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Every Friday we share local innovation insights sourced from tw:in, our global trend community. Here’s this week’s Spot of the Week!

Brazilian beer brand Brahma Extra launched the Extraordinary Sommeliers project, a program training blind students as beer sommeliers. Partnering with the Dorina Nowill Foundation for the Blind and the IBC (Brazilian Beer Institute), Brahma Extra seeks to take advantage of its students’ enhanced senses of smell and taste, and create a career path for them. Registration began in April for the class, which will teach students beer history and sensory analysis.

tw:in member Catarina Moraes, based in Brazil, shared this innovation and her insights with us: “Almost 6.5 million Brazilians have some sort of visual impairment. Through this initiative, Brahma is using its own knowledge – on brewing and beer – to open professional doors for people with very limited access to the job market.”

This example should be hugely exciting to anyone who is struggling to articulate their brand purpose. Empowering disadvantaged members of society – especially through long-term career opportunities – is a powerful way to showcase your brand’s positive social impact. Similarly, the World Monuments Fund is teaching refugees historic restoration, while Samsung’s PizzaAut in Italy is empowering people with autism to manage restaurants.

But Brahma’s Extraordinary Sommeliers really stands out because instead of focusing on what its blind students can’t do, it turns their ‘disability’ into a positive by taking their enhanced senses and applying them to a relevant context. So when planning your next CSR initiative, ask your team this question: “Can we recognize, celebrate (and even utilize!) the unique skills and insights of those we’re empowering, in ways that perhaps others can’t?”

tw:in (TrendWatching’s Insight Network) is our private Slack community, where we share and discuss innovations with hundreds of passionate trend enthusiasts around the world. Sound interesting? Join us now!

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