The Global Disability Inclusion team was thrilled when we were named to Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2023.
Of course, we are bursting with pride our commitment to creating better workplaces for people with disabilities was recognized. Specifically, we won for our work in understanding disabled employee engagement through our Amplify Survey. We are honored and humbled to join the ranks of Fast Company award-winners such as Apple, Disney, OpenAI, Microsoft and Tiffany & Co., as well as over 500 other innovators.
But it’s kind of like the first moon walk. One small step for GDI, one giant leap for disability inclusion.
Fast Company’s circulation is more than 750,000. Millions read the online content of the publication that bills itself as “the only media brand fully dedicated to the vital intersection of business, innovation, and design, engaging the most influential leaders, companies, and thinkers on the future of business.”
Well, if Fast Company is interested in disability inclusion – then this means the business community is getting more interested in disability inclusion. Employment of people with disabilities is growing, and businesses are beginning to understand the incredible $13 Trillion consumer market that disabled people represent.
Some of the world’s most recognized brands (also on Fast Company’s Most Innovative List) are realizing the power and benefits of tapping into disabled talent and attracting disabled customers. Companies like Apple, Microsoft, McDonald’s, Bristol Myers Squibb, JP Morgan Chase and many others also have well recognized disability inclusion efforts.
What does it mean when Fast Company’s Most Innovative brands are also leaders in disability inclusion? It’s not a stretch to make the connection that disability inclusion is in fact innovative.
A prime example is the adaptive fashion industry. Largely nonexistent 10 years ago with the exception of medical grade clothing that well, looked the part. It wasn’t until Runway of Dreams founder Mindy Scheier partnered with Tommy Hilfiger to create adaptive clothing that was fashionable and on trend.
Since the launch of Tommy’s Adaptive clothing line – other brands have realized the opportunity – Kohl’s, Target, Nike, JC Penney, Skechers, Zappos and many others have all jumped into the adaptive clothing market which is estimated to be a $400 Billion industry.
Let that sink in for a minute. An industry that essentially did not exist 10 years ago is now a $400 Billion industry.
This begs the question, what accessible products or services could your company develop that would increase revenue and have the potential to lead an industry? Let this be the question leaders ask at their next strategy meeting.
In a tight market where most companies are looking for their next big idea – people with disabilities may have the answer. Be sure your disabled employees and consultants are part of your strategy conversations.
And as always, if you need access to disabled talent or disability inclusion expertise to address your company’s needs. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org