I am in Ireland at Ashoka's massive Change Nation initiative (more on this soon).  One of the organizers is Caroline Casey an Ashoka fellow and force of nature.  Here is Caroline's response to What Are You Skating Towards in 2012?   Download the full collection here.

                             A Global Disability Business Movement

ImagesHAVING BROKEN MY SHOULDER attempting cross country skiing without a sighted guide last March, I am far happier to skate — much less treacherous!! Having an awful habit, like most social entrepreneurs of wanting to do too many things at one time — 2012 is the year I am going to have to focus, and say “no” more than “yes” as we develop a global business movement around the disability business case and roll out the Ability Awards internationally.

After the incredible success of the Ability Awards in Spain, our first country outside Ireland we will be working to map out the next 5 countries for replication, building the global MIS system necessary to support the rollout, launch the international advisory board of 16 global leaders and with Telefonica confirm our global implementation partners.

Back home in Ireland we will be developing the Kanchi Network — a business membership network created to drive inclusive business. In the latter half of 2012 we will be launching Ireland’s Disability Business Case Standard. Why? Central to our work is to reframe disability, moving from models of charity, deficit and dependency to a market driven approach based on ability, value and contribution. It is our long-standing belief that in order to change the lives of people with disabilities, ensuring dignity, respect, a right to self-determination and full participation we need to engage the extraordinary influence of business. Business is all pervasive in society; therefore if we can change their attitudes, practices and behaviours towards the disability demographic, then society will naturally become more inclusive. But to do this, we must talk their language, (the disability business case) and create methodologies and initiatives that are practical and realistic for business to engage with (the Ability Awards, the Kanchi Network and Standard). And if we are lucky enough to get that right, we have to spread the word!

2012, is about throwing the net far and wide and ramping up impact! But perish the thought that I say “no” to absolutely everything! It is 10 years since I embarked on my elephant odyssey in India and 8 since Around the World in Eighty Ways! As 2012 draws to a close I hope to be dusting off my adventure boots and heading out to the Wild West to go Blue Sky thinking again! It’s going to be a big year!

Caroline is founder of Kanchi, the Ability Awards and Co-Founder of Elephant Family. She is passionate about difference and positively disrupting the norm. She is a social entrepreneur, used-to-be Adventurer, elephant owner, self conscious cook and wannabe biker chick. Among her many awards she is an Ashoka fellow,Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and Eisenhower Fellow. Twitter – @carolinekanchi

To read all essays Download the PDF What Am I Skating Towards?

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