Advancing Economic Inclusion Through Innovative Digital Solutions

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Advancing Economic Inclusion Through Innovative Digital Solutions

by Chris Wellise, Director of Strategic Initiatives for HPE Living Progress
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Advancing #economicinclusion through innovative digital solutions @HPE_LivingProg #LivingProgress Challenge

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Friday, June 24, 2016 - 9:05am

How can educators unlock the potential of open education resources on the web? How can a company become more accessible to the disabled? Where do you find employment opportunities for marginalized people with basic skills? How can you help struggling students to graduate?

These vital questions are being addressed by four winners of the proposal phase of the Living Progress Challenge. In part two of this five-part series I shared ideas ranging from helping small-hold farmers improve food production to helping new mothers get better access to healthcare for their newborns. Today, I want to share four more inspiring ideas that bridge the digital divide by improving access to education and building more inclusive employment opportunities.

I’m also pleased to share these proposals because one was submitted by a fellow HPE employee, Raul Elizondo. An exciting aspect of this crowdsourcing challenge is that it was completely open to everyone. As a result, we received ideas and proposals from both inside and outside our company, which has been incredibly inspiring for me, personally, and for HPE at large.

Dynamic Accessibility Maturity Model
Submitted by the Business Disability Forum

Many businesses are eager to become “disability-smart”. They want to both hire disabled employees and make their products and services more accessible. But often they don’t know where to start.

The Accessibility Maturity Model (AMM) aims to set them on the right path. Designed by the Business Disability Forum’s Technology Taskforce, the AMM is an online tool that allows businesses to self-assess their performance on accessibility. It tracks things such as whether disability awareness training is in place for managers and front line staff members; if recruitment channels are accessible; if a disability strategy is in place within the organization, and more.

Currently the AMM is a one dimensional tool that allows users to input their scores and provides them with a report. The Business Disability Forum’s Living Progress Challenge proposal will dramatically upgrade the tool’s functionality. It will provide best practice guidance, offer customized resources and enable users to compare their scores against other businesses in their sectors. It will also enable them to track their scores over time and determine where they are making progress and where there is opportunity for improvement.

This dynamic tool will help ensure that businesses can embed accessibility across their organizations, allowing them to create a more inclusive workforce.

Educational Pinboard for Teachers and Learners
Submitted by Open Education Consortium

One of the marvels of the Internet is the abundance of open education resources that make it possible for people to gain access to world-class education for free. Open Education strives to make education accessible to everyone by making available, via the Internet, educational materials and resources that have few or no copyright restrictions and can be re-used, copied and modified legally, at no cost. 

There are tens of thousands of open education resources currently available that have been authored by faculty from leading educational institutions around the world. But the full potential of open education has yet to be unlocked. One of the key reasons is due to the difficulties educators face in finding, modifying and integrating these materials into learning management systems.

The Educational Pinboard is a concept for a simple interface that would enable educators to create online “pinboards” where they could collect and organize open education resources; share them with other educators; customize their content to fit the needs of their students, and more. The tool will include a comment feature to enable users to make notes on their impressions of the resource, and how it could be used or modified to make it more relevant for students.

The goal is to expand access, facilitate collaboration and customization, and make it easy to create collections of high quality educational resources so educators can deliver rich educational experiences to their students.

Machine Learning Advancements for Impact Social Work
Submitted by Samasource

Samasource combats poverty by providing digital work to marginalized women and youth in impoverished regions such as East Africa, Haiti and India. Since 2008, it has provided work to more than 7,000 people. When you include their dependents, that's more than 30,000 people moved out of poverty.

One of the areas Samasource specializes in is providing machine learning data services, such as tagging and annotating images, to global companies. An example of this in action—analyzing aerial footage of an African national park to identify both the number of elephants and any potential poachers.

Samasource’s Living Progress Challenge concept will leverage and customize the predictive analysis and image recognition capabilities of HPE’s Haven OnDemand APIs. This will enable Samasource to offer more sophisticated services to clients—a vital factor as it regularly competes against well established, for-profit companies. When deployed, the project will enable Samasource to scale its services, expand its clientele, and help lift more of the world’s most disadvantaged out of poverty.

Mentor ME
Submitted by: Raul Elizondo and team (HPE employees), Pupilo, Tec Milenio University, and Enrique Diaz de Leon University

Millions of students around the world struggle to complete high school. The help of an engaged adult mentor can often be the key to ensuring a young person isn’t left behind. The Mentor ME concept is a mobile app that aims to increase access to volunteer mentors for students and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of mentorship programs.

Using a user-friendly gaming approach, students go on a a journey to identify and connect with their perfect mentor. Matches between mentors and mentees will be made based on a wide range of factors including language, skills, interests, geography and more. The platform will enable progress to be tracked and will provide students with both metrics and a scorecard so they can track their progress.

Connected to the cloud, Mentor ME will store, analyze and retrieve information and will use API’s to connect to services such as social networks, calendars, maps and Skype for virtual collaboration.

More to come 
These are just four of the inspiring and innovative proposals we received, all focused on using the power of technology to improve lives. Come back to this five-part blog series to learn more about all our proposal phase winners.

Our final winners will be chosen August 3, 2016, at a live event in New York—stay tuned!

Follow our progress on Twitter at @HPE_LivingProg

Keywords: Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship | Chris Wellise | Clean Tech | Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) | Living Progress | Living Progress Challenge | Social Impact | Sustainable Solutions | Technology | crowdsourcing