New Social Innovation Hub to help the disabled

New Social Innovation Hub to help the disabled
Artist's impression of an information and career centre at the new community space, in Redhill, for the disabled.

Designing innovative ways to help the disabled requires an understanding of their needs but it can be hard to gather them to test things out.

But a new space to be set up next year will support the development of innovative solutions to benefit the disabled and telco SingTel yesterday announced a donation of S$1.1 million for the space.

Called the Social Innovation Hub, it aims to give researchers, developers and designers more chances to interact with the disabled, share ideas, and design products to help them lead more independent lives and find jobs.

The hub is part of the new Enabling Innovation Centre, which will also house facilities such as one which trains the disabled in call centre operations, and others fitted with technology such as text-to-speech software.

To be ready in the second half of next year, the centre will be located in SG Enable's integrated community space at 141 Redhill Road.

The site is a one-stop place where the disabled and caregivers can get information, referral and employment services.

SingTel is developing the centre with SG Enable, an agency set up by the Government to offer services for the disabled.

SingTel will provide its expertise and volunteer resources to conduct the training. Its corporate venture arm, SingTel Innov8, will also advise SG Enable on innovative technologies.

Mr Justin Lee, co-founder of Heartware, a start-up designing a device to help the autistic, welcomed the innovation hub. "We need test users, and it can be quite tedious when we need to coordinate with different organisations which help the disabled."

SG Enable chief executive Ku Geok Boon said people with disabilities and the community can come together at the centre to spark new ideas solutions.

This article was first published on July 23, 2014.
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