Disability, neurodiversity: how can digital technology become more inclusive?

 

 

Elizabeth Tchoungui Directrice exécutive RSE

Elizabeth Tchoungui
Guest editor-in-chief

 

 

Heroes! Champions! Fighters! The Paralympic Games, which have just come to a close in Tokyo, are helping to change the way we look at disability. These top athletes have demonstrated their ability to perform at their peak as part of a team where everyone finds their place.
Let’s turn this Olympic momentum into sustainable actions; because disability is sometimes difficult to understand in society, as in business, even though it affects 15% of the world's population, whether physical, sensory (motor, auditory, visual) or mental (intellectual, psychological, cognitive).
Moving towards a society where no one is left behind means adopting a resolutely inclusive approach. Digital technology, as a vector of inclusion and innovation, will create new possibilities and enable us all to come together to achieve this. New technologies, when designed, made available and used with humans in mind, already play a major role: digital sign language dictionaries, “speech to text” transcription apps, and more ergonomic equipment are all concrete and useful examples. This is why, echoing Orange’s purpose to give everyone the keys to a responsible digital world, we have long been committed to accessibility and autonomy for all. The Orange Foundation, which has supported autism for 30 years, also shares this commitment.
Inclusion means joining together, at all times, so that diversity is a catalyst for sustainable performance ... and paves the way to reach Olympic summits! So 3, 2, 1… go! and enjoy discovering our latest Orange Magazine!

 

 

 

+1 billion people with disabilities worldwide, or15% of the global population 

80% of disabilities are invisible

20 to 25% of the population is neuroatypical

 

 

Elizabeth Tchoungui: A big thank you to Caroline Casey, founder of “The Valuable 500” – a global movement that brings together companies that are committed to making inclusion a priority – and Stéphane Richard, Chairman and CEO of the Orange group, who came together to share their vision about getting digital inclusion on the corporate agenda.

 

 

Disability inclusion in the business world: Joint interview with Caroline Casey and Stéphane Richard

Around 20% of the global population lives with a disability, and when you include family and friends this represents 70% of the global economy*. If we are ever to achieve an inclusive and sustainable society that benefits everyone, inclusion must be a priority for all stakeholders. This is the reason behind the UN Sustainable Development Goals, especially the 10 which aim to reduce inequalities. Digital inclusion is also a key challenge, one which Caroline Casey and Stéphane Richard discuss along with their commitments to the cause.
* according to The Valuable 500

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Elizabeth Tchoungui: Discover a range of digital solutions for people with disabilities, as well as a useful overview of the actions carried out by Orange from our Chief Accessibility Officer François-René Germain.

 

Disability: 9 digital solutions to improve autonomy

Digital technology is increasingly enabling more inclusive products and services, with several now on the market that help people with disabilities or neurodiverse conditions live more independent lives.

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Digital inclusion is key, across all Orange business entities

In line with our Engage 2025 strategic plan and our corporate purpose, we’re working to make digital tools and technologies easy to access and use. Because digital equality is for everyone, we also meet the needs of people with disabilities through an inclusive offer and contact channels that are adapted to individual requirements.
 

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Diversity enriches our lives and offers us greater opportunities as a society. I firmly believe this is also true for companies, as you can see from the 7 reasons that emerged from our participatory workshops also attended by the GSMA, an industry association that brings together more than 750 operators and mobile phone manufacturers in 220 countries.

 

 

  1. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are based on the idea that no one should be left behind, no matter who they are or where they live.
     
  2. 68% of young people want to work for inclusive companies = there’s a whole world of untapped talent out there, so let’s focus on skills!
     
  3. Employees with a diverse range of experiences approach problems differently and therefore promote the development of more inclusive products and services.
     
  4. Employees who feel included show more loyalty and enthusiasm.
     
  5. Consumers value businesses that are genuinely committed to inclusion = 57% are willing to invest time and money to support these businesses.
     
  6. 65% of consumers worldwide believe it is important that the brands they choose promote diversity and inclusion.
     
  7. Everyone benefits from an inclusive workplace, not just people with disabilities.

Source : Kantar 2020

 

 

Elizabeth Tchoungui: Discover inspiring stories that showcase how disability, creativity and determination are sources of performance and innovation.

 

Interview

Disability at work: successful inclusion is everyone’s responsibility

Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Orange Business Services (OBS), Sandra Siméon supports 290 employees with disabilities. She shares her experience and advice to strengthen how these employees are welcomed into the business and change the way people look at disability.

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Digital technology represents a real revolution that has the power to change lives, especially for people with disabilities, so long as platforms and applications have been designed with them in mind too.

Olivier Ducruix, Head of the Digital Accessibility Competence Centre at Orange, co-founder of "SARA", the application that allows visually impaired or blind people to navigate almost completely independently.

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Don’t hesitate to start a business, disability is not a roadblock. On the contrary, it’s a way of seeing projects from a different angle. Go ahead: you can't reach the top without taking the first step!

Olivier Jeannel, former Orange employee, founder of "Rogervoice", the application that facilitates telephone communications for deaf or hard-of-hearing people.
 

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Top athletes and Orange employees

 

Moez El Assine champion handisport

"Everything seems impossible, until you do it"

Moez El Assine, Orange employee. Paralympic fencer, 2011 World Champion and Paralympic medalist.

 

Anne Sophie Rubler, championne handisport

"Do your best every day to push your limits"

Anne-Sophie Rubler, Orange employee. Member of the French wheelchair basketball association, competed in the 2018 World Championships and 2019 European Championships.

 

 

Elizabeth Tchoungui: Cognitive diversity, which is too often overlooked, offers unique opportunities for the corporate world. Having a range of skill sets essential for meeting tomorrow’s challenges, whether societal or technological. With the Neuroteam program, which Orange sponsors under Executive Director HR and Group Transformation Gervais Pellissier, we are becoming a pioneer in demonstrating how corporate diversity is a powerful lever to boost resilience and performance.

 

Disability, cognitive diversity: how can digital technology become more inclusive?

More than 20% of the world’s population are thought to be cognitively diverse. These are people who process information differently or see the world differently – and these different styles of problem-solving can contribute positively to society. Knowing that cognitive diversity can improve their business performance, today’s leading businesses are putting in place dedicated inclusion programs. Here’s an overview of Orange’s actions, highlighting our employee integration and engagement initiatives.

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I hope that reading these stories of people’s careers and life journeys shows you how inclusion helps drive creativity and innovation for all. At Orange, we’ll continue to work now and always to make sure digital technology offers equal opportunities to everyone. - Élizabeth Tchoungui.