Project in partnership with Applied Design Works

The Braille Institute of America (BIA) is a 100 year old institution, founded by a blinded cowboy named Atkinson in Southern California who went on to invent new Braille machines, a Braille library, build national awareness about blindness, plus create essentially community centers across SoCal to train the vision impaired to lead normal lives.

100 years later, total blindness now only impacts about 10% of their constituents, with aural and digital technology advances making ”Braille” somewhat (but not completely) irrelevant. The key problem is growing visual impairment among aging baby boomers (with diseases like diabetes contributing to the challenge) who will not learn Braille, yet need supportive help & training to lead independent, productive lives.

So the core question to us was, is the name of the institution no longer relevant or worse, a hindrance; what are its perceptions among the general populace and ophthalmologists, do we have to change the name anyway to be more contemporary and how do we maintain relevance as an organization that is being perceived as “past its prime?” How we resolved these issues should be clear from the presentation (attached).

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Learn About The Case: Presented at Boston University