Tell us about the social impact of your innovation. Please include both numbers and stories as evidence of this impact
We launched our beta platform end of October 2009 and currently Inclusive Planet connects around 3700 print-impaired persons from 75 countries. These 3700 persons have shared 20,000+ files of accessible content and over 4000+ conversations. We hope to connect over 10,000 people by December 31, 2010 and over half a million by December 31, 2011.
The specific impact will be as follows:
1. Greater pool of educational, leisure and work related content (books, articles, magazines, journals, blogs and conversations) for the print-impaired worldwide positively impacting education, skilling and employment amongst the print-impaired, as well increased reading amongst the print-impaired;
2. Increased socialisation amongst the print-impaired leading to relationships, community building and more complete individual development;
3. The community building will lead to fuller citizenship and lobbying and, equally importantly, the discovery of the print-impaired as a market for products and services;
4. Large pool of lifestyle content (living, city guides, menu cards, travel information etc.) will lead to higher lifestyle standard amongst the print-impaired;
Here are links to user stories about the impact of Inclusive Planet - not enough space to paste here:
The Planet is adding value - http://www.inclusiveplanet.com/en/channelpost/485458
My home page - http://www.inclusiveplanet.com/en/channelpost/484651
Planet is truly inclusive - http://www.inclusiveplanet.com/en/channelpost/485199
Problem: Describe the primary problem(s) that your innovation is addressing
In order to consume / access content print-impaired person need to access it in certain special formats - braille, large format, machine audio, human voice audio etc.) Most content (books, articles, magazines, journals, websites, blogs etc.) is thus inaccessible to the print-impaired. It is estimated that only 1-2% of the world's content is accessible. The effect of this shortage is huge because content is the basis of almost of life experience - education, work, travel, socialisation etc.
There are other organisations who seek to solve the problem by involving the government, publishers and large sums of money with the goal of convincing publishers to release content in accessible formats. The effect of this is to incrementally increase the amount of accessible content. Additionally more and more websites are becoming accessible, which is again incrementally increasing the amount of accessible content available. The challenge is meeting the real lifestyle-related, work-related and study-related content and interaction / socialisation needs of the print-impaired.
Our project seeks to tackle this problem by applying the incredible collaborative power of the internet to this problem. Each print-impaired person is incredible resource, they have to be, and they've created a pool of resources (content and ideas) for themselves. A large part of this can be digitally shared. Hence, the time is right for a social network that enables this collaboration in a transformative way. This can potentially solve a number of problems that the print-impaired face.
Actions: Describe the steps that you are taking to make your innovation a success. Include a description of the business model. What might prevent that success?
Here are the steps we are taking:
1. Working closely the first few thousand print-impaired to sharpen our value proposition i.e. the transformative impact of connecting, sharing and collaborating.
2. Connecting and engaging other high-impact organisations around the world that work with the print-impaired and staying open to various models of collaboration.
3. We recognise the fact that localisation is big i.e. people want the platform in their local language and they want an early lot of content and conversation to attract them to adopting the platform. Thus offering local languages and early seed content, mostly in partnership with the kind of organisations listed in point 2, is critical.
4. We're identifying powerful stakeholders in the accessibility world (Google, IBM etc.) and taking the first steps to demonstrate the calibre of our early work so as to get them to support us strategically (marketing, accessible content (read Google Books!) and so on.
5. Our biggest focus area is listening hard to the early community and responding accordingly. That's the mantra of community formation and we want to validate our value propositions carefully.
Our monetisation premise is that Inclusive Planet will become the best access route for companies providing products and services relevant to the print impaired. This could range from technology, devices to learning content, tailored travel services, employment information etc. In Inclusiveplanet.com these companies will find the best partner to access print-impaired consumers. Furthermore we could move up the value chain by providing certain paid services such as providing an accessible learning management system, an employment platform, a relationship platform etc. Hence ours is an advertising + paid services model.
In order for the business model to succeed we need to achieve scale. Without scale our access route would not be attractive enough for companies wishing to sell / market to the print-impaired. Also, without scale the numbers of potential consumers of paid services would be insufficient.
Factors that may prevent success:
1. Sharing and collaboration comes about as a result of trust and comfort. Building that in the print-impaired community will require extensive work on community formation including a tremendous degree of sensitivity to community psychology. We have to bring the best brains across the world to the table to take this on.
2. There is no existing global print-impaired community offline. Hence this is not a case of shifting a community from offline to online. It's about building a community. This makes the task more challenging (yet more rewarding) and costlier because standard viral strategies don't work quite the same way.
Results: Describe the expected results of these actions over the next three years. Please address each year separately, if possible
Year 1 - till March 31 2011:
1. We want to connect around 15000 members worldwide with strong English, Spanish and Turkish bases.
2. We want to tie up with at least 4-5 strong international partners
3. We want to reach a critical mass in at least one region - in order to pilot at least one of our monetisation plans
Year 2 - till March 31 2012:
1. We want to connect 600,000+ members worldwide with a strong presence in 5-6 languages
2. We want to have at least 6-8 strong international partners
3. We want to break-even in at least one region
4. We want to move up a value chain in at least one area - relationships, learning, employment, travel etc.
Year 3 - till March 31 2013:
1. We want to have 2 million + members worldwide with a strong presence in 8-10 languages
2. We want to have at least 10-12 strong international partners
3. We want to distribute 10% of our stock amongst the member community
4. We want to break even as an organisation
5. We want to have a strong mobile presence in countries that have poor computer internet penetration
If your innovation seeks to impact public policy, how?
There are two facets here: firstly, direct policy work that Inclusive Planet is doing and secondly, the impact that inclusiveplanet.com will have on policy.
Policy advocacy that Inclusive Planet's policy arm does: It is inclusiveplanet.com that is the entry to this competition but our organisation Inclusive Planet is leading India centric efforts to incorporation exceptions for the print-impaired in Indian copyright law. Our work has been recognised by the World Blind Union as well and we will be present at the meetings in Geneva between May 26-28.
Policy impact of inclusiveplanet.com: Policy advocacy amongst the print-impaired is poor because there IS NO print-impaired community. Naturally community formation as a result of inclusiveplanet.com would have a transformational impact on this because it would allow problems to be discussed and strategies to be evolved at a community level, and not just drawing national inputs but international inputs. A small example of an already successful public initiative on inclusiveplanet.com is that of the South African National Commission for the Blind to solicit views on its braille voting template - we can share more info on this.