the student.
  • Tom Turpin, president of Randstad Canada, Canada’s largest staffing, recruitment and HR services provider, Posted in the Financial Post, on March 12 2014, Canada needs a mindset shift to fix the skills gap. As boomers transition into retirement the employment skills gap continues to widen because the younger generation is not being trained with the new skills required in a digital world. Canada risks falling behind and losing its competitive edge globally, having a direct long-term effect on Canada’s economy, as this trend continues. A shift in perception is critical: it must begin with families and educators and include governments and organizations. Without it, the country runs the risk of being part of a cycle in which the skills gaps are never filled. Anything less than this will result in a lack of workers needed to drive the economy and maintain the infrastructure that supports every generation.

Slide 21 – Evidence (Business)

Business analyst reports show that a hierarchy of management is expensive in todays digital age. the typical management structure increases the risks of large calamitous decisions, because the most powerful managers are the ones furthest from the front line, and most dangerous when the decision-makers power is uncontestable. A multi-level management structure means more approval layers and slower responses, and that impedes decision-making. The advent of globalization, the Internet, and social media has changed the way we do business, and the result on management-driven hierarchical bureaucracies is devastating. Management should be a process that encourages employee engagement. An organization must be built upon the quality and passion of the people within it.

Business studies of why large companies, like Nortel Telecoms and Block Buster, have failed over the past ten years show two key factors: A Culture of arrogance and Systems Blindness. Management was unwilling to accept advice and adopt change in best practice strategies for the emerging digital age. Management power struggles shutdown effective communication processes between business units, and accountability was unchallenged. More than 70% of private organizations are reported to be in violation of the AODA, and have not been challenged by the Ontario government. Provincial ministries and obligated sectors continue to plan, select, permit and fund inaccessible barriers despite the Charter of Rights, Ontario Human Rights Code, the AODA, and common decency and sound planning.

The total cost from mental health problems and illnesses to the Canadian economy is significant. In 2011 the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) study reported that the economic cost to Canada is at least $50 billion per year. This represents 2.8% of Canada’s 2011 gross domestic product. It cost business more than $6 billion in lost productivity (from absenteeism, presenteeism, and turnover) in 2011. In any given year, one in five people in Canada experiences a mental health problem or illness and it affects almost everyone in some way. The report shows that the impact of mental health problems and illnesses is especially felt in workplaces and among working aged people. About 21.4% of the working population in Canada currently experience mental health problems and illnesses, which can affect their productivity. Mental health problems and illnesses account for approximately 30% of short and long term disability claims and are rated one of the top three drivers of such claims by more than 80% of Canadian employers.

According to a 2013 Morneau Shepell study conducted in conjunction with Queen’s University, workplace stress levels in Canada have doubled since 2009, and financial stress has tripled. Furthermore, mental health issues accounted for one out of the four inquiries to the company’s employee assistance program (EAP) services. Employers need to focus on the relationship between mental health and productivity moving forward. More and more employers are facing employees that are on the job but, because of illness or other non-health-related issues, are not very productive. This issue is called presenteeism. Presenteeism is a productivity and performance related issue that is receiving increased attention and concerns from employers.

According to Statistics Canada, the average days absenting per employee per year is 7.5 days or 3% of salary. Studies of some chronic conditions and health risk factors found that lost productivity from presenteeism was 7.5 times greater than productivity loss from absenteeism. For some stress related health problems such as heart disease, hypertension, migraines, and neck or back pain, the ratio increased 15 times greater.

  • Creating Culture with a pervasive Ethical Mindset, By Sreekumar Menon, October 2014 recent research has proved that in order to create a culture with a pervasive ethical mindset, corporations must instill the following important behaviors: Commitment, Consistency, Credibility, Communication.
  • The Rise (and Likely Fall) of the Talent Economy by Roger L. Martin, Harvard Business Review, October 2014
    The Rise of the Talent Economy shows that creative positions accounted for a mere 16% of all jobs in 1960 (having grown by only three percentage points over the previous 50 years). That proportion doubled over the next 50 years, reaching 33% by 2010. By 2013 more than half the top 50 companies were talent based, including three of the four biggest: Apple, Microsoft, and Google. Over the past 50 years the U.S. economy has shifted decisively from financing the exploitation of natural resources to making the most of human talent.
  • Give Your Organization a Work-Life Vision By Monique Valcour, Harvard Business Review, September 1, 2014
    More and more companies are acknowledging the importance of work-life balance, at least as far as official policy goes. So why doesn’t it feel like we've made that much progress? Because, unfortunately, policies aren't worth much in the absence of supporting culture.
  • How To Stop Fear Of Failure, Putting Your Business And Social Ambitions On Hold by Hayley Summers, a life coach,, September 19, 2014
    In the world of business, fear is practically a currency. Most of us would pay a high price to avoid having to confront our darkest and most deeply held fears, but our competitors rarely give us the option to do so.
  • The Crushing Similarities Between Family And Business Dysfunction By Kathy Caprino, Forbes Magazine, August 19, 2014
    As a corporate VP turned therapist and career coach, I've spent years dissecting my own life: exploring my childhood, my development to adulthood, and the key themes that have followed me into my professional life. I have always suspected – then came to realize with great clarity — that our professional identities and behavior simply cannot be divorced from who we are as whole persons.
  • Culture of arrogance felled telecom giant Nortel, study finds By JANET MCFARLAND, The Globe and Mail, March 17 2014
  • Systems Blindness: The Illusion of Understanding By Daniel Goleman, Author of FOCUS: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, October 27 2013
  • Inaccessible, Dangerous and Deadly By gerald parker, Executive Director of the Institute of Canadian Justice and long time accessibility expert, June 6 2014