In the digital economy, knowledge is the most important thing. This simple fact is the reason why accessibility is important to business.
All knowledge, no matter who from is useful, and the more diverse the group of Knowledgeers you have, more commercially viable your organisation, because the more flexible it will ‘think’.
There is a reason why the Web is pervasive – because it is heterogeneous, no group think, no set way of doing stuff, few limits. These can be bad too, but heterogeneity trumps all else.
I hear a lot about making the business case for accessibility, the commercial case, the economic advantage to organisations and countries. This normally goes something like:
“The UK estimates that the combined spending power of the disabled population in the UK is over #200 billion. Across Europe approximately 46 million people have a disability and over 20% of the EU will be over 65 within the next 30 years – with the population over 60 doubling in the same time. Further the US government estimates the discretionary income alone, of people with disabilities in the US, to be in the region of $175 billion; while the number of people worldwide who have a disability is estimated to be 650 million. As these figures highlight, there are obvious economic, employment, and social advantages to removing technically imposed barriers”
And I’m as guilty of using this shtik as the next, but this does us all a dis-service by characterising disabled users as the consumer not the contributor.
The reality is that the knowledge means brains, and brains we are fast running out of, everyone is needed for the knowledge economy – in the UK it seems there is little else but Knowledge, Services, and Banking. Without seeing the value in everyone, we will likely see a reduction in the richness of the knowledge we create – and this is death knell for any knowledge economy.
Just as Disney has its Imagineers so the country (and those organisations within it) need Knowledgeers.
Every Brain is Important, No Brains Left Behind!