Valerie Fletcher on assistive technology for positive social change!

Please join us for our October session!

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011
4:30 - 6:00 pm
Charles Hotel
1 Bennett Street
Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Featured guest: Valerie Fletcher, Institute for Human Centered Design
Topic: Products and Technologies that Change People’s Lives: Universal Design and Assistive Technology in Massachusetts

Here's a little bit from Valerie about the topic:
A fortunate intersection of evolving technology and demographics shows promise for Massachusetts to lead the nation in inclusive technology. Across the developed nations, we live longer and survive illness, injury and congenital conditions more than ever before. Difference in ability is mainstream, a key element of 21st century diversity. And the profile of functional limitations is changing. Baby boomers who led the disability rights movement were move likely to focus on mobility limitations, given the impact of the polio epidemic and the high rates of amputations and back injuries in the Vietnam War. Today, we still need solutions responsive to physical issues but equally to sensory limitations and conditions of the brain that include developmental disabilities, mental health conditions, learning disabilities, brain injury and dementia.

Emerging and cutting edge technologies can improve everyone’s ability to live independently, to work, to learn and play for a lifetime. Trends like mass customization and personalization start from the premise that everyone is different, ideally suited to a vision of design-for-all. Valerie will share the experience of a recent conference, expo, design competition and policy summit conducted for the Commonwealth and explore the potential of adding universally designed products, information and communication technology (ICT) and assistive technology (AT) to the Massachusetts’ Innovation initiative.
Here's a little bit about Valerie herself:
Valerie Fletcher has been executive director since 1998 of the Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD), an international educational and design non-profit organization based in Boston, Massachusetts founded in 1978 as Adaptive Environments. The organizational mission is to advance the role of design in expanding opportunity and enhancing experience for people of all ages and abilities through excellence in design. Fletcher writes, lectures and works internationally. She currently oversees projects ranging from the development of a global, web-based collection of case studies of universal design in the built environment to user-expert research in cultural facilities, national parks and service businesses. Her research focus is social and environmentally sustainable solutions for classrooms, workplaces and homes.

Fletcher’s career has been divided between design and public mental health and she is the former Deputy Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health where she oversaw the largest participatory planning process ever undertaken in a state mental health system.

She is a special advisor to the government of Singapore and to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Fletcher has a master degree in ethics and public policy from Harvard University. The Boston Society of Architects awarded her the Women in Design award in 2005. She’s a trustee of the Boston Architectural College and co-chairs the Executive Committee of the Design Industry Group of Massachusetts.
Here are some web pages that Valerie recommends to attendees who want to brief themselves on the basic principles that will be under discussion at the Ethos Roundtable:
After the adjournment of our Ethos Roundtable session, we will stroll down the hall to enjoy the good company, charming venue, and free food at the 501 Tech Club, which is generously underwritten by TechFoundation. The 501 Tech Club is the monthly gathering of technology professionals who work with nonprofit organizations.

All Ethos Roundtable attendees are welcome at the Boston 501 Tech Club, and vice versa.

Please remember that there's never any need to make a reservation to attend Ethos Roundtable events. Just come if you can, and feel free to invite others! However, if you're planning to attend the Boston 501 Tech Club event at 6:00 pm, we ask that you send an email to Kathleen Sherwin of TechFoundation (ksherwin AT techfoundation DOT org). Since TechFoundation is providing the free food, it's both courteous and prudent to let her know how much to order.

See you on the 18th!

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