The public has long benefited from the utility brought about by accessible design. Many people don’t realize that the typewriter, sidewalk ramps, audiobooks and closed captioning were initially invented for people with disabilities. This highlights accessible design as a driver of innovation and not a compliance afterthought.

This innovation mindset was the idea behind our afternoon-long special event “How accessibility fuels innovation.” Hosted at our New York headquarters, the event featured a screening of the Emmy-winning documentary “When I Walk,” which follows Jason DaSilva’s diagnosis of primary progressive multiple sclerosis and his journey from cane to walker to wheelchair.

The film also shines a light on DaSilva’s frustration with inconsistent (at best) accessibility for his mobility devices. In response to these difficulties, he developed AXS Map, a user-generated database of accessible locations. This resource provides users with locations that they can edit with ratings, reviews and accessibility metrics.

“When we make the world more accessible, we not only create more inclusive communities and workplaces, we also ignite new ideas and inventions, which benefit everyone,” Alejandra Villagra, global head of Digital Experience Design and Digital Innovation, said in her opening remarks.

The event also featured a post-screening panel with DaSilva, Deb Mayers, accessibility co-lead for the firm’s new headquarters under construction in Manhattan, and Anthony Reynolds, head of business growth and entrepreneurship from the firm’s Office of Disability Inclusion. The wide-ranging discussion covered several themes, including DaSilva’s concerns about the uneven pace of accessibility accommodation in the decade since his film debuted.

There is a simple way I started to think about accessibility years ago when Jason and I first met. If there were places I could go that he couldn’t, there’s something to fix in there. If we all think about these issues more personally, obstacles to accessibility start to disappear.

Villagra made a strong point at the event, “We’ve all needed and will need accessibility accommodations in our lives. We did when we were children; we will as we age.”

Mayers backed this up with a sobering statistic: “One in four people—the Centers for Disease Control and prevention now says 27%—are disabled. That’s counting permanent disabilities and some temporary. At any point in time, any one of us can become disabled.” Reynolds noted, “Forty-six percent of people over age 60 end up with a disability. So, we need to think about the future and the present simultaneously, or we’re going to be putting ourselves in a tough position.”

After the panelists took questions from a global audience of the firm’s employees, the event concluded with an “Accessibility Expo,” featuring teams from across JPMorgan Chase showcasing the inclusive solutions, platforms and technologies the firm designs, develops and uses to advance accessibility.

Amplifying accessibility ambitions across hundreds of thousands of employees and millions of customers worldwide is an exceptional undertaking. “There are several high-performing teams working on solving different aspects of the accessibility equation,” Mayers said. “Success requires us to collaborate across borders, time zones and roles, working to keep accessibility at the forefront and ideating to ensure that user journeys are as seamless as possible in our digital and physical spaces.”

As the firm moves to raise awareness of accessibility challenges and optimize its solutions, DaSilva has some advice: “If you really build and create with people with disabilities in mind from the get-go, things get a lot easier. If you start from that place, your work will be a lot smoother. The ideal world would be one in which we didn’t need to use AXS Map and we would know that every place is fully accessible before we even got there.”