Putting Shared Value Into Practice

In the non-profit sector, social responsibility takes many forms. Transparency in social impact, ethics and communication are key to making a non-profit organization and its projects successful. Building an organization committed to the highest ethical standards demands more than just following the law, it requires fostering practices that create an environment of transparency, accountability and integrity.

Mara Manca, humanist at heart, a fellow at the Scimpulse Foundation and researcher on the OpenCare project achieves that with a practical approach. She implements processes to create an atmosphere that is transparent, interactive and creates it in terms that everyone could relate to in their everyday lives. She makes it easy for everyone to see the vision of the project and what they hope to gain, and the risks involved.

Transparency and accountability

OpenCare is constantly working to ensure ethics and transparency. The challenge, is to keep it as simple and understandable as possible, while maintaining a legal standpoint. The solution is not obvious, it’s complicated by the changing landscape. Mara tackles the challenge with a transparent approach that is beneficial to the project.

Mara came in contact with OpenCare through conversations with Marco Manca, Chairman of the Scimpulse Foundation, during a group discussion. At that point, her natural inquisitive nature was tempted, she was driven to know more. She was excited by the challenges and naturally her interest grew and she engaged in deeper conversations about the goals and mission of the project.

Mara was inspired by the thought of contributing to a social evolution with its out-of-the-box radical thinking. It was an amazing opportunity to help put a dent in humanity and contribute tangible efforts. Through her constant engaging conversations she decided to join the team at the Scimpulse Foundation.

Mara was becoming part of this idea of bringing forward innovation that makes sense to the community. Imagine a new form of care with the same communities that are struggling to do so every day.   
This was a chance to wrap her mind around challenges she may have never experienced as she tries to out-smart the giants that have created the current model of care. OpenCare is an opportunity to make this process visible in medical innovation while every government in the EU is struggling with care demands.  Since working with OpenCare, Mara is seriously reflecting on the nature of mankind. Now she looks beyond health, care and disease and past the superficial beaucratic layer and discovers there is the possibility to do more.

“It is a fragile strategy to decide to ignore what happens to those in need when the need seems far away, Mara Manca.”

Mara experiences frustrations in her work, but the frustration is there because she believes the project can achieve its goals, change and improve the approach to a problem. She works with like-minded people that share the same value and mind-set and with that combination anything is possible.Opencare - not just another funded EU project, its innovations is based on everyone contributing to its mission and sharing its future developments. Currently, Mara is mapping the norms on value sharing and the value chain of the Open Care community.

Want to learn more about the OpenCare project? Join the community for the latest thinking and shared value updates. Follow OpenCare on Twitter!

Maria Habets | May 2016

Irene is helping the Blind See with Sound

A new initiative promises help for blind and visually impaired gain more mobility, independence and confidence.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there are a quarter billion people in the world with vision impairment. Of those, more than 80 million are completely blind. That is twice the population of Canada.

Developing a technology that could sense and reconstruct reality for blind people can be one approach. But, a technology that enables blind and vision impaired to mediate their perception of their environment and interact with their surroundings is actually empowering then to be independent from aid devices.

Many blind and partially sighted people of all ages are unable to lead independent lives because they are not getting the support they need. The needs of people who lose their sight are many and varied and the support provided must be personalized if it is to meet individual needs. Teaching the blind to see with hearing using echolocation would be a way to make the largest impact, beyond the use of sight.  The benefits of acquiring this skill changes the way you interact with your surroundings on a daily basis. It decreases limitations and opens the door to new opportunities.

The Journey begins

Irene Lanza, Management Engineer, CEO of SoundSight Training, knows it’s possible. Irene came in contact with the Scimpulse Foundation while participating in the Challenge Based Innovation program of IdeaSquare at CERN in Geneva. The challenge was to design something that enabled blind people to perceive the surrounding environment. It was then the idea was planted.  Many opted for a mobile device approach, something else called the attention of Irene. Teaching the blind to echolocate themselves?

Through this experience, Irene had the opportunity to interact with the visually impaired. Through working with mothers of blind children and getting to hear their stories, setbacks and concerns the more Irene wanted to do something to support and empower them. Guidance of blind and visually impaired people is a clear unmet need. However, most blind and visually impaired people want to go out and enjoy independent mobility.

The environment in which we live is becoming increasingly complex. Even a journey across a city  requires a range of skills including being able to avoid obstacles on the pavement, to walk in the right direction, play a sport and the list goes on. These tasks may seem trivial, but for someone with a vision impairment, this is a challenge and a skill that needs to be learned. SoundSight enables the development of a hearing talent that compensates for the missing eyesight.

See With Sound

SoundSight Training was developed to enable the blind to see with sound. Together, with Henrik Kjeldsen and Dr. Marco Manca the first prototype of an echolocation training system, was created.

It’s a virtual reality environment based on audio. The training is completed with practice in the real world until the student becomes fully independent from the simulation. Further explanation of how can be found here. SoundSight attracted the attention of the Italian government and a number of organisations and advocates that offered its support.  Among them were, Cecilia Camellini, Champion Paralympic Swimmer. When asked what she thought of SoundSight, “with training and effort athletes can improve performance.” 

Experience the world more independently

SoundSight Training is a spinoff of the Let Me See Project, the first from the ScimPulse Foundation  I.M.mortal research program. It was a 3 year journey that started from a workshop and now partners with governmental organizations to impulse the idea forward beyond the prototype stage. Now it has its own heartbeat. SoundSight Training designed to helping people explore the world more independently.

“This software has the potential to enrich the lives of people who are blind and visually impaired. Everyone can learn this skill, it’s accessible to everyone and when we design for greater accessibility, everyone benefits.” says Irene Lanza.   

Improving performance, challenging yourself, to overcome limitations, all of this effects humanity’s growth, expansion and well-being. The challenges for the visually impaired are enormous, so immense are the ramifications for those now living without sight, and so exciting is the initiative on the horizon.

For more information about SoundSight initiative, please visit www.soundsight.ch

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