Why Is IDEA Important and How Pedesting Can Help in Implementing It?

Our co-founder, Nabeel Ramji recently had the opportunity to speak as a panelist on the Calgary Chamber of Commerce series- Confluence YYC: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility in the workplace on May 3, 2023.

The discussion moderated by Brian Lanier with co-panelists Lauren Remple, Indigenous Engagement, Rogers Communications and Marcie Hawranick, Canadian Equality Consulting brought in some key insights for people working on inclusion. This also emphasis the need to talk more about IDEA, and ways businesses and organizations can implement it.

This article is a quick guide to what IDEA is, why it is important, benefits and how Pedesting can help in implementing it for Calgary’s businesses, institutions, and organizations. The article also explores the insights shared by the panelists. 


What Is IDEA?


IDEA is an acronym that stands for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility. One of the easiest explanations of IDEA we came across is from the Indiana Arts Commission article on the same. 

Inclusion: All feel welcomed and valued

Diversity: All the ways we differ

Equity: All having the opportunity to fully participate

Access: Of any and all abilities

In other words, as the Canadian Commission for UNESCO puts it in their ToolkitIDEA, Inclusion is ensuring all individuals are equally supported, valued, and respected. Equity is the fair treatment and access to equal opportunity (justice) that allows the unlocking of one’s potential, leading to the further advancement of all peoples. 

Equity is the fair treatment and access to equal opportunity (justice) that allows the unlocking of one’s potential, leading to the further advancement of all peoples. Accessibility is the provision of flexibility to accommodate needs and preferences, and refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people who experience disabilities.

Why Implementing IDEA Is Important?


To start with, dialogues around IDEA is essential. It is very important to have a work culture based on IDEA in the workplace, so everyone is included and has equal access and opportunities. Besides that, here are some critical reasons as to why IDEA especially in relevance to Accessibility is important:

1.     Right now, about 6.2 million Canadians (22%) have a disability. That’s expected to rise to 25% by 2025. Disability-inclusive hiring has major economic advantages. To quote, “Paul M. Clark, Executive Vice-President of TD Bank Group from the podcast, You Can’t Spell Inclusion Without a D “The real value here is in the contribution that someone with a disability brings to your organization, the diversity of thought, the diversity of approach, the diversity of lived experience” 

2.     IDEA helps organizations understand employees better, create a thriving work culture, and helps in scaling up business. 

3.     According to a 2021 survey published by the Rick Hansen Foundation, 62% of Canadians would be more likely to do business with a company if they knew the business had specific policies supporting employees who have a disability.

4.     The disability consumer market is huge. It touches 53% of the world’s population as per the Return on Disability Group’s 2020 Global Economics of Disability. This demographic controls almost US$13 trillion in disposable income. Businesses who are not inclusive miss out on this potential market segment. 

Ways To Implement IDEA in Workplace for Businesses and Organizations


We would like to highlight 3 key insights on how big and small businesses and organizations can implement IDEA based on the insights from the Confluence YYC panel discussion.


·       A complete evaluation of the entire business, policies, practices and its impact on the employees, communities and consumers helps in better understanding the needs for an IDEA policy.

·       Lead with empathy, be open to ask questions. Listen to needs and understand requirements from an IDEA perspective. Establishing an IDEA Board is a great place to start. Having a diverse board helps in understanding from varied perspectives.

·       Train yourself and the employees on how to be more inclusive and incorporate the process into the system. Become an ally by being part of the IDEA conversations and events.

For smaller organizations with limited resources there are funding sources by the government and organizations that support training and setting up an IDEA team.


How Pedesting Can Help Businesses in Being an IDEA Ally and Tap into The Disability Market


Pedesting is a way finding app that helps in navigation for anyone who walks, especially for people with mobility challenges, and for people commuting with scooters, strollers, and other such power based/manual devices. 

Businesses and institutes can enhance the commute for their employees and customers with mobility challenges by sharing their floor plans with Pedesting. Pedesting in turns adds the map with details like accessible ramps, power door openers, accessible washrooms and add it to the Pedesting app. Thus, anyone who accesses the app can navigate through the built environment easily. This helps the business to,

·       Be more inclusive and accessible.

·       Increases the visitor traffic and market demand for the services offered.

·       Earns credibility and goodwill which in turn attracts more investments and returns.


Where Can You Start?


1.     Spread the word by sharing this article and other resources on IDEA WITH YOUR NETWORK.

2.     Become a part of the dialogue- Share your thoughts below and participate in events around IDEA. 

3.     Try our latest BETA version! Pedesting is all set to launch its app soon. So, your continued feedback about the app is very valuable. 

4.     Recommend Pedesting to any business or organization. Pedesting currently has the Calgary Central Library and Arts Commons map on the app. If you would like to have any such businesses or institutions, recommend us to them!

5.     Stay in touch: Pedesting more content to come with regards to accessibility. Sign up here and stay connected, share your inputs, accessibility requirements so we can all voice it together. Become an accessibility ally with Pedesting.