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Ten Organizations Driving Inclusive Innovation  

Heather Kernahan

Imagine if all innovation were inclusive, meaning that any new product or service is designed by and for a diverse, representative population to benefit all people and abilities, with social and environmental good embedded in the mission. While we’re not there yet, progress is being made and I believe we’ll get there, with the tech industry leading the way.  

This is why last year, we launched the Hotwire Ignite Possibility Program (HIPP), directing US$1 million in pro bono brand marketing and public relations services to tech and tech-enabled organizations led by or supporting underserved communities. Through HIPP, we’re able to help amplify the work of organizations driving inclusive innovation to help them reach their goals and scale their business. This program, which is part of our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion strategy, is now underway in Hotwire locations around the world. 

Our nine current participants from the US, UK, France, Germany, and Australia, plus the “women + STEM” think tank, Margarita Bly, launched by our Spain office, are inspiring examples of inclusive innovation driven by technology. In each case, we’ve partnered together to help accelerate their impact through strategic brand, marketing, and/or communications initiatives.  

I hope you’ll take a moment to visit their sites and see the incredible work they’re doing, led by visionary people committed to bringing meaningful change to the communities they represent and serve.   

  1. Access Inclusive Tech: a French organization providing technical training and professional integration skills to ensure equal access to jobs in tech.​ 
  1. Benetech, a nonprofit using software to reduce social and economic inequality in partnership with the communities they serve.  
  1. Full Circle Fund: a nonprofit community leveraging professionals’ financial and intellectual capital to accelerate nonprofits and build a better San Francisco Bay Area.​ ​ 
  1. GoFlyy: an on-demand, same-day delivery and returns service for fashion, beauty and wellness products, operating in cities across the U.S.​ 
  1. Husmus:an online service that aims to make renting easy and affordable in order to build a world where everyone can enjoy renting privately.​ ​ 
  1. Indigitek:a community of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders that aims to increase the participation and success of Indigenous Australian people in the tech industry. ​ 
  1. Kodiko: a nonprofit organization in France that helps refugees find jobs through their “refugee-employee” co-training program in the workplace. ​ 
  1. mentalis:the first provider in Germany offering people with mental illnesses seamless, digital aftercare after hospital treatment. ​ 
  1. Margarita Bly, a think tank started by the Hotwire Spain team, made up of PR and communications professionals, as well as journalists, committed to paving the way for future female tech communicators. 
  1. Storyskimo: an online platform leveraging audio and podcasting as a language and learning development tool for children.​  

Our work with each of these organizations is unique and we bring strategic consulting expertise that span our reputation, relationship and revenue services. 

For example, mentalis, a spin-off of the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), based in Nuremberg, Germany, that provides digital aftercare to people suffering from mental illnesses who have been in treatment in hospitals. They needed help developing and implementing a communication strategy to increase awareness of their services and approach among clinics, and health insurance companies. From our early work together we identified key personas, storylines, narratives and have been reaching out to pre-defined key media, resulting in an interview and two pieces of media coverage.  

Meanwhile, GoFlyy, founded by entrepreneur Joresa Blount, came to Hotwire in the throes of building a new online product related to its on-demand retail delivery service platform. From the outset, Joresa and the Hotwire team identified the need to revise the lifestyle logistics messaging to target its primary audience, large retailers. After an interactive messaging workshop, we used the learnings to help update the homepage content and structure, create a product demo, and identify new photography to draw in their target audience.  

A third example, Husmus, is a tech platform designed to create a fairer rental market for landlords and renters in the UK. It’s new to the market and is seeking additional investment to grow its business, build a rental database and create brand awareness. To help them with these goals, we have led internal workshops, developed messaging frameworks and conducted market research. Out of these workshops we created a white paper and press release, are conducting an influencer campaign, and developing a deposit scheme giveaway competition. 

We expect to reopen HIPP applications in the U.S. this Fall. If you are part of or know of an organization that may be a fit—that is either led by or supporting underserved communities—visit the HIPP site online and share your information with us so we can notify you.  

Together, we can create meaningful, inclusive, and sustainable change in the world through technology innovation.