About Kel Smith

I'm an experienced design leader, author, speaker and practitioner dedicated to extending human capability. I come from a family of teachers, artists and architects.

I own a consultancy called Anikto, whose purpose is to remove barriers separating people from the things they fundamentally need. Much of my work is in the disability sector, although my past and current interests include food justice, healthcare communications, web neutrality and affordable housing.

I'm an ex-Googler who has also worked with Johnson & Johnson, Quest Diagnostics, Havas Worldwide Health, Yellowbook, Glaxo Smith Kline, Novartis and several startups. I've led teams of up to 25 members and managed large-scale projects encompassing multiple vendors. I have no fear of spreadsheets, manual labor or coaching.

I'm currently an adjunct instructor at the Center for Innovation Education at Rutgers University and a volunteer mentor for Global Minimum. I also sit on the Board of Directors for Inglis Foundation, serving the Clinical Quality and Strategic Resources Committees.

In 2015 I was named an Oliver Russell "Change Maker" and interviewed as part of a series, now available as a published e-book. It spells out what I do and why I do it.

Writing & Speaking

Publications

I've written several articles that appear in various technology and business publications worldwide, including Springer Press and the Pentagon Library.

Cover of Kel Smith's book entitled Digital OutcastsMy book Digital Outcasts: Moving Technology Forward Without Leaving People Behind was published by Morgan Kaufmann in 2013 and received very nice reviews (including "Book of the Week" mentions on GoodReads, Amazon and ACM).

During a 2013 book signing in Chicago, copies of my book were stacked next to Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte. That was pretty neat, although by no means am I on par with Negroponte.

stacks of the book Digital Outcasts on a table

Cover of Kel Smith's upcoming book entitled Pixel PushersI have begun work on my next book, entitled Pixel Pushers, which will cover cyber-bullying, selfies, memes, trolling, body-shaming and other antisocial things people do online. It's a dark piece. Expected completion date is somewhere in the neighborhood of mid-2017. I created a blog to hold folks over.

Presentations

Since 2008 I've delivered public talks in over 100 cities spanning seven different countries, in front of audiences ranging in size from 15 to 1400 attendees.

Organizations who have hosted me as speaker include Google, Royal National Institute of the Blind, Stanford University, Unitech ICT Network, Ontario College of Art & Design, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Society for Technical Communication, National Federation for the Blind, World Future Society, Interational Society for Digital Earth, and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

After my appearance at CUSP Conference in Chicago, Julia Kuo did a lovely sketchnote summation of my presentation.

Chris Noessel of Cooper did a really cool sketchnote of me after attending my presentation in Dublin.

sketchnote of me

Aisle Won®

In 2013, I launched Aisle Won, a program that connects people living in low-economic areas to local sources of healthy, affordable food.

The first pilot took place in Baltimore in partnership with Real Food Farm, who saw a 540% increase in food assistance spending within eight months of launch.

The second Aisle Won pilot is currently taking place in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. The app accrued over a thousand downloads in 2014 and resulted in a 112% increase in food revenue the first month of activation.

Kel Smith presenting the Aisle Won concept in New Orleans

Beginning in 2015, a partnership with The Renaissance Project (funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation) allowed for expansion across the southeastern United States over a three-year period.

Aisle Won was named one of Baltimore Magazine's "favorite mobile apps" and was mentioned on WBAL Radio and Technically Baltimore. Aisle Won was also cited by the Austin Chronicle as a "future of food" innovation at SXSW 2014 and garnered a favorable review on The Food Tank.

Media Appearances

Every now and then, I'm asked to provide an expert opinion on something related to healthcare, technology or disability. I'm no expert but I do have opinions, so it's my pleasure to advance the cause of inclusive design for the greater social good.

In 2013 I was interviewed by CBC "The Current" (sort of Canada's version of NPR's "All Things Considered") on how human-based technology is changing life for people with disabilities.

Kel Smith being interviewed for Web Able TV

In 2013 I was interviewed by the Globe & Mail Canada on the future of healthcare accessibility.

After leading the team that won the Project Blue Button Health Design Challenge for "Best Lab Summary," I was interviewed by Healthcare Informatics about the importance of optimizing digital health records to benefit patients.

When I worked for a healthcare communications agency in 2011, I launched a digital innovation business unit dedicated to accessibility.

Following an appearance at SXSW, I was interviewed by Yahoo! Food on the role technology plays in relieving the problem of food deserts.

In early 2015, I was interviewed by Sarah McCool of TakePart about food deserts. Fun fact: I did the interview with a nasty respiratory infection that left me bedridden and only borderline coherent.

I delivered the 2012 Keynote Address for Knowbility AccessU and was interviewed by Omar Gallaga for the Austin American-Statesman

In 2013 I spoke at SXSW in 2013 and was interviewed by SXTX State, who voted my session a Top Five Pick

In 2012 I spoke at IxDA in Dublin, and Ariel Waldman took a photo of me presenting

I appear in Eva-Lotta Lamm's book of 2012 sketchnotes and Andy Pratt's book on interactive design theory.

The BBC once spelled my name wrong.

Contact

Best way to contact me is via the Anikto website. Please don't try to sell me anything. If you're a recruiter, perform your due diligence first.

Kel Smith presenting at the CUSP Conference in Chicago, October 2014

Videos

If you're interested in hearing me speak but don't want to be in the same room with me, behold the magic of the Internet: