Submissions are now open for the six-week Open Innovation Competition, with $20,000 cash and up to $40,000 of in-kind prizes up for grabs for winning solutions.
Chair of the City of Melbourne’s Knowledge City portfolio and Deputy Chair of the People City Portfolio, Councillor Dr Jackie Watts, said that the Open Innovation Competition aims to cultivate tangible solutions to make Melbourne easier to navigate for the one in five people who have some form of disability.
“While the challenges faced in navigating cities and urban spaces are not unique to Melbourne, we want to ensure our city is as accessible as possible for as many people as possible,” Dr Watts said.
“We are working with key innovators, technology companies and expert organisations from the disability sector to help find the best solutions to this global challenge.
“We must re-think how our cities are structured to ensure that everyone is able to move freely and easily without harm, stress or inconvenience and I am looking forward to seeing the entrants’ innovative solutions.”
The City of Melbourne has partnered with Microsoft, Telstra, PTV, Guide Dogs Victoria, Accenture, CQ University, Impact Co, Metro and Travellers Aid Australia.
Together with these partners, the City of Melbourne will provide support for entrants throughout the competition, offering the opportunity to test their ideas and designs with experts in the disability community and business.
The competition will focus on three key problem areas: transport, pedestrianisation and way-finding.
Dr Watts said this included everything from navigating footpaths, to safety at pedestrian crossings and in-journey flexibility.
“People with a disability often do not enjoy the convenience taken for granted by people who do not have mobility restrictions,” Dr Watts said.
“Whether it’s dodging an obstacle on a footpath, finding an accessible carpark or navigating a construction zone, there are many challenges faced daily by people with a disability. The competition will improve the ‘lived experience’ of our City for those with a disability – workers, tourists and residents.”
“People with a disability have played a big role in developing the scope of this competition. We are keen to encourage more Melburnians with a disability to participate and share their unique insight.”
Five shortlisted ideas generated by the competition will be pitched at Melbourne Knowledge Week in May, with the winning idea receiving a $20,000 cash prize. There is also $40,000 of in-kind prizes up for grabs along with post-competition support and mentorship from major partners to help develop, implement and scale the top solutions.
For more information or to submit a solution, visit the Open Innovation Competition website.