12th October 2016
Last week my Tuesday started with a very unusual commute as I boarded a boat on the Thames to cross to the Queens Eyot near Maidenhead for Virgin Media Business’s inaugural Powering Possibility event.
The objective of the day was for Virgin Media Businesses customers, such as IBM and Logicalis, to collaboratively come together to tackle some of the digital challenges Scope, our national charity partner, and its beneficiaries face. This challenge was called Battle of the Brains.
The day kicked off with Katie Buchanan, our Head of Sustainability, setting the scene for the day by outlining the Digital for Good part of our sustainability strategy, which is focused on transforming lives and boosting business through digital. Che Smith from Think FortyTwo then explained the plan for the day and announced the digital challenges that could help to transform the lives of disabled people.
The 30 attendees were divided into teams and choose one of five topics to tackle; education, retail, data analytics, banking or digital inclusion. Each one of these topics presents a number of challenges for disabled people. For example in retail, 54% of disabled people regularly struggle to access a shop, 23% restaurants and bars and 17% struggle to access cinemas*.
The teams had 90 minutes to discuss their topic and develop a digital solution to present back to our judging panel. Rotating around the teams I saw the cogs of innovation churning ever faster as Mark Fulsham, Scope's Chief Digital Officer, walked the room offering snippets of insight and real examples of digital need across Scope’s portfolio. Each team came up with some brilliant ideas to present back as solutions to the challenges and the judges had a tough call on their hands but the final winners were:
Scope social impact award – Team education. The solution was to develop real time participation in classes through TV and connectivity. This would enable remote learning for disabled students who miss a lot of school as a result of medical or support appointments. By bringing the classroom through the TV the solution not only engages the child but the family too. The future of this solution is to adopt a global spin by offering real time classes from other schools across the globe giving the disabled person the experience new learning environments.
Overall winner – Team data and analytics. The challenge facing this team was that Scope needs better data to bring better engagement amongst service users and make better decisions. The solution the team came up with was an avatar (a human like visual) that consolidates existing data from various sources to become a hub of disability knowledge. The result is an information point with a slightly more human feel that a website, that can give the right answer using the most up to date information enabling the person to make an informed decision on care/finance/shopping/mobility etc. This solution won because the judges believed it could be started tomorrow, it was scalable and could easily hit the ground running as a great example of digital for good.
The day was a great success and we are now working with Scope to explore the possibility of taking the winning solution through to product development. Stay tuned to find out more! *Disabled Access Day 2015