Warwick tech expert named in world's 100 most influential people list

Robin Christopherson and his dog Archie outside 10 Downing Street. Photo supplied.
Robin Christopherson and his dog Archie outside 10 Downing Street. Photo supplied.

A tech expert from Warwick has been named in the world's 100 most influential people in digital government list.

Robin Christopherson MBE, who has lived in Warwick for more than 20 years, has been included in the second annual list of the World's 100 Most Influential People in Digital Government 2019.

Published by Apolitical the list recognises politicians, civil servants, academics, and activists making the biggest impact in digital government around the world.

There were more than 500 nominations received for the list, which celebrates high-profile icons working to further the process of digital transformation and illuminates those working behind the scenes whose efforts are driving government into the future.

Robin, who is blind, uses technology using speech output to access computers, the internet, his iPhone and other technologies that assist him in his work.

Robin’s career in technology started when he was an IT instructor for the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) and then became a founding member of AbilityNet in 1998.

As well as highlighting the business case for inclusion, Robin has often called for the proactive enforcement of equality legislation in his blog posts and through a busy public speaking schedule across Europe and around the world.

Robin said: "I am amazed and honoured to be included in this very prestigious list.

"For many years I have striven to ensure that government proactively provides digital services that are inclusive to everyone.

"The last hurdle is now to ensure that the law requiring organisations across all sectors create websites and apps that are easy to use by all is, in fact, enforced.

"Tech’s great – but when it’s opening doors for disabled people in work, in education and at home then it’s twice as magic.

"Over two decades of legislation and it's still left to disabled individuals to fight their own corners. Let's take things to a whole new level."

"I’ve worked in the area of digital inclusion for a long time now. Part of that work is serving on government committees and all-party parliamentary groups concerned with how tech can and should assist everyone in the UK.

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"I’ve long campaigned for the government to actively enforce the law when it comes to web and app accessibility (so that disabled people can use them along with everyone else) and, as it makes for better experiences for everyone, you’d have thought it was a no-brainer.

"However the extra little bit of effort seems to be too much trouble for many organisations and so we’re still very much pushing for the government to step in and issue fines (like Norway, Spain and Australia do, for example).

"Better apps and websites for everyone and disabled people get equal chances to participate in the digital world along with everyone else."

Robin received an MBE in the 2017 new year’s honours list in recognition for his services to digital inclusion.

The award was made in recognition of his personal contribution in promoting awareness of the need to provide digital products and services that are inclusive for disabled people.

Speaking about AbilityNet, Robin said: "My organisation, AbilityNet, helps individuals to get the tech they need to overcome any challenges they have.

"We also help organisations to make inclusive digital products.

"I’d like everyone to remember that tech has real power to help overcome people’s impairments and enable everyone to reach their full potential. Please contact us on 0800 269545 or on enquiries@abilitynet.org.uk and let’s talk tech."