What is so different about EM2?

06 - Jul - 2017
ICRC/Ashish Bhatia

The second Enable Makeathon began last week after launching the online crowdsourcing form and embarking on the on-ground research process for the identification of this year’s disability challenges under the themes of accessibility and employability. This second edition builds on the rich experience of the first Enable Makeathon, while simultaneously testing out new possibilities. While the event this year follows a similar process, one might wonder, what are the differences between the two events?

Although attracting significant attention from the public, and proven to be successful, the first Enable Makeathon was a continuous learning experience. The idea was raw, young but promising. The partners constantly navigating their way through the creation of a solid process for the massive event. Every phase had an element of improvisation alongside the concrete ideas and plans that were being developed. This year’s Enable Makeathon builds on this knowledge, while also testing new directions.

The planning for EM2 started earlier this year. The process is similar to that of the first one, and yet each phase is expected to take longer time to complete, allowing for a more thorough process. The crowdsourcing for challenges aims to reach a larger audience, and encompasses various methods, from online questionnaires to on- ground participatory research methods. The co-creation camp is expected to extend for 75 days giving more time for the development of business and market plans and for support with design and fabrication from companies and institutes. The refinement and prototyping phase will have 25 samples of prototypes that will be made by fast prototyping companies. The incubation space and agreements will be ready in place immediately after the demo day.

Then again, while each different aspect of EM2 is invigorating, the most thrilling part is the birth of a movement around the event. What started as a one-time event initiated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is now taking off as a movement led by volunteers from all walks of life, each contributing in their capacity to the success of the event. The EM movement is also attracting the attention of enthusiasts in the field of disability in several locations. Under the general guidance of the ICRC’s delegations in India and the UK, and together with the British Red Cross Society, a parallel Makeathon is planned in the UK this year. Discussions around budget, partners and communication plans are underway.

The movement is novel in the sense that it is driven by and for persons with disabilities asserting their agency. It is an international network of organizations that work for a common process rather than a hierarchal one; and it is an apparatus characterized by its continuous readiness to innovate and build on existing knowledge.

The movement will bring together pioneers from various fields including business and marketing experts, innovators, entrepreneurs, students, NGOs, governments while ensuring persons with disabilities are leading the effort in each step of the process.

If you, too, would like to join this movement, please send us an e-mail.