We held “Disability and Future Jobs: IoT & Fab Project” in Fukuoka, organized by a non-profit organization, Tanpopo-no-ye (General Incorporated Foundation).
Engineers, designers and creators related to welfare facilities, IoT and Fab within Fukuoka came together with the aim of creating community-based jobs. We collaborated with Maru Works, Ikikata-no-Design Kenkyujo (General Incorporated Association) and the Digital Studio of Kitakyushu Innovation Gallery and Studio (KIGS), and through the theme of “Raising Digital Makers”, explored the meaning of disability and the possibility of future jobs.
People with disabilities are estimated at about 7,880,000 (Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, 2013). Of these people, there are only 631,000 people working in organizations with more than 5 workers. Reasons such as lack of physical capacity and incongruous job content contribute to the lack of job opportunities for disabled people. Currently in 2017, while there has been an increase in employment for disabled people, the types of industries they can work in is limited, with little job variety to choose from. This has made it difficult for many people to utilize their individual abilities and the unique ways in which they express themselves in prospective jobs.
IoT (Internet of Things) is “a state in which all things are connected via the internet and can communicate with each other”, and many expect that it will create new relationships between people-people, people-things, and things-things, like never before. Fab (Fabrication), on the other hand, is about “new ways of making, created by the integration of internet and digital fabrication (computer-controlled manufacturing machine)”. Fab has a world-wide community, and is drawing attention as a technology that answers to each individual’s creativity.
The field of IoT and Fab is expected to show economic growth, as can be seen in the budgetary request of 330 million yen released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication in the year 2017. However, what we are looking for — as activists focusing on design, business, art and care — is to expand this technology to enable “new ways of making things and jobs for disabled people” and to “design a society that offers creative and dignified lifestyle choices for each individual”.
We have founded an institution named “Good Job! Center” in Kashiba city of Nara prefecture, working to create new jobs together with disabled people. In doing so, we make use of digital manufacturing machines such as laser cutters and 3D printers, and hold “Care and IoT Study Groups” with the cooperation of Keio University, Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences, and Kyoto University.
We have been honored to receive support from the Nippon Foundation, and an opportunity to expand our job-making project using IoT and Fab all over Japan. In the year 2017, our goal was to create community-based jobs in Fukuoka, Yamaguchi and Gifu prefectures, with the cooperation of engineers, designers and creators related to welfare facilities, IoT, and Fab.
[Tanpopo-no-ie (General Incorporated Foundation) The Office of IoT & Fab Project, Wataboshi-no-kai (Social Welfare Corporation) Good Job! Center KashibaGood Job! Center Kashiba “Disability and Future Jobs: IoT & Fab Project”, 2017]
We regularly upload and update our progress with the project here:
IoT, Fab and Welfare – Fukuoka (@IoTFabFukushiFukuoka)