KAI Foundation, a Hertfordshire-based company specialising in problem-solving style and its application in leadership and team building, has partnered with The Innovation Story and AssisTech Foundation (ATF) in support of its annual Indian school’s social-change and innovation programme, The Solve for Society Challenge.
The Innovation Story (TIS) is a global team of passionate educators from world-renowned universities, including Stanford, Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), and Indian Institutes of Management (IIM). Through the development of a cutting-edge STEM-based curriculum, its team of experts are aiming to equip children in the country, regardless of background and ability, with the skills needed for future careers, inspiring them to learn through curiosity, innovation, building confidence and collaboration with peers.
The Solve for Society Challenge, which is sponsored by Amazon Future Engineer provides students, aged 12-16 years old the opportunity to explore and devise innovative solutions to real-world problems under the mentorship from industry experts. The theme for this year’s challenge is ‘Empowering the differently-abled using Assistive Technology’, which is being supported by the AssisTech Foundation (ATF), India’s first (AT) focused ecosystem that supports and promotes innovative disability technology start-ups.
According to a report it’s estimated that 7.6% of the population that have a disability in India are of childhood age, equating to 2.04 million of the total population. Further reports also highlight that as many as 75% of those children aren’t in education and of the 30 million people in the country with a disability diagnosis only just over 10% are in employment. In the UK, according to the latest government figures, over 50% of the population with a disability are employed, which in comparison highlights India’s concern for social change and providing better opportunities for all.
Under The Solve for Society Challenge, 80 teams, made up of 365 children from state-supported schools and schools sponsored by NGOs, are taking part and will focus on designing the best ideas for assisted technology. The children have been challenged to identify a problem a person with a specific disability is facing, either physical or mental cognitive, and to define a technical solution to assist them with that disability, whether its app-based, AI based, or an electronic or mechanical gadget.
The KAI Foundation team will be delivering two webinar workshops to the students taking part. The first was led by Nicola Ryall, Managing Director of KAI Foundation, and Dr Curtis Friedel, Director and Co-Founder at the Center for Cooperative Problem Solving at Virginia Tech, on ‘How to Identify the Right Problem’. In a second webinar, presented later this month, Curtis will be joined by Dr Sarah Bush (KAI practitioner and Assistant Professor from the University of Florida) on ‘How to Ensure You Have the Right Solution’.
Through its Kirton Adaption-Innovation Inventory (KAI), which is the world’s foremost psychometric measure of problem-solving style, KAI’s global team of practitioners nurture and develops leadership skills and build better teams through improving cohesiveness and understanding.
Prateek Madhav, Co-Founder & CEO of ATF, said: “ATF as a knowledge partner, is fostering a deeper understanding of how technology can be harnessed for the betterment of all, including individuals with diverse abilities. But what excites us even more is how this workshop serves as a potent seed for nurturing the next generation of AT innovators. By introducing students to the world of technology, igniting their curiosity, and allowing them to experience the impact of their creations firsthand, we are laying a strong foundation for future leaders who will drive the development of life-changing assistive technologies.”
Managing Director of KAI, Nicola Ryall, added: “We’re thrilled to be supporting The Innovation Story and ATF in delivering the 2023 Solve for Society Challenge. KAI is built on the foundation of better understanding people and providing innovative solutions to helping people lead and work better together.”
Nicola continued: “This year’s challenge addresses a global issue in providing better support to those living with a disability. It’s a fantastic initiative which helps to develop young minds and provide them with the right skills to reach their goals. I can’t wait to speak with all the students and hear their ideas.”