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Disability Resource Centre


14th Annual Disability Lecture
Innovating Towards a More Inclusive Future

Saqib Shaikh, software engineer

Video and Transcript available -
YouTube video with subtitles also available -

Can inclusive design principals lead to greater innovation?

Saqib Shaikh, a software engineer at Microsoft, has personal experience of how technology has greatly improved his life, as someone who is visually impaired.

He described research at Microsoft to empower disabled people, and how he believes that innovations for a specialist group can lead to mainstream technologies, and thus create a more inclusive environment.


Saqib Shaikh is a software engineer, currently working for Microsoft, in the AI & Research group.

Having lost his sight at the age of 7, Shaikh was drawn to computers by the independence it gave him. He went on to read Computer Science at university, graduating top of his class.

During his 11 years at Microsoft, Shaikh has worked on a variety of products, and has assisted several groups with building more inclusive software. He continually tinkers on side-projects, often focusing on empowering people with visual impairments to do more.

Most recently, a project he started with like-minded colleagues, Seeing AI, was shown on stage with Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadell


Previous lectures


  • 13th Annual Disability Lecture 2016: Sue Kroeger - The Power of Design: Exclusion or Inclusion

  • 12th Annual Disability Lecture 2015: Jess Thom - Laughter as a Catalyst for Change​

  • 11th Annual Disability Lecture 2014: Dr Rachel Perkins - Creating Mentally Inclusive Communities: Embracing Distress as Part of Everyday Life

  • 10th Annual Disability Lecture 2013: Dame Ann Begg - Two steps forward, one step back: challenges to disabled people in 2013

  • 9th Annual Disability Lecture 2011: Dr. Nicola Martin - Disability Identity - Disability Pride

  • 8th Annual Disability Lecture 2010: Dr. Ross Cooper - Neurodiversity and Dyslexia

  • 7th Annual Disability Lecture 2009: Prof. Alan Roulstone - Disabled People and the Economic Downturn

  • 6th Annual Disability Lecture 2008: Baroness Jane Campbell - Fighting for a slice or for a bigger cake?

  • 5th Annual Disability Lecture 2007: Prof. Lewis Wolpert - Severe Depression is Indescribable

  • 4th Annual Disability Lecture 2006: Bert Massie CBE - Civil and Human Rights for Disabled People: The Future Agenda

  • 3rd Annual Disability Lecture 2005: Prof. Simon Baron-Cohen - Is Asperger Syndrome a Disability?

  • 2nd Annual Disability Lecture 2004: Dr. Tom Shakespeare - Can Genetics Solve the Disability Problem?

  • 1st Annual Disability Lecture 2003: Prof. Usha Goswami - A Cross-language Approach to Developmental Dyslexia