On Tuesday May 20th, Sogeti France presented the the third edition of “Défi H” in partnership with Le Monde Informatique – an award that recognises innovation for professional integration and remarkable work achieved by the competing teams.
Specifically, this challenge rewarded the technological values promoted by the French students of IT business schools that were involved in innovations to support integration of disabled people within companies.
In a previous post, I was wondering if the 2014 edition would follow the same trends of 2012 and 2013 and I was quite anxious about the projects that we would see this year.
I had no need to worry – this edition was beyond my expectations. Why? Essentially for these reasons:
Gen Y Engagement:
Gen Y is not so different from any other generation. This online, real TV, gaming generation has grown up in an instantaneous environment. No matter what you say, Gen Y wants you to act and wants to be a part of it. Taking this into account, if you want to motivate the Gen Y young professionals, and want them to be engaged, you have to let them build and lead their own projects a whilst stimulating their creativity and their leadership. Effectively, they they are much more enthusiastic about volunteering for a cause than donating. The Gen Y young professionals tend to choose their perferred job considering life balance, values, and the likely career path. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) values are also a real motivation for this enthusiastic generation.
A high level of positive energy is deployed during Defi H: they care about inclusion, they care about innovation in CSR fields, and they will certainly be open-minded and responsible managers.
Six out of seven student teams competing in this year’s Defi H programme have built and delivered, in just 6 months, smart solutions to address different types of disabilities, demonstrating the large scope of potential usages described below.
ETNA Business School “GMH Project”
Requirements: “For us, getting on a train has turned into a battle that takes a lot of important time. The support facilities for disabled people with reduced mobility are really long. It often happens that before succeeding to get on a train, we have already missed two or three trains that passed before. “ Julien, member of the Association of the Paralyzed People in France
Solutions: “Give Me a Hand” is a project owned by both of the two teams of ETNA Business School. In the beginning they brought together their ideas in order to develop a social network for exchange, mutual assistance, and sharing of information among people with reduced mobility. It connects its different members and favors their social integration. Then, the teams designed a module for RATP/SNCF that anticipates the arrival of the train at the station and contributes to the support of the people with reduced mobility.
Technologies: Scrum, Continuous Integration /HTML 5, CSS3, LAMP and AngularJS/Responsive Web Design. Available on smart phones and tablets.
EPSI – Ecole d’Ingénierie Informatique “Handi report Project” : Awarded Special Jury Prize 2014
Requirements: “People with intellectual disabilities with/without autism disorders often suffer from a loss of memory. They are also prone to focus their attention to the events that have perplexed their emotional situation. This fact could mislead the integration coaches from ADAPEI* who guide the handicap workers.” Extract from the interview “Talenteo”*(The Association of the Friends and Parents of Mentally Handicapped People)
Solutions: HandiReport is a web application that drives handicapped people to answer regular questions on their personal or professional life. The feedback is automatically sent to their integration coach from ADAPEI association. This way the coach is regularly informed about the emotional situation of the handicapped worker. This helps the integration coach to follow the patient’s behavior and to adapt his treatment while anticipating possible difficulties.
Technologies: Scrum, Continuous Integration /HTML 5, CSS3, Bootstrap/ Lamp and Hosting. Available on smart phones, tablets and laptops.
CESI Exia – Ecole Superieure d’Informatique “Worldmute Project “
Requirements: ”The improvement of life of the people that suffer from slurred speech and laryngectomy in particular is one of my professional priorities. Therefore, I accepted to give my modest contribution to this project.” Robert Chalus : President of The ALMVSO (The Association of Laryngectomy and Mute People of the Southwest Region)
Solutions: With this project, called WORLDMUTE, we want to help the deaf-mute people and facilitate their integration in their professional lives. The objective of this work is to develop a mobile application that enables these people to listen and to follow the sense of the conversation. It is also meant to propose phrases adapted to the context of the conversation that will appear on the screen of the user’s smart phone. The idea is to enable the user/patient – although indirectly, via an artificial intelligence device – to communicate fluently, naturally, and as if he expresses himself orally.
Technologies: Scrum, Continuous Integration / Android/C language /SQLite Database
POLYTECH Sophia Antipolis “LSF Project”
Requirements: Let’s imagine a deaf person who has recently joined a company. We would probably be right in supposing that none of his colleagues understand sign language. Thanks to our software, everybody could be able to quickly learn some basics of sign language and to prove his motivation to communicate with deaf people. The learning is playful (a serious game) and makes the approach even more participative.
Solutions: We would like to create a serious game that offers a graphic interface that is light, playful, and correct, in order to learn the basics of sign language. The application is offered in several game modules – each of them with a specific purpose.
Technologies: Kanban/Scrum, Continuous Integration / Android/C language, OpenCV/JavaCV et LibGDX / Langage C++.
ESME Soudria Business School “Handylight Project”: Awarded Innovation Award 2014
Requirements: Depending on their impact and position, cranial traumas can generate significant cognitive and motor disorders. For example, cognitive disorders can generate problems with alertness, states of a great fatigue. These clinical issues can affect or even put at risk the return to our professional life.
Solutions: We will design and provide an end to end system evaluating the influence of the length and the intensity of certain waves, which would allow the carrying out of clinical experiments in order to validate specific methods. We will create a pair of glasses that diffuse a range of light-emitting diodes (LED). We will connect this device to sensors of physiological parameters and, depending on the data, we will regulate the light in order to stimulate alertness. We will provide, after we finish our analysis, the results of this LED diffusion to the patients.
Technologies: Hardware : BeagleBone and embedded I/O Software : Yocto/GCC/GIT/C++, Boost/Qt, Gnuplot.
ECE Paris Engineer School Wink and Talk Project: Awarded “DEFI H” 2014 Trophy Prize
Requirements: “The communication is what makes the difference between life and existence.” This is what the London troupe claims in the play of Jean-Dominique Bauby in the Metta-theatre : Flicker
Solutions: In order to further understand the Locked-In Syndrome (or Confinement syndrome), our idea for this project was to help people with communication disorders to recover their speech by interpreting the blink of an eye via an interface, for a lower cost. We previewed two subprojects, one that concerns mainly in detecting the blink of the eye and the other that forwards the answer generated by the blink of an eye.
Technologies: Hardware: Raspberry Pi, Webcam 8 MPixels Software : OpenCVJAVA.
The Defi H contest offers a canvas and an opportunity for innovative ideas but does not bring resources and funding to build the solutions. It is always up to students to identify the “right” solution by using and assembling relevant and available technologies for their ideas and projects. In doing that, they typically apply the “jugaad innovation” or “frugal innovation” concept, and take into account the economic factor in order to reach a large audience, whilst also and minimising industrial deployment.
The work done by these student teams is awesome. Nevertheless, without a dedicated coach (like the experts from Sogeti that support them), certain parts of these ideas would have fallen down during project development. This really highlights the need to create an ecosystem including different skills, cultures, and expertise to create the key success factors to innovate.
This point also reinforces the fact that succeeding in trans-generational collaboration will create momentum for a common goal and objective (see http://labs.sogeti.com/generational-profiles/).
Different way of thinking
Working on digitally inclusive projects and technology “door openers” is certainly one way to better understand how information technologies could help people, companies, and finally, society. During the Defi H contest, the rebound effect (i.e the way that one idea can generate some others, thus creating more values than the initial one) is working with maximum impact. For example regarding the Handylight project, the team identified several other kinds of applications useful for all people (not only disabled) that are ready to use.
I am quite sure that designing solutions for disabled people will enrich the whole solution because the angle is different and includes both disabled and non-disabled people. You may say, “Yes but it is more expensive…” Really? Think about it!
As a special recognition of their performance, two members of the winning team from “Wink and Talk, ECE Paris” have been invited to participate in the third season of the Capgemini Super Techies Show in India to compete against other global teams. This international reality TV game show gives technology professionals and students an opportunity to craft solutions to real business challenges faced by global organisations. Contestants on the show have the opportunity to engage with leaders from those global businesses, work with Capgemini experts and compete for a cash prize.
The fourth Defi H edition will be launched in France, in September, to carry on creating value and interest. It is really interesting and exciting to know that, for the three previous editions, more than 80 students have built 18 projects, 3 start-ups have been created, and more than 5 ideas are in a patent process!
Defi H is a real catalyst for positive energy that actively contributes to the employment of people with disabilities. This springboard of ideas is an enabler to concretise: a project needs to be useful and usable. The commitment and motivation of young people for the digital inclusion and for innovation is great, let us think about how crowd-funding solutions could be a good way to be more concrete and stimulate the next competitors in a future edition of the Defi H.
In addition, a new Defi H edition will be launched this year in the Netherlands as well. A new champion league may be starting!
In his post, Michiel Boreel wrote “We will learn to trust these intelligent assistants and award them more and more responsibility to take over tasks on our behalf, so we can focus on more important things in life.” Disability and digital inclusive areas will certainly be topics we will bring benefits to.