Lawrence Fung MD PhD | Stanford | Assistant Professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences | child and adolescent
Nancy Doyle PhD | CEO Genius Within | Co Director centre for neurodiverse at work
Christy Clark Matta | Program Manager at Stanford University
Good morning. Welcome to day two of Stanford neuro diversity summit. We are going to have a very full schedule today. Morning. Welcome to day two of Stanford neuro diversity summit. Sorry, let's we are.
Okay. Let's start over. A little bit of a technical trouble. Welcome to the Stanford neuro diversity summit. This is day two. And we are going to have a full schedule today. After our keynote presentation by Dr. Nancy Doyle, we're going to have an employer session with several businesses. And then we're going to have a winner presentations from the neuro diversity design thinking workshops. And in the afternoon, we are going to have networking sessions. For those that are sign up for networking sessions, please go to your your your your zoom, meeting invitations instead of the webinar invitations, and you will be able to log on to the networking sessions. The afternoon after the networking sessions, we're going to have a mental health session. And then after that, we'll have a neuro diverse employees session. And at the end of the day, between six to seven, we'll have a starting your job search session by Jen Johnston, Tyler. So without further ado, let's actually, maybe I'll also mention that all the sessions are going to be recorded and transcribed. The recordings and transcripts will be available at a later time. We actually have the YouTube videos working. So if you're going to be wanting to view the sessions that you Miss, please check our website. And we may already have the YouTube videos for some of the sessions that you miss. We're doing it in real time. So definitely there's it is going to be an ongoing process. So work with us. There may be some delays sometimes, but the goal is to post our YouTube videos on our website at this point. All the questions from the audience will be submitted through the q&a function at the bottom of your screen. The moderators will try to cover as many questions as possible. Now it is my distinct pleasure to introduce Dr. Nancy Doyle. Dr. Doyle is a friend and she's really wonderful person that has made a big difference for the neuro diverse community for many, many years. Dr. Doyle is an industrial organizational psychologist and founder and owner of genius with me. A social enterprise dedicated to facilitating neuro diversity inclusion through consultancy, talent assessment workshops and coaching for businesses. Dr. Doyle works with customers in finance, technology, defense, as well as the unemployed and incarcerated working towards a future where all neuro minorities are able to maximize their potential and work to their strengths. Dr. Doyle has pioneered the work on positive assessment and is passionate about working towards a future where all neuro minorities will be able to maximize their potential and work to their streams using the organizational science of neuro diversity, evidence based solutions for individuals, teams and professionals. Dr. Doyle helped create and featured in both series of the award winning BBC Two series employable me and syndicated in 2019 In the USA as the employer boasts on end, where she supported a group of extraordinary, extraordinary job seekers to unlock their own unique talents and abilities, in order to secure employment.
Dr. Doyle delivered her trademark positive assessments and employable genius groups coaching with some extraordinary individuals as they search for work. The show has been incredibly successful in showing that neuro diversity should not be a barrier to employment. Dr. Doyle is a research fellow with Birkbeck University of London. Having completed her doctoral research at City University of London. Nancy advises NGOs, international and national civil servants and political groups on how to improve disability inclusion. Last year, she was recognized by the British psycho Psychological Society with an award for her contribution to policy impact, and occupational psychology. Dr. Doyle's keynote presentation is titled, The future of neuro inclusion beyond tokenism and towards a neuro diverse norm. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Doyle.
Thanks, and I'm enjoying the clapping that goes on after that the hand clapping is really good. Yeah. Okay, so I'm going to do a screen share. Just tell me if this is working properly. Yeah, that's all working great. Okay, lovely. Hi. That was a very long intro. I feel like that was like my whole CV. My whole resume has just been shared. And didn't mention that I am also a neuro minority myself. I have a diagnosis of ADHD, which happened in my late 30s. Like many women of my generation, ADHD was not an available condition. When I was a teenager, I had a different set of labels that I was allowed to associate with, like anxiety, and my all time favorite, which was school phobia. That was my favorite one. I really enjoyed that label. And yes, God went into my career in psychology, very passionate about inclusion in the workplace, and kind of fell into specializing in neuro diversity and disability, and realized that the ADHD label belonged to me as I progressed in that career, so thank you for that summary of Lawrence. And it's absolutely fabulous to be here. So yeah, so we're going to talk about where neurodiversity needs to go in terms of the the future of work. So I just want to give you a bit of a kind of potted background to how I've got to these conclusions. And and what I think we can do differently to make neurodiversity less stigmatizing in the workplace, and more normal and just more part of the way we do things around here. What I really want to talk about is systemic inclusion, and not so that means not inclusion, because we have to, by law, not inclusion, because we want to do a project, not inclusion, because we think it's a nice thing to do, but just inclusion as the norm, so neuro diversity as the norm, the full range of neuro diversity as norm. And just a little note on
what we're talking about. So we, you know, I noticed that the language is still evolving. And I think lots of people are coming from that from different places in this conference in this conference so far. So I just want to say that for me, the word neuro diversity is applying to the whole of the human species. And when I'm talking about neuro minorities, I tend to be talking about these conditions dyscalculia, dyslexia, ADHD, autistic spectrum condition, and we can also have mental health and acquired neuro diversity within that spectrum, because it's part of normal experience of being a human, though neuro typical, neurotypical, typical ism exists, but all of these things exist alongside neurotypical ism within the neuro diversity spectrum. And I particularly like this Venn diagram, please feel free to reuse it just always reference me and Mary, Callie, Mary Callie wrote the original version of this, but it was all of the all of the deficits. So she did a Venn diagram which I loved showing all of the Oh Relax. But she focused on all of the things which were problematic and associated with those various labels. And so I wrote one that was associated with all of the things that are positive associated with those, then a full list of the skills associated with various conditions is in the reference that's on the bottom left hand corner. So that's what we're talking about. So neuro minorities in terms of the workplace, and in terms of our modern systems, we started talking about neuro minorities around the around the 19th, to 20th century. So neuro minority as a thing, as kind of kept up with industrialization, when we became industrialized as our societies, we started noticing that not everybody could fit into that modern structure of how to work and learn. We started talking about things called Word blindness, which is what we used to call dyslexia. And the idea that some people just were blind to words, this very odd thing. What we didn't do is ask ourselves, is it normal to use 2d symbols to communicate? And actually, other people that are blind at least using 2d symbols to communicate, label to communicate using verbal comp, comprehension or body language or song? I mean, obviously, yes. So what we did is we started pathologizing people by the ways in which they couldn't fit in to our industrialized norms that as the industrialized norm became more and more fixed, so did the way that we were categorizing people that didn't fit into that their hyperkinetic child is one that can't sit still, for six hours a day, and nobody's going normal to sit down for six hours a day. Is that a normal thing? Is it well do we need to expect that of everybody. And then as we went into the mid to late 20th century, we got, we got clever about what we were calling people, we were still labeling people by the things that they couldn't do in relation to our industrialized norms. But we were, you know, we were making up lots and lots of science about it. One of the papers that I'm just in the middle of writing and publishing is a kind of look at the evidence base around all of these, these these these different conditions, with very excited about putting people into brain scanners and finding the bits that are broken, basically, that 62% of neurodiversity research is, is some form of neuro imaging, let's find the bits of the brain that are broken. We're assuming that if people don't fit into the industrialized norm, that they must be broken. And so we're looking for those broken bits. And that's when we get sort of more particular about talking about, you know, attention hyperactivity deficits, autism, and dyspraxia turning into developmental coordination disorder, and we're kind of you know, moving the language around a lot, but it's still very focused on on negatives. But what we're just at the cusp of right now in research, and it's really quite an exciting time to be in this field of research is just at the cusp of going well, actually, no, actually no, why is it normal for people to only communicate using 2d strings of symbols to only communicate whilst sitting down and utterly century out? And also, why is it normal for people to have to communicate in loud busy environments, and we're starting to realize that the social model of neuro diversity, and mirror minority is a thing. And we're starting to catch up with that in our research. So now in the 21st century, we talk about neuro diversity neuro divergence, neuro minority, we're looking at the brain in a slightly different way. So instead of trying to find locations of pieces that may be not quite working right or working differently, we're now kind of understanding the role of communication across a brain regions. The role of neurotransmitters like dopamine, noradrenaline, cortisol, and actually some of the most contemporary brain imaging studies are indicating that there's very, very little difference between what a what an ADHD and an autistic brain look like. And actually all of these things that we are currently calling conditions might be sort of symptom clusters. And within a neurological picture that is less about this bit doesn't work. And that bit doesn't work and is more about hypersensitivity. overspeed brains that are over sensitive brains that are under sensitive brains that are hyper connected brains that are less well connected. So we are in a massive flux of how we understand neurodiversity. And that's going to affect the way we do inclusion of work. And it's going to it's actually part of a huge paradigm shift around the way that we work and live anyway. So the other thing that I want to draw your attention to before we go into thinking about inclusion. So yeah, so just to summarize that point, and we've moving on from looking for things for things that are broken, and we're starting to understand that actually, the systems of normality that we've set are inflexible and we everyone has to stick to those might be the things that are odd, not necessarily the brains that don't quite work well in that environment. One of the most fascinating pieces of research that I ever came across was an imaging study, where they looked at Chinese dyslexic brains and English speaking dyslexic brains. And they found that completely different parts of the brain were implicated. Because of course they are, because you need completely different parts of the brain to process the Chinese language to the English language. One is an almost exclusively visual structure. And one is sort of quite badly phonetic. And by badly phonetic, I mean, let's just think about the word phonetic and the letter F. Not quite right as it. So you know, that's where we've got this thing around, you know, actually, we've got a certain type of brain that doesn't fit into a certain type of structure around it. So we're looking much more at the structures. And when we start to look much more structures in which neurodiversity sits, as well as kind of being in this switch between the medical model and the social model, understanding, as well as looking at misdiagnosis and how overlap between conditions is actually the norm, not the exception. And autistic people are very likely to have traits that are associated with developmental coordination disorder. And actually, lots of around 60% of people with Tourette Syndrome also are clinically diagnosed with ADHD. So we've got all of these different overlaps. And what are we actually talking about here. So that's one thing that's happening, there's a sort of, you know, overlapping influences within the field. But we've also really started to get better about our understanding of gender, and how race and ethnicity affect diagnosis rates. And I was so so pleased to see that the session yesterday, if you didn't see it, you absolutely have to catch up on video, when it comes out in a few weeks time. It was phenomenal. It was such a deep understanding of how people of color people from communities marginalized by color, and race, and poverty are missing diagnosed. diagnosis. And I think that's a really, really important point. Because what it means is that having a diagnosis of a neuro minority condition is a diagnosis of privilege. So people who already have privilege are getting the diagnosis, people who do not have privilege are not getting the diagnosis. And this obviously affects gender as well. And it can affect both. So when we come to think of levels of inclusion, that you're operating in society right now, we start with the idea of exclusion. And lots of people spoke yesterday about this about the employment rates for autistic people, the employment about the Disability Employment gap in general. And we know that we have a huge current picture of exclusion, we are currently living in an exclusive society, something or somewhere around the region of 25 to 50% of the prison population have ADHD. And depending on which country are in, there aren't enough good studies of how many of the of how much of the prison population also would classify as as autistic. But we're getting there. And at least 50% of the prison population are illiterate. So we know that exclusion is the norm. And we know that that exclusion is reinforced by intersectional, structural forces that will have affected whether or not you've got diagnosed or whether or not you actually just got told you how to conduct disorder, or an anxiety disorder, or whether your behavior was assumed to be willful, and some sort of moral character deficit, as opposed to a cognitive difference that was your ability to communicate, concentrate or learn. That's it. That's it that I mean that To be honest, I'm still there, I'm still in that space of working in that space. You know, 50 50% of what genius within does, is around improving employment outcomes for people who are marginalized and from marginalized communities. And we do a really good job of that, you know, we break all the all of the contract targets for how many people were supposed to be getting into work. But until we've changed the system around that, that job is not going anywhere. So the next level of inclusion is the kind of compliance level it's when people are aware that there are some legal things that they have to do differently. So we're aware that we've got these school and work systems that are demanding a very specific type of communication. And what we're saying is if you don't fit into that specific type of communication, we will make an allowance for you. We know we have to because you have a disabling condition. So we know we have to make an allowance for you. We'll make an accommodation or an adjustment. We might let you have some assistive technology. We might let you have a bit of coaching. We We might let you come late or avoid rush hour, we might let you do a bit of flexible working. But what we're not going to do is change our systems. So we're assuming that the systems are fixed, and that the individual can be flexible around this, I'm supporting a friend with them an educational plan for her autistic child. And the, their plan was written about kind of, you know, the teachers have to make sure he doesn't have sensory overwhelm. And it's like, right, well, how are they actually going to do that? in a class of 30? People? Well, he has to learn how to cope with those environments. Does he? Does he chili as an adult? Is he going to have to put himself in those environments for the whole of his working week? No, he is not. But the idea that you could let a child not come into school, does not compute, does not compute. So that the compliance level is when we fix, we fix the problem around the individual. And we don't look at ourselves. This is what we're doing at the moment. It I think we're doing deliberate inclusion. And I think what neuro diversity at work movements have done so far is, is excellent. So this is this is the paradigm shift starting this is the beginning of the autism at work program, where instead of saying, right, well, we can see you a little bit broken. So we'll help you with the broken things. We said, Oh, okay, oh, there might be some benefits to having a neuro minority condition, or some people have really good strengths, that have neuro minority conditions, I wonder if we could sort of, you know, deliberately bring in people who have those things would be awesome. Let's do that. And so then we've got these kind of deliberate inclusion programs. But we're still kind of keeping people segregated from the rest of the business. It's not full inclusion yet. And I will explain more about that. And I think when we where we should be heading and what we all should be focused on as a community is how do we get systemic inclusion for all the neuro neuro diversity movement doesn't stand alone, it's not the only thing changing about our society right now. Technology is changing the way that we live, work, and communicate and learn. And the pandemic has changed a whole bunch of stuff, our financial systems are in flux are our systems of professional status are in flux, there's more universal access to knowledge than there has ever been before. The lots of our systems are breaking down. And as we're breaking and remaking these systems, how can we build them so that there is inclusion for all and we don't have to make a special request if we need something slightly different.
So just to focus on this to focus on the deliberate inclusion thing for a moment, I think it's time we move this paradigm on. And one of the reasons that I think that is that we already know that if you have an autism diagnosis, that is a diagnosis of privilege. So it feels to me. And I'm in the middle of doing some research to find out whether this hunches, evidence based, or whether it's just me having a rant. But one of the things I'm noticing is that a lot of the autism at work programs focus on quite male dominated roles, and for quite well resourced people. And what I'm wondering is, how do we Co Op them to make them more intersectional? How do we co OPT the idea of deliberate inclusion so that we deliver, really go out to communities that have been marginalized, rather than kind of up slicing, and I've done quite a bit of exploring around different diversity and inclusion obviously, is much wider than neuro diversity in it, you know, there's huge amounts of work effort, research, energy, pouring into things like gender equity and racial equity in the workplace. And so I've been kind of digging around in those research fields, to find nuggets of information that I could bought a portable principle that I could borrow. And I'm not finding systemic inclusion, I'm still not finding it. There's this kind of sense of, there's this sense that, you know, what we need to do is put some mentoring programs in place, and we'll do some unconscious bias training so that people's awareness is better of what's of what can you know, what might be going on for people, but those things aren't really working. They've been around for almost as long as disability legislation, and they're not working either. I think that all DNI is still in the compliance space. It's not in the systemic space. And we might be having deliberate inclusion programs in that space as well. We might have a specific attempt to, to, you know, recruit a certain type of person, but we haven't got systemic inclusion. Somebody's microphone is on that isn't mine. I'm not sure whose that is. And, okay.
So the thing that no one will do is change the exam. So this cartoon here is a bird, a monkey, a penguin, an elephant, fish sale a dog. And they are all having to take the same exam, which is to climb that tree. And this is the thing that we're not doing in our workplaces, in our education systems, we're giving people help to climb the trace was saying, alright, so you need to climb the trees, what we'll do is we'll build a little ramp, and then the penguin and the sail can get up there. And we'll build a little step process so that the dog can get up there. And we'll make a raising platform so that the elephant can get up. So we're doing these things. But what we're not saying is, is the tree climbing exam, the right thing? How do we know that the tree climbing exam will actually create good employees? We don't know that. We don't know that the tree climbing exam will make good employees. In fact, we've got lots of evidence to suggest the opposite. So when we have autism at work programs, the reason we have them is because autistic people aren't getting through the standard recruitment exercises that we've put in place in large companies. But the kind of people that are on the Autism at work programs are the kind of people that would apply anyway, a lot of the companies that work in that field, employ people with degrees and experience. So they already have the right skills for that field is just that they can't do interviews. And so because we can't do interviews, we've made a special program for them. But surely what that special program actually says, because now they're in the job, they're doing the job, and they're doing it well. So surely the lesson should be our recruitment processes were rubbish. Our recruitment processes meant that we kept getting people that we thought would be good at the job. But actually, we were missing a whole bunch of people with thought will be good at the job. So let's say that the job of this cartoon is to get apples stopped to climb the trees to get apples. So I can think of other ways you can get apples, the elephant might be really, really good at it, it might not the whole tree down all the apples fall down, that the elephant might be better and quicker and more efficient than the monkey. But because we've set up this climb the tree barrier, we're actually slightly far away from measuring the performance that we actually need to measure. And as a result, we've created a systemic barrier. So what I'm going to do now is I'm gonna play a little video, and I often denied about playing this video because it's actually an advert for genius within which is, I should just say genius within as a social enterprise. We are 60% disabled is within and on our board, we only have one neurotypical and we are asked to total neurotypical and we allow her to have mentoring, just spiffs specific mentoring programs for being a neurotypical. And we're a social enterprise and we do pro bono work. So that's my kind of argument for doing a little bit of a salesy thing and kind of talking to you about what genius within does. But I want to show you the video because the animation makes the point that I'm trying to make. I'm going to press play, and hopefully the technology will not fail us. Enjoy.
Our passion is neurodiversity. What's next, the neuro diversity inclusion at work adds genius within. We want to help you evolve your business processes to match your aspirations and neuro diverse talent potential.
Many leading companies have started to recruit near minorities and disabled people for specific jobs, hiring groups of autistic coders or telephone operatives with sight loss. were recognizing the value of specialists thinkers on cognitive diversity. This is awesome, but it's just the start,
we need to make sure that we create the effect of scaffold that do our legal duties and break down hidden barriers that make all their new recruits bank. To date, businesses have invested in disability support as an individual level delivered to one person at a time over and over again. Oftentimes, we wait for people to fail. And then we are planning to fix but the conditions that created the problem in the first place are not changed
a genius with him. We want to flip the system and create an inclusive approach so that everyone can work at their best. Our solutions allow you to analyze pinch points, themes and obstacles, making sure that if you clear a path for one, you open the way for everybody. We call this next level neurodiversity. We know
that the right adjustments make the difference between unleashing neuro talent and failed token projects. Our tools build strength and progress into performance management, making it easier to achieve jobs quick and deliver these systemically without reliance on time consuming and expensive assessments.
We know that inclusion isn't a one size fits all approach, but there are actually a lot of common issues which you can resolve at the company level. Over 10 years. We have built up a deep knowledge and have evaluated 1000s of data points that are clear cost benefits to next level, our clients typically experienced 25% drop in adjustment costs in the first year.
But there are also huge savings that come with, there were staff turnover, or reduction in conflict, less time off sick, improved well being higher levels of employee engagement, and greater productivity.
In short, there is a clear economic and competitive advantage to introducing systemic inclusion, genius within can deliver evidence based solutions that are both universal in design and inclusive and approach. And now we invite you to join us at the next level.
Okay, so I've been called militant recently for saying this. So what I'm trying to say is that we've been approaching this all the wrong way, we've been approaching this at the individual level, and we need to approach it at the system level. So in the course of running these programs and working in the compliance based field, what we've been noticing over the last the last few years is that the problems people have are the same over and over and over again. And they're not related to the condition that they have. So some of the latest research from the Cambridge cognition and Bryant Brain Sciences unit has found that, that what people are diagnosed within the labor they have is kind of irrelevant when you then look at their cognitive ability profile and what they can do and not do. And so again, so just as we're kind of losing the labels, scientifically, I think we need to start losing the labels in the workplace as well. Because in the workplace, what we should really be focusing on is how can we support you to work at your best irrelevant of what labor you have? Or don't have? How can we make sure that the recruitment huge routes that we use are direction you are directing people into the right roles? How can we make sure that the roles we've got are designed to, to accommodate to to create the best final performance, right in the workplace will support you if you've got a golden ticket, you need a golden ticket, and your golden ticket is is a diagnosis that you can wave around, that means that we are allowed to be flexible for you, but we're not going to be flexible for anybody else. And actually, that doesn't really work. And that's not systemic and it's not inclusive, it means that only the people with the golden ticket, get the help they need. And actually lots of people could benefit from a more flexible way, same child that I mentioned earlier, you know, in this educational plan, this child's goal, he's got goals of learning to wear a tie and goals of learning to get engaged in a classroom and goals, that hygiene It must be a non negotiable factor. And no one is kind of looking at what all behavior is communication, what could be going on for this individual who actually is incredibly bright, and a published poet, but is failing every single class because simply cannot learn in a large environment and is never going to have to work in one. So given that he never has to work in one. Why does he have to learn to study in one doesn't make any sense to me at all. So the stuff that is new? To me, the stuff that I'm just working on at the moment, is the idea of universal design. So universal design is a set of principles created by technology developers. It's what they go through when they're developing technology, they think, right? How do we make this universally designed? It's actually also a point of law. So the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is the basis for disability legislation in most developed economies, including the USA, Australia, and the UK, talks about two things, it talks about making accommodations, and it talks about universal design. And I feel like we make accommodations, but we're not doing universal design. So I had a look at what the software engineers do. And they've got these seven principles, equitable use flexibility and use simple intuitive use perceptual perceptual information, tolerance, forever error, low physical effort, space size approach. And what I'm trying to do at the moment is apply those principles to human resources. The How can you have flexibility in your performance management process? How can you have flexibility in your recruitment and all of these images, I was trying to work out the images to go in there and they're all trees because the point is, is that it's not about climbing the tree or even just picking the apples there are a million ways in which we as a species and and in organizations need to praise consider relate to and, and use the tree. So there's, there's a lot of diversity in what we need to do. And we need to allow our processes of finding the right people appointing them, managing them, supporting them, to also be flexible and to build around it. What people need? So so what I always ask myself this question, this is my favorite question. So what? So what?
What are we going to do with this information? And and I just think at the moment, we've got so many gaps in so many opportunities to really make a difference in this space. If I start with what I want to do in the workplace and educate, and eventually education, although I have to be a little bit resistant of working in education, because a workplace specialist, not an educational specialist, and I on my high horse all the time about people working in the workplace without any workplace training. So I need to be careful not to hoist myself by my own petard and go working in education. But the thing we need to start doing is paring down the rules that don't work. Why open plan offices? Why open plan classrooms? Why efficiency are all costs, resources are scarce, not scarce, not money, money doesn't really exist. Money is made up by governments. And actually, if you look at economics right now, you'll see that that's true. The IMF, as reported by the financial times this week, has told all governments to spend their way out of the pandemic, they are literally creating money to fix this problem. So, you know, we've got this and this, this kind of relates to what Judy was saying last night. And the reason I love working with Judy, is because she really challenges me to think about something that has been quite medical, medically dominated within psychology and education, and human resources challenges me to think about it from a political standpoint, and from within this notion of, of capitalism, that the ultimate goal is to be as productive as possible. Why Why is that the ultimate goal? And Is that normal? And is that are there actually other ways of relating to each other as humans, that once we've started to do that in the workplace, which we are doing, you know, it is happening, these, the programs that we see that are deliberate are seeding these ideas, and they are growing and taking root, and it's very awesome. But I think we need to still come back to academia and say, right, what's working? That's the point where we start to evaluate it and say, is it working doing it differently? Or do we have more inclusion as a result? I think that the thing, the counting thing that we do, where we count how many disabled people, and we count how many people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds and we count how many women versus men, you know, those things are not interventions in and of themselves, they are data. But they're the results of what we do in the organization, they're not the thing that we should be targeting as the first incident. So let's pack it back. And actually, if we start to make more flexible human resource systems, and we apply universal design principles, to the way that we set up our processes in workplaces, will we automatically start improving the representation in our employee base?
And then I think academia really still needs to ask itself, where is the bias? I mean, as I said to you, I've got this paper that I'm in the middle of publishing, which indicated that 62% of neuro minority related papers are published in the not in the neuroscience paradigm. The neuroscience paradigm is all very interesting, but it doesn't tell us anything about what to do. You know, we don't know how to fix problems for people who are neuro minority and are currently incarcerated or at risk of incarceration or failing, failing every exam, despite having a verbal IQ of 140. You know, that's, those are the answers we need. And I don't think we're going to get those answers from neuroscience neuroscience, to me is a little bit like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But what neuroscience will tell us over and over and over again, is that the brain is a reflection of the environment that the human lived in. And so we can study the brain all we want, but actually, it's the environments that are making the brain not the brains that are making the environment to a large degree. And so there's an enormous amount of flexibility with those brains. And when we find the right contract contexts in which people can thrive, then what we find is that those brains also you can see that you know, lower cortisol levels and, and generally less stress. So, at the moment, my academic pursuits are linked to the University of London's we're starting a research practice Alliance center. And we're just forming our first studies at the moment. And I'm actually had this weekend a fantastic idea for a new study with a colleague of mine Whitney Isles, who runs a company called Project 507. And she works with communities that are marginalized by systemic violence, and she works in a way that promotes peace, learning and community education. And she herself is an undiagnosed autistic woman. And she's of mixed race. And she and I talk a lot about what difference would it have made having a diagnosis when you were younger? What difference would it make For people to know why they don't fit into those, those standardized systems and to have a kind of rationale for it and the answer. So I think our first project is going to be understanding what's happening for young men and women, in communities marginalized by poverty, who haven't had access to the privilege of diagnosis. And we're going to do a qualitative study, by investing some money and getting diagnoses for the people who need it. And then tracking what happens for their, for their, for their, for their sense of self for their identity. And what I imagine based on my own experience, and the experience of the 1000s of people that we've worked with, that I've worked with, personally, hundreds of people, it'll be around catharsis and vindication around understanding that the reason that you find things difficult is not because you weren't trying hard enough, but it's because literally, your brain doesn't work so fast in that area. And you have a difficulty in this particular aspect of living, but not in that aspect to go and do those things. What I'm hoping that with that catharsis and vindication will come probably a little bit of annoyance, you know, why didn't I know this years ago, it would have been so different if that's a very typical human reaction that I've seen a lot. But what I'm hoping will happen next is the engagement of hope, and ambition. And then we're working at the moment with companies in the UK specifically and hoping to do this more widespread around looking at this specific internship programs that are available, not not because you have a label, but because you come from a community that wouldn't normally have access to your business. And so actually working with those individuals getting the diagnosis, trying to understand the identity transition that occurs, and then putting people in environments where they could thrive, as opposed to roll. So that plan, oops, I've gone on one onto one too far. And so bringing that back to society, bringing that back to the bigger paradigm shift,
that I think we're in, you know, we are, we are in a way, where we've been in society with the Industrial Revolution and modern modernity, and is in this space where environments are fixed, and people are in categories. And we do this everywhere, you know, it's not just neuro minorities, we, you know, has anyone ever had to do the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, you know? Or has anyone ever been told that they're a visual learner or an auditory learner? You know, we get very excited about putting people into categories. And the reality is, is it's way, way, way more nuanced than that. And so just as intersectional theory has come up into, into identity politics, and and what we know about inclusion in that respect, neuro diversity is coming up into what we used to call neurodevelopmental disorders. Technology is changing things so that our experience of knowledge becomes more personalized. And so we're shifting from this kind of fixed categorical way of thinking about things into a more flexible and continuous spectrum where things can move around. And if you look at movements, like personalized medicine, you know, it used to be that the medicine you got was based on what is likely to work for the most people, and you would get the dose that was right for the average person. And now what we're starting to do is personalize treatment protocols according to the individual that we see before them. And when that's happening in medicine, we need to do it in management. So what's wrong with our workplaces in our education is that they're still fixed, these very industrialized norms that the rest of the world is moving on. And I think that the neurodiversity paradigm is a way of pushing and advocating for that more flexible, universal design. And I just want to leave you with this final thought, which is that inclusion is a moral, social, and economic imperative, and we all lose when human potential is squandered. And now I am open for questions. And I believe I'm perfectly on time.
Thank you so much, Nancy. And you are perfectly on time. That is correct. So we have some time for questions, which is wonderful. And we have had some active engagement in the q&a. People are quite interested and love your visuals. Right? Yes. Yeah. It's great to put something in, in a visual form the concepts. We had a couple questions about the Chinese in English dyslexia study that you had mentioned. And one question was just, is it possible to get the names of the authors of the study that you had
talked about? Yep. I've just typed it in the thing. I See that one sock is the soil get owl is one of the papers. And Bertram Oh Pitts did the other one. But I can't remember exactly how to spell his name. But if you look for the sign off paper, s I okay. And then OPEX, I think is o p i t Zed. I know he's German. I've met him. I actually borrowed a book from him. And I never got it back to him, he left the country. And we're back to Germany. And I feel very bad about that. So if you're out there, but it's I'm very sorry, I still have your book on repeat repeated transcranial magnetic stimulation. And I also also I haven't read it even worse.
Alright. Well, thank you. I hopefully that will help people to find to find that research. And another question on related to that study, is, when you mentioned the brain imaging in the Chinese and English language speakers, are you mainly referring to the processing of written language? And not of spoken language? And are different agents?
Yes, 100%. So what we have to remember, you know, linguists are still arguing about whether or not spoken language is an innate capacity in the same way that walking is, or whether it's a learned behavior. Okay, so we still haven't decided that? Well, what we do know from an evolutionary perspective is that our brains are evolved to speak. So that the idea of the spoken language, we do understand how that happens in the brain, we understand how it's developed, we know that there are very, very specific regions of the brain involved in that. And we know what happens when you lose those regions of the brain or when you don't develop normally in those regions of the brain or they're not stimulated, because your death, you know, those we've got those kinds of things now down. But the written language is new, we've only been doing it for a few 100 years on a really solid basis. You know, if you think about it, 1000 years ago, there were very, very few people who would read and write, reading and writing was the preserve of scholars, and religious leaders, it wasn't something that your everyday person did, that our brains simply aren't evolved for writing and reading written literacy is is new. And, you know, so therefore, in order to do it, we have to borrow other bits of the brain that were involved for different purposes. And there's more than one of those involved, you know, so if you're reading Chinese, it has an orthographic structure, you're looking at images and how they are positioned and how you know the angles of certain lines. Whereas if you're reading English, then you're having to connect an orthographic image to a sound and sound, you know, do sounding out stuff. You know, there's some, there's an argument to say that dyslexia will cease to exist in the next 10 years, because we simply don't need to read and write anymore. We've got entire school systems organized around teaching literacy. But all of us have got smartphones, and I can talk into this phone, and it will start writing what I talk. And also, I can press a button, and it'll start speaking out what's written there. So reading is potentially a transition technology is not something I've been some of you, and it might not be something that we need. It's just a way of storing information.
Okay, thank you. Fascinating. So there are some questions related to just some of the policy and and change that you had discussed. So one is thank you so much for your wonderful presentation. I was wondering what needs to change at policy regulation level, besides the convention to facilitate widespread adoption of this approach?
widespread adoption is? Well, I don't think that we know the answer to that yet. Um, yeah. And having won that award for policy impact, I think we should probably try and work that out. You know, I've made lots of policy recommendations not. But but the the things that I would like to work on is the idea of universal design, and flexibility built into our system where we start with, how can we support you to work at your best, as opposed to these are the things that you must learn now go and learn them? You know, we've got to we've got to flip that narrative. That's why I like that, that animation, the reason I want to play it for you, is that particular bit where we flip it upside down. And we start thinking about what we need as a society and what we've got and what we can do, and how we can enable the people within the society to work at their best or to learn at their best and to meet their foot and achieve their full potential rather than, you know, deciding in advance what we're going to need and then and then backfilling it without any new ones.
Thank you, and this is a related question. This one is asking for some eggs. Examples of neuro inclusive shifts that you are seeing in the workplace,
your inclusive shifts, and well, the fact that we can all work remotely. I say all those of us in in very kind of middle class, professional roles can all work remotely. Now, that's all that's just all changed overnight. I am I write a Forbes column. And my most popular Forbes column to date was called we are all disabled. Now how the social model has held their pandemic has proven the social model of disability. And the so that shift to remote working happened overnight. And for decipher a lot of disabled people, not just neuro minorities who've been asking for remote working as a disability accommodation for the last 20 years. It just revolutionized people's ability to work at their best. Not everybody is a winner in that situation. You know, those of us that are extroverts we like people to bounce ideas off, are struggling. But those of us who are more introverted and prefer to left on our own. I've got a friend who works in one of the tech companies and he's autistic. And he said to me, since no one actually I wish everybody would stop moaning about all of this pandemic stuff. I've been doing it for years, it's really easy. You just work at home and you just get on with it. You said, Yeah, my only trouble now is that my diary is absolutely full of extroverts wanting video calls, you know, will they all just go away and leave me alone? But yeah, so I think that shift working is one of the ways the ubiquitous assistive technology is the other one, you know, I mean, look what's happening right now I'm speaking. And PowerPoint is typing out what I say. That's it. That's amazing. So what Microsoft are doing by building accessibility features into all of their programs, as standard is absolutely top work on the universal design front. How do we need to do that with the way that we relate to each other as well? How do we get more flexible about our about our behavioral norms and our communication norms? You know, the, I like to play a game called making up pathological names for neurotypical issues, you know, like, so it's back on that riff of maybe reading as a transition technology, maybe sitting down to concentrators to, you know, maybe in 10 years time, people are going to be suffering from sensory dependent concentration disorder. So they can only think properly, if they're sitting still. They can't think properly if they're walking between meetings, or on a train or going for a run and like, what's the matter with you, you can only think when you sit down grief, that's really weird. And maybe people will have hyper social creativity deficit, which is that, you know, they can only think of good ideas when they're talking to people, instead of thinking of good ideas on their own, you know, so. So I think these are the things that are starting to shift. And because they're shifting so fast, technologically, they are affecting the workplace really beautifully, and really much more quickly, particularly in certain sectors like finance and finance. But we aren't filtering them down into our schools. So not only are we ensuring that the children who can't flex away from the, you know, the sitting down in a loud environment, creating 2d code to demonstrate everything that you know, those children are not only struggling with their learning, but we're not preparing them for the workplace, because that's not how work places work anymore. Yeah.
And sort of continuing with this theme of systemic approach. We have a question, what is the reaction of businesses to your systemic change approach?
Well, I've as I said, I've been called militant lately. scraped, did quit, that's a genuine thing. You know, someone said, Oh, Nancy, you know, you don't always get invited to conferences, because you can be a bit militant. I'm not okay. And then chatting with my lovely friend Whitney, who I work with, she says, You do realize that you making a joke about that is white privilege, Nancy. So you know, I know. So I'm doing I'm giving it a feminist critique in a kind of, well, actually, half of me is quite happy to be militant. But the reason half of me is happy to be militant is because it's not really slur in my in to the same extent, but the thing I do question is, you know, are there any men who run nonprofit, disabled owned and run and led disability inclusion focused social enterprises who get called militant, when they feel passionately about their ideas and change demand get called militant, when what they're doing is fighting for inclusion and people's rights? Or do they get called empathetic when they're doing that? So there's, you know, I that's why I keep riffing on it because it's, it holds so much the fact that so so yeah, but that's not all of them. You know, I do go to conferences. I go to conferences a lot. This is my third this week. And lots of businesses are genuinely interested in the untapped talent pool, not just associated with certain labels. But generally, and people are also highly motivated by social justice. A lot of the HR people and DNI people that I interact with are really motivated by the idea of social justice, which is awesome. But it's hard to change, you know, we're resistant to change evolution, really, our evolutionary advantage as a species is, is adaptability, we can adapt to all these different climates and, and current conditions, you know, we can live on mountains we can live in, in swamps, we can live in cold places, we can live in hot places, but for some reason, we're stuck with our industrialized, modern norms, and we're finding it quite hard to evolve out of them. But I think we'll get there I genuinely do. I think the neurodiversity movement will help us get there. That's why I'm so excited to be part of it. Because I think it pushes, it pushes those buttons, it forces us to question what we think is normal. I grew up with an American parent and a British parent, half my family from New Jersey. And I like to joke that I don't have ADHD in New Jersey, you know, the only reason I have ADHD at all is because my personality and genetics were raised in the English in English kind of society. And one of the things you learn if you if you come from different continents in different cultures, is that lots of things that people think are the rules actually just made up? So it's not true that when people ask you how you are, you have to say, Fine, it's not true. You don't have to, you can actually tell them how you genuinely are. And, and no one will, no one will fall to pieces when that happens. So but in British society, lots of people think that that is the law. And if you if someone says to you, how are you and you don't say, I'm fine, then you know, that'll be the end of modern, modern life. And so in those two kind of comparisons, what British people call politeness, Americans call insincerity. And British people don't realize that when Americans say Have a nice day, they actually mean it. Usually they're okay Have a nice day, I'm really happy for you go in and go and enjoy yourself. Whereas if a British person said that they would, it would be insincere. So I think, yeah, I've gone off on a tangent because stop, write it back in.
related to change, though, related to systemic change and large, larger systems, we've we've gone up to cultural systems. One final question. You mentioned appraisal systems. And we've got a question here is, can you say something about how appraisal systems should work for non minority, neuro minority minorities?
I think what we should really be asking is how appraisal systems should work. neuro minorities or neurotypicals? I don't think any of you know, I mean, I've, I've been studying industrial organizational psychology since the late 1990s. And yeah, they don't work. So what we know about human motivation and human motivating behavior, is that formal appraisal systems don't do it, they do not do it. Mainly because people don't know how to give and receive feedback properly. And we make value judgments and we make assumptive value judgments. So we'll we'll say that somebody will assume that an area of performance that we feel is weak is a cause that person doesn't care about that bit, or that they're not trying hard enough, or that, you know, they don't, they don't care about it. But actually, they may just not have thought about it like that, or they might not have the skills or they might actually be working really, really, really hard on that. But you don't know. And so, you know, because we base our appraisal of performance management systems on on inferences and interpretations of behavior. They don't work for anyone. So one of the things we do a genius within when we're doing performance management stuff is we come in and we teach everyone to dial it back to what they've actually seen and heard. And there was one case where a guy they were in court and going to court for disability discrimination, and something and we dialed it back and back. But what did you see or hear that let you know that and, okay, so when when you thought that what was actually happening, and I have an example of what that person actually did or said, and what we tracked it back to was a point where this man had lingered in a doorway threateningly. So to an autistic man had lingered in a doorway threateningly, the notice the threateningly so as you guys know, because you're neurodiversity literate, lingering in a doorway and not moving out of the way quickly enough, is a very socially contextualized behavior and That is likely Oh, oh, sorry, did you want to walk past I didn't realize didn't pick up signals that the manager wanted to walk past him. So it didn't move out of the way until expressly asked. But this was considered threatening behavior. Because this person had gone off and done a Google search, and found some nonsense about autism and violence. And this is why we need to start again with the academics of autism just start again. And but because they found some nonsense about that, every thing from that moment on was cast through the shadow of an interpretation or performance or behavior or communication was passed through this shadow. And so what was actually happening was lost an eye all performance management systems need that not just the neuro diverse new minorities, if we can fix it for newer minorities, by telling people we have to because they're protected, legally protected conditions, we might end up fixing it for everybody and making a lot of people very happy.
Yeah, that's a really compelling example. Thank you so much. We are out of time now. So I'm going to turn it back to Dr. Fung. But this was fascinating. And and thank you so much.
Thank you, Nancy. You're a very effective militant in our neuro diversity community. And because of that, we will make progress. Oh, you're always welcome to come back to our conference year after year.
Thank you very much for having me.
And looking forward to more collaborations too. So in the next 15 or 13 minutes, we're going to take a break and at 945 we're going to start to employ a panel. So see you in a few minutes.
Okay mark, we can start Okay.
Welcome to Stanford and your neuro diversity summit. Some of you may have participated all along in the summit. For those of you who just joined in, welcome. We would like to let you know that all sessions are recorded and transcribed. Please check our summit website for YouTube videos. All questions from the audience will be submitted through the q&a function at the bottom of your screen. The moderators will try to cover as many questions as possible. And now I would like to introduce our panelists. First, I would like you to introduce Kathleen Farley Hughes. Kathleen is the founder and executive director of edX cafe. It's a nonprofit social enterprise in Palo Alto with a mission to hire, train, elevate and empower its employees. And plus, it's a really good cafe. Next person who I'd like to introduce is Anna Brunel. Anna is a mentor of coach, a partner and educator and leader. She has 20 plus years of experience in software development and quality assurance and even more in personnel and program management. Next person I'd like to introduce is Rebecca beam. Rebecca is a president of Oregon us driving regional growth for the company domestically. Rebecca his career has included senior leadership roles sourcing and developing human capital with high demand skill sets for the area's leading tech firms, including fortune 500, such as Universal Pictures Warner Brothers and Sony. Next person I'd like to introduce is Bill Morris. Bill is the co founder of Blue Star recyclers in 2009, after discovering people with autism possess innate skill for tasks involved in recycling of electronics. Based in Colorado, Blue Star is an award winning social enterprise with a mission of recycling electronics to create jobs for people with disabilities. Next person who I'd like to introduce is Nish PR. Rick Nash is the CEO and co founder of Wrangham Nash is a collaborator in an inventor and technology architect who develops holistic Workforce Solutions for Wrangham and its customers by aligning their disability and your diversity inclusion strategies with current and future talent acquisition needs. Next person I would like to introduce I'm not sure if brijesh Let's see. Yeah, next. And the last person who I like to introduce is Quraysh. Big ml Harish is the CEO of sangeeth. hareesh has son who was diagnosed with severe nonverbal autism with prognosis of needing to spend his life in this situation by age of phi. The Neve was born in a way to inspire children just like your son to share their unique talents and experience the kind of transformation like his son had had. And now I will introduce you by one by one. And you guys, and you can share your slide. So first I'd like to welcome is Kathleen folly Hughes.
Good morning. I'm Kathleen Foley Hughes. I'm the founder and executive director of aidas Cafe, a social enterprise with a cafe in Palo Alto, and a commercial kitchen in Mountain View, California. It is grew out of two vocational education food service programs that I started as a parent volunteer in the Palo Alto school system, and the mother of four wonderful children. And I've been part of the disability advocacy community for decades. I created the programs at that point because our school district didn't have any on campus vocational education programs for the special day class students. As a chef I saw a need to be filled in addressing the need I wanted the special day class students to both have an opportunity to develop transferable work skills, and to help them connect in a meaningful way to the people on their campus. I also wanted the faculty and staff to experience and appreciate the contributions that the special day class students were able to make. The two cafes I created where the students participated in the production and sale of food and pastries and drinks to the faculty and staff were very well received and accomplished the goals of creating community and elevating the experience and education of those students. Based on the success of the school based programs, I was very excited to expand on the vocational education model of great food, high quality service and compassionate employment and bring it into the larger community as a social enterprise, which became Ava's cafe. Over the past eight years, eight has has generated over $5 million in cafe sales and catering revenue, while employing over 100 mission based employees who have among them a variety of diagnoses, including Down syndrome, traumatic brain injuries, PTSD from war and incarceration, and autism spectrum disorders. We've paid our mission based employees over $1.4 million and livable wages for over 90,000 hours of front of the house customer facing work in the cafe, a catering events and food preparation in our commercial kitchen. As I'm sure this audience knows that in addition to the financial benefits that come from receiving a paycheck, there are significant psychological benefits that come from having a job, especially a job where you're welcomed and encouraged to learn and grow. In a few minutes, I'll speak about some of the challenges that come from managing a large span neuro diversity program. But as the founder and executive director of a this, I've been inspired, I've been exhausted at times. But I'm incredibly proud of the work we're doing in the community of understanding we've created food is indeed a wonderful way to bring people together. As someone who's been dedicated to creating work, education, training and opportunities for a population that is often marginalized. It's been so rewarding to watch the evolution and understanding of what is and isn't a disability. I know that this evolution and understanding is due in large part to this wonderful neuro diversity community. I'm so glad to be here with everyone. So thank you for having me.
Thank you, Kathleen. And now I'd like to introduce and Bruno.
Hello, I'm Anne Brunel, the Chief Technology Officer at a spirit tech. Our technology as quality assurance services and quality Business Solutions provided by neurodiverse employees that we're going to refer to now as neuro minorities love that presentation. We're a mission driven not for profit. 100% of our operations and administrative costs are covered by client revenue. And our donations go toward providing accommodations for our neuro minority employees. Our model is really our secret sauce. We hire candidates with little or no experience. We provide training, continuous learning and professional development. We take a strengths perspective and have individualized accommodations for different learning styles, communication styles, schedules, assignments, task management, working styles, as well as environmental needs, like lighting, sound and stimulation. And we promote from within. We have more than 130 employees and we're growing 85% of our employees are neuro minorities. They are including the people on our administrative staff, our IT systems and networking team, our technical job coaches, our QA leads, and our QA managers, and many of those people also supervise others. We have three full time and two part time employees support specialists who provide wraparound support. They have backgrounds in education, and psychology, counseling, social work, and autism. They directly support our neuro minority employees, and they also train and work with our leads coaches and management in identifying and implementing individualized accommodations. Hiring, training, accommodating and promoting our neurodiverse employees has been really a win for everyone. And it's a testament that meaningful payment for everyone benefits everyone within our communities and across our country. Thank you for being here.
Thank you, Ann, very much. And now I like to welcome Rebecca beam.
Hi, everybody. Thank you so much Lawrence for inviting me to be on this panel. I really appreciate all the hard work you've put into the conference. It's a it's been very successful. So far, I enjoyed yesterday. And I'm just really honored to be part of this panel along with everyone else that's on it. audit con is an international it consultancy. And we focus on hiring individuals on the autism spectrum. And, you know, for our clients, IT projects we have a hybrid on site and off site, team environment, we utilize the cognitive benefits of autism, to help our clients solve complex problems and their technology departments. We have grown all throughout Europe, we now have offices in Canada, we have three offices here in the US now, Los Angeles, Utah, in Ohio. And we're continuing to expand as we hire more and more individuals on the autism spectrum. We also have a training program that trains individuals that do not have an experience in technology in software testing and automation to help them jumpstart their careers in technology, where we're very pleased with the way that we've grown throughout the throughout the world. We're also in Australia now. And I have included a page for a URL page just for this conference. If you'd like to learn more about us, please go to that URL. I welcome you. I'll be doing the networking sessions for the next four days. And I'm looking forward to meeting individuals who might be interested in becoming a team member at audit con.
thank thank you, Rebecca. And now I would like to introduce bill Morris.
Sorry, we're going to go with a niche next niche. Okay. I would like to introduce niche niche Burke. Nish. We need to have sound one second. Go ahead.
I'm sorry. Are you able to hear me now? Yes. Okay. Sorry. Hello, everyone. My name is Nish for a. I'm a CEO and co founder of Wrangham consultants. Thank you, Dr. Fung, and mark for and the whole team at Stanford putting together this wonderful conference. I drunk on our mission is to promote employment for everyone, everyone, inclusive of individuals or neuro diverse talent individuals on the spectrum and people with disability and in order to, you know, meet our goals and mission. Wrangham has is strongly believer of creating the empathetic culture at workplace and through this empathetic approach. We are constantly building and enhancing our our workforce solutions for our customers. So we are serving fortune 500 companies, and part of our contribution to the autism and neuro diverse diversity community. We've been working on developing different software's and technologies and different programs. Starting with teaching to teach children with autism we develop color scape program. Then we develop new screening technology of our recent addition to our innovation is we are Build a program called source Abel, where I call this web resource scale and sustain Hughley uniquely able untapped talent for our customers. At rangga, we have taken a two prong approach when we talk about the neurodiversity, we hire talent for our own in house staff. And that is in two fold. We hire talent for our recruiting part of the business, as well as we hire talent for our technology development part of the business. In fact, the technology which we have developed every technology, there are individuals who is neuro diverse part of the team. And one of the technology which is so stable, which we have offered, and we'll partner with Dr. Fund and the Stanford neuro diversity project to help them manage this research project to build the resume bank as well as the the the requisition JOB, JOB job bank. Personally, I've been working with children with autism and adults on the spectrum since 2007. And it has been just amazing learning experience and working with some of the great leaders from the neurodiversity community. So thank you. Thank you, Mark.
Thank you, this has been wonderful working with you as well. I learned a lot about technology through you. Moving along, and now I'll introduce brijesh anandan and
rejection is rejection impact intrapreneur and growth architect. He is the co founder and CEO of alternates, a software and the date quality engineering firm with teammates in 24 hours 24 states across the US 75% of whom are on the autism spectrum. takeaway. Rubbish.
Thank you, Mark. Can you hear me okay? Yes, thank you. Great. Well, thanks, Mark. And then thanks to Lawrence and the team at Stanford for hosting this event and having us all here together to share ideas and learn from each other. I, before I start, I do want to also thank my colleague, Marcel campy, who has been with ultra naughts. Gosh, I think five years, and has been the architect of our approach to how we source and talent and how we screen and she'll be on the employee panels speaking later this afternoon, and would encourage you all to join that. She's inspiring human being and a great colleague to work with. Before I spend a minute on giving you a overview of alternatives, I did want to acknowledge a couple of the speakers that shared some really powerful ideas earlier today. And last night, Judy singer, of course, who coined the term that we're all using, talked about commodification. And while I'm not sure I precisely understand the implications of what is a very challenging idea that she presented, I think it's something for all of us to be mindful of as we are with the best of intentions, trying to create workplaces and a society that is more inclusive, where everyone can thrive. And along those lines, Nancy Doyle who spoke this morning, you know, talked about this evolution, that we're all in the midst of moving from a compliance space view of inclusion to systemic inclusion. Now at ultra noughts, we call that designing a universal workplace, we have a name for it. And it's simply the idea that the world we're trying to move towards is one where
no one needs an accommodation because the system the workplace has been designed in a way that it is truly inclusive. And so at ultra knots. We've been on this journey for over seven years, trying to reimagine every aspect of a business from how we recruit talent to how we've managed teams to how we develop careers, and redesigning that entire system, so that everyone can thrive. So we're seven years in my co founder and I started the company with a simple mission to demonstrate that neurodiversity is a competitive advantage for business. We believe we have started to do that. We've been growing at over 50% a year and I At this point, have built a fully virtual 100% remote workplace, with teammates working in 25 states across the US across gosh 45 plus cities and one province in Canada, where three quarters of our teammates across different parts of the company are on the autism spectrum. And that's just not only our engineers and analysts, but also colleagues on the leadership team and colleagues on the recruiting team colleagues like Marcel who architected the approach we're taking to some of the ways we work. And while we are proud of the commercial success we've had where our clients include, you know, AIG, Bloomberg, Bank of New York, Mellon, Berkshire, Hathaway, Cigna, Comcast, Warner media, startups, like Slack, a bunch of earlier stage hyper growth startups in FinTech, inshore tech, and so on. And we've been able to demonstrate that our team's head to head can deliver dramatically better results. In one case, we replace the Capgemini team at AIG, increased coverage of quality in a highly visible in short tech platform by 100x. That's 100x improvement, not 100% 100x. In other case, we have placed an IBM team at Prudential business unit improved quality by 56%. And the reason we're able to do that is not only because of the talent that we're able to attract, but also because we fundamentally believe that our differences as individuals make us better together. And this is a team sport. It's not about the sort of old ideas around heightened abilities and stereotypes and tropes. It's truly about creating an environment that is universal, that's applied those universal design principles that Nancy talked about, to creating a level playing field to creating frets flexible and inclusive systems and processes. So that we can tap into the strengths of all kinds of brain types and thinking styles and information processing models to deliver better value. And so I will just end with this one note, which I'll talk a bit more about later. Because of this idea of creating a universal workplace, not only do we measure some of the typical metrics you might expect of a business like customer Net Promoter Score. And we're proud to have maintained 100 Net Promoter Score, which is rare, because we're delivering value to our clients every day, thanks to our team. But on par with that metric, which is a leading indicator of customer health, we also measure our team's net loneliness score as a leading indicator of our team's well being. And we're super proud that while we are fully distributed from day one, we've been a fully virtual company, everybody works from home, I'm at home. Now it's not just because of COVID. And being incredibly diverse with this wide range of communication styles and learning styles. Fewer than 15% of ultranet report feeling lonely at work, compared to over 40% of the American workforce. And that was before COVID. And so we do believe you can build a truly inclusive, universal workplace that welcomes neuro minorities. And instead of thinking about accommodating teammates who are different, celebrating those differences, and redesigning the system, so that we can truly tap into all of those strengths, build collaborative teams, and create value as a business.
Thank you. Thank you, Rajesh. And it's also wonderful working with you, and hopefully we can match some of our participants. Ultra nuts. Okay, moving along, and now I'd like to welcome her rich big mouth.
Hi, everybody. And it's truly be truly an honor to be here with all of you, and especially the panel and many thanks to Dr. Fung and his team for this incredible summit. And they exchange of ideas, and the knowledge that going on here can truly make a difference, and could be the accelerator for the future of individuals. Now I am the founder and CEO of Genevieve. This zinoviev is a social for profit, social enterprise and works a little different from most of the organizations I've seen so far here. What we do is we collaborate with organizations large and small, to promote the artistic talent of individuals, and then share the profits with artists and these organizations small and large. benefit in many different ways. And I'll go through that in a second. And the artists, which is the main focus for us, earn 66% of the profits and recognition by improving their self esteem, and building hope for a better future. The reason we even started Genevieve was a personal one. My wife and I are blessed with a son with a diagnosis of classic autism. Today at the age of 19, he's like a five year old in many aspects. However, with years of hard work, he has learned to paint and loves doing it. Four years ago, when he saw his painting displayed at a local business, the smile on his face was just priceless for us as parents. Importantly, we noticed he grew with confidence. And I think that kind of recognition that we got, you know, helped him truly motivated him to do more art, and learn new things. And several businesses and families in the area we live purchase this art. And these two developments gave us a row of ray of hope for his future. We started surveys to primarily bring a similar boost of self esteem and hope to other individuals and their families, irrespective of any level of supports they need. Rather than be constantly stressed, the individuals and families should be proud of their strengths. That's the main genesis for centers. And we are fortunate to partner with several small and large organizations, including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, four seasons, hotels, Johns Hopkins, etc. We're enjoying the art while supporting our artists who are experiencing a great boost to their confidence, and as well as feeling motivated to move ahead. So we again, we partner with various organizations in you know, in making this difference for us. Thank you.
Thank you, hareesh. And some of the slides that you see during the breaks, it's coming from Parrish. And now I'd like to welcome bill Morris.
Would you like me to upload the slide or were you have one on that in there? Please go ahead and start and I will load your slide. Okay, when Terrell
here he got it, my apologies for not getting that in. Thank you, Dr. Fire and everyone on the team. As Mark mentioned, blue star is a little bit of a unexpected discovery. In 2008, I came across it a small group of young men at a day program center in Colorado Springs who were diagnosed on the spectrum they were engaged in a unpaid work task to take apart computers and some other electronics that had been well that's one of the slides that says presenting over in Scotland. But anyway, we we had a sort of a at that moment we realized that there was some talents some real marketable talent in the work that they were doing and and they had an affinity and some innate skills for the tasks yet they hadn't been formally trained. And again, I I felt that the skills were marketable and and all these folks had been had come out of the the school system that aged out of their their transitions programs, and we're coming to a day program that quite honestly would not be a place that I would want to go when I was that age. So over the summer of 2008 we we built an enclave and employment enclave to test the the hunch that the skills were marketable and created a partnership with a recycler to take apart computers. And we started with four and they were paid minimum wage, and we did that for a year and and they thrived in every aspect of their life. They thrive physically, emotionally, mentally. When you have a purpose to get up in the morning is everyone on this call knows. There's something that Magical that happens and we're off and running. So in November of 2009, we've we founded Blue Star recyclers as a nonprofit social enterprise with a mission of recycling electronics to create real jobs, meaningful employment for people with autism and other disabilities. Maybe the biggest surprise in in our 12 years has been the actual performance of the workforce in relationship, not so much the the affinity for the work, but the performance as just employees in 10 years, and this is between 2010 and 2019. We had zero absenteeism, less than 10% annual turnover, and less than one average last time accident. And if you know anything about electronics recycling, the those statistics are mind blowing, because our industry is on the highest end of almost every one of those. And lastly, on that the we had a third party researcher come in and sit with our team for three months in 2014. and measure the on task engagement while they're on the clock, our production team scored 98.43% task engaged on the clock, which is over twice that of the average American employee doing the same kind of work. So we knew we were onto something, then that this is not a workforce that that was as good as this is a workforce when their assets are tied to the work tasks are superior to traditional workers. So so the the main thing that that that really propelled us forward in terms of growth, because we've grown to five locations in the US, we have 15 partners around the world that have replicated our model. And we've been growing by about 30% annually in an industry by the way that has been shrinking by about 30% annually. And the only common thread to our growth is our workforce. So when you have 50 I think we have 51 employees now who show up to work every day, get their work done, and don't get hurt. And don't goof off and don't miss work, you can compete in a very competitive industry, which ours is and you can grow. We've been very fortunate to have significant social, environmental and economic impact. So we hit on all three of those triple bottom line front. Two years ago, the Colorado Institute for Social Impact,
did a study to track our social return on investment, which is essentially, taxpayer savings that occur when you employ a person with a disability that's eligible for benefits. The average Blue Star employee saves the taxpayer $49,000 annually. So since our founding, we've produced $16.2 million in social return on investment, we've earned about the same amount just under 16 million in earned income. So the benefit to the community is for every dollar they spend with blue star, we produce about 250 in return on investment to the community. So this isn't, this moves the whole concept of employment for people on the autism spectrum or people with disabilities out of the realm of philanthropy, or even piti This is we've proven that this is just good business, to get the people who enjoy the work, who are good at the work and who want to do the work to show up every day is really the sky's the limit. So while it might sound strange, our long term goal at Blue Star recyclers is to become completely unnecessary. I want it to be when any person who can work and who wants to work has at least one employer in their community that will hire them because of what's right with them, not because of their diagnosis. Thank you.
Thank you, Bill. And now Dr. Fun will conduct a questions for the panelists.
Thank you so much for all your work in your organization's It is truly remarkable that all of you are doing what you're doing the next few minutes 20 minutes or so we're going to have some questions. And the first is going to go to her rich. Can you tell us why you started your program a little bit more You, you started talking about that, when you introduce yourself?
Sure, Dr. Fung as I mentioned earlier, we found a lot of change in my son in terms of his confidence in terms of his motivation. And in terms of his, you know, eagerness to learn more. So what we did was we, I just tried it with a couple more actors doing the same, and the pagans reported the same. And on the other side, this talent of these individuals, and the change was one side, but other side, businesses reported significant benefits, right? They there's a huge change in their workplace culture, there was a deep understanding of the typical employees there, about the neural, typically neural, you know, minority individuals changed big time, right, they understood them better. They know that there was acceptance, there was respect for these individuals. So the organization started becoming, you know, benefiting on one side, and individuals who are benefiting on the other. So wanted to bring this together. So that, you know, hopefully, we can change lives of many, many, many individuals also inspire many generations to come. microphone, you're muted.
Thank you. So the same question for Bill. Why did you start the program? You started talking about this a little bit earlier, when you introduce yourself, but before for those people that are starting? What are employers wanting to think about starting a program that include neuro diverse individuals? What do you think the right intention should be? To start this program?
It's a very, very good question. And I don't know that I know what's right for everyone else. But I know that for myself, the It's been said that most social enterprises are, are founded with empathy. Empathy is the core behind it, the center of why we do what we do. And as I mentioned, when I experienced this talents, when I was observing the talents of these young men, and and realizing that they were stuck in a, in a day program in a place that was not conducive for that would bear out their talents. I wanted to do something and and here's something that's a little indicting on the on the disability services sector, when I asked the staff in that place, because these young men had been doing this task for a couple of years. And I asked them, I said, Did you did, didn't you notice how good they were at this. And two of the staff members essentially said, I'm paid to generate case notes and provide services, I'm not paid to recognize talent. And that's when I realized that that so many of the people that that with autism and other disabilities, they end up in day programs being served. There's no one there really to, to see what what's right with them to see what they can do if they're given the opportunity to bluestar was formed with that in mind, which is that we wanted to provide a place where they could find they could identify their assets and develop them into it really leverage the talent they've been given. So I think if that's the motivation at which I think it is for everyone on this panel to do what they're doing, I don't I all I know is that motivation worked for us and it should work for other people as well.
Thank you. So, the next question is going to Rebecca. So what what are some of the benefits of neuro diversity programs, such as your organization, your organization is rather unique in that it started off with people on the spectrum in mind. So most employees are on the spectrum. So, there are also others that are in the company that are neurotypical. So what are some of the benefits for them? What can you say a few words to that
Absolutely Thank you, Lawrence. Um, so I mean, I find that any company will benefit from employing individuals on the autism spectrum. You know, we have experienced within our organization, the gifts of having a diverse way of thinking through technology, problems and solving those problems. We have benefited from having not only neurotypical employees, but also our autistic employees. However, most of our employees are on the spectrum. And we strive every day to work with organizations to understand those benefits and to integrate individuals on the spectrum within their workforces. We feel that, you know, if you put an individual in, that has a diverse way of thinking and a different way of problem solving, you really are going to become an innovative technology department. And we you, you know, we believe in the cognitive strengths of our employees. And we support them through our job coaches, and we support our clients through our job coaches, we believe that education in environments is the most important part is educating individuals about the benefits. And also identifying the proper accommodations to ensure success. I'm working at audit con has been one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had in my entire career. Because the individuals I get to work with every single day bring a different way of thinking and a true desire to solve problems to work hard. They love what they're doing, and appreciate the work that is coming their way. We also find that our employees want different challenges. So we work very, very hard to provide that and to also continuous do continuous training, so that we're not just providing jobs, we're developing careers.
That's really wonderful to think about it is really the trajectory that getting the job is really just a an outcome at one time. But it's really the the future that trajectory that matters. Thank you, Rebecca and Harish your organization has been working with other organizations, what do you think some of you the work that you're doing, is really giving benefits for donations that you are working with?
Dr. Phil, thank you. You know, as we all know, many individuals have a lot of visual and artistic strengths. We are generally firmly believed that these trends, especially the artistic strengths, can be used in bold and new ways to help companies build a strong workplace culture, while significantly improving the lives of the individuals and their families. So from a benefits perspective, we look at two different, you know, we look at two areas, are we about are we making a difference? The first one, obviously is are we making an impact? Are we having an impact on the artists and families. Thankfully, and gratefully they have reported that the recognition and the income that they are getting from these organizations, however small it is, at this time, has boosted their self confidence, self esteem, and more importantly, developed a sense of community and a sense of belonging to the society at this time, because of this recognition. And on the other hand, we'll look at are we helping the clients be better than whatever? The answer is a clear Yes. Again, you know, thankful to these organizations for partnering with us in making not only changing the lives of the individuals, but also benefit from us. And the benefit they tell us is that their workplace culture has become more welcoming of people with disabilities. And especially, you know, other neuro minorities such as autism. And we are we have also noticed is that many people on the spectrum and other neurodiverse conditions that these employees have come out in the open and they've identified themselves as such, and the pagan who have worked there who were working there, you know, who worked there in the past never die whilst about their children or grandchildren have come up in the open and joining their, you know, er G's and brgs. To help with this. We are a small organizations. And what we see is, it is a beginning. And these are the baby steps at this time. However, these positive changes are happening at these enterprises. In you know, in welcoming these individuals, and at least at a few places, I think collectively, we can accelerate it for a better future for our kids and individuals.
So the next question is going to Nish, you're in your company you have hired neuro diverse individuals. And you have also because of the nature of the work that your company's doing, you work with many other companies that have newer diversity hiring programs, or autism at work programs. Can you tell us a little bit about what are some of the general challenges that you are observing?
Sure. So the challenge is when when we talk about the neurodiversity at work, or autism at work program, we have seen challenges and I would I would describe this in in six step process. Very common challenge is companies and leaders, they ask, Where do I start? We all are connected to someone on the spectrum someone neurodiverse, we don't we have all good intentions to help them get there find the meaningful job, we don't know where to start. So that's a very common challenge, where to start? Then second question is where to find the talent. Where, because in our staffing world, there are a monster.com and hot jobs.com. That doesn't exist. But we took the initiative in 2015 16. And we build that portal, the spectrum careers.com, and things like that, that type of initiatives are needed some centralized and and and what
Stanford neurodiversity project is doing, building that repository, because that's where companies are struggling, the step three is matching. And some of us we shared that you know, how the hiring processes, the interview processes, and how we are having this processes, which is general for everyone and say, who can climb the tree, which Nancy shared earlier. So that is another challenge that how do we screen in versus screen out our our staffing, and any hiring process works with the requirement, then we go ahead and find the talent in rescreen. screen out, okay, that matches or not out. screening is we bring in the talent, and we try to find the right opportunity within the organized steps of screening. So that mattered is I think, which is also creating some issues, then. So for some of the some of the customers, what we've been doing is we are doing this talent showcase kind of a model, where we bring in the talent, we demonstrate, and we show where in which department they can work and that type of so it is a whole different method, which we have developed. And we are constantly evolving and building. So that's the matching of the talent, then the complexity for small businesses, when random hires, it's not too complex. We can customize the onboarding, when we are dealing with large companies in their programs. every department in some cases, has a different requirements for onboarding, different processes for training. So that is very complex. Then number five is sustainability. Once we build the program, that's another huge challenge. How do we sustain right? In yesterday's evening session details student experience, they mentioned that, you know, they would like to build and work with the community where people will know them, we understand them very well. Because that's what is going to create that, that sustainability and understanding of empathy and culture of inclusion. And that's how we will we will able to sustain so that sustainability is in culture is a huge challenge because the and that's where we we focus on that and, and again, culture is not just building but sustaining, sustaining in today's workforce and work environment. People they come and go and and you just just one person's wrong person who has a misunderstanding, you will pick up the phone and call HR and say hey, what's wrong with Nish? Not why Nisha is humming or something. And that can be end of the job and that that, you know, my career. So that's the culture and awareness. Then the last which our today's topic is about scalability, scalability, how do we scale up? How do we measure? How do we establish those metrics, and, and, and the goals of this program, and be constantly amazed that we share with the stakeholders, because large companies, they are all driven by metrics, when they set up the goals, they want to make sure the leadership needs to make sure. So that's another challenge. We don't have that type of infrastructure and technology, which we are we are both working together on putting together that type of approach. And, and and another another approach for ongoing the last piece is always it's it's easy when we end GDL when we build the program, and we focus on certain jobs, it's always easy. But then, how do we scale up? How do we find more jobs, ongoing basis. That's where the challenges, that's where these are the common challenges of, you know, setting up the and setting up and running the neurodiversity at work programs and autism at work programs, which we've been working with partners and building these innovative models and constantly enhancing it.
Thank you Manish. And because of all these complex problems, we really need a village to really make things happen. And so glad that
Dr. Fong I believe that that partnership through this type of organizations and this community, that partnership is so important, because not one organization is going to solve this challenge. It's all collaborative effort efforts between multiple organizations. And that's that's what is
really needed. Indeed. And I truly think that this conference, we are going to be able to understand all of our roles in the home during diversity advocacy and employment movement, we are going to be able to make some progress, where we know where each of our organizations do and how we can collaborate with others, that would be a really important step for all of us to really make things better in a larger scale. So similarly, I like to ask Kathleen, what are some of the challenges that you have when you are starting at this cafe? And what what what what are some of the challenges now, you have now run for a number of years.
Thank you. Thanks, Dr. Fung. And thank you to all my co panelists, I've been learning so much, and it's inspirational and elevating for me in the work that I do every day. So So thank you, you know, we run a food business. And food businesses are, you know, can be notoriously stressful. You know, we Luckily, I approached the world, that challenges are just opportunities, maybe it's because I'm a mom. And maybe it's because I know that having grace on your pressure is is really the best thing to do. And in most situations. You know, we're lucky that that food is pretty accessible. It's kinesthetic. So it's been it's been a great way to teach many jobs skills, some of the soft skills to social skills, and then and then technical skills, certainly in our commercial, food kitchen. Running a food business right now is is extremely challenging in the in the midst of a dynamic especially, you know, aidas mission is to is to educate people on both sides of the counter is to create a community and foster understanding. So that's pretty much been taken away given the need to socially distance and wear masks and to not encourage that that connection, that human connection, but we're still working on it.
I mean, I think
all along I mean the one of the biggest challenges facing a does as a neuro diversity training program. In addition to being a training program and teaching people that maybe this is their first job, that we're a commercial retail enterprise competing on very commercial terms against companies like Starbucks, Pete's and Phil's and a host of other food and beverage businesses. none of whom are really interested in losing market share to a small social enterprise, notwithstanding our, you know, what we think is our important social mission. Unless we provide customers with value in terms of our products and service, the neuro diversity training program, you know, can't survive. So we work really hard. The competition and casual food and beverage space is extremely intense. So we've always said that people will come to eight us once in order to support the mission, but that they won't come back and less products and services that are delivered or as good or better than what they perceive. I think our collaborative work environment, the fact that we work together as a team has enabled us to, to, you know, teach our employees in the moment, that's really important. And I think I think another issue again, because we're a retail environment. You know, unconscious bias, the belief that things produced by our mission based employees are somewhat inferior to what they get from our for profit competitors. Luckily, you know, I'm a trained chef, and I know that our products are made with high quality ingredients, and they're locally sourced and a lot of organics, and that they're much better than what, you know, our customers can purchase from a competitor. But no, we also were in a socially, social media conscious world. Just a few bad Yelp reviews can can torpedo a business like our so called though, the quality standard is pretty unforgiving. So it so I know that we need to constantly deliver excellent products and service in order for our neuro diversity training program to survive. So I guess what, what all this means is that we really focus on constant training, and a lot of it is in the moment. You know, someone mentioned something about an employee humming, you know, we we face those challenges all the time. And we're lucky that everybody that works at eight is all the managers and collaborative employees know that their job, in addition to putting out a good product is also to to help and elevate the employees when they're working. So anyway, great question. Thank you.
Thank you, Kathleen. So the next question is going to end. What do you think organizations that are having these autism at work initiative, be able to scale up? This conference is as the theme of scaling up the neuro diversity at work initiative. So this is probably one of the biggest questions that we want to answer.
Well, thank you. And and actually, I think the topic has been covered quite a bit so far. Dr. Holla, and Abby and man, Dr. Nancy Doyle, also touched on it include the people who are neuro minorities. Yesterday during the intersectionality of race and diversity, the panelists were talking about how important it was to be in a community of people like them. So including the neuro minorities in the initiative. And not just in the plans and the policies, but also in the processes, the the logistics, and the review or the retrospective of what worked and what what didn't work. And how can that be improved. For the for for scaling? a quote from Ralph Nader is your best teacher is your last mistake. Okay, and learning from your mistakes and scaling from there. At a spirit tech, a few years ago, we used a recruiting agency to find people that had experience and we had offered full time salaried positions, with benefits to neuro typical people with experience. And they were fine. But they were they were they and it was a bit of an us versus them. atmosphere, the heroes and the helpless. And what we hadn't seen at the time, was our own employees. Our own employees had been at a spare took four years, a few of them since the beginning. And they had experience with many different types of projects. So and many of those that the time, they weren't full time, they weren't getting the benefits, or competitive wages. So we've really turned that around. And we have included them. I had mentioned before how we have our neuron minorities are at in every role at a spirit tech, they have a whole life of experiences of that being heard. And so there's some of the best listeners. They listen to each other. And they listen between the lines, they advocate for each other in in, sometimes in ways and at levels that I've never experienced in the workplace. And even when there they are advocating for something that isn't self serving. So including them at every level and every step of the of the process. And, you know, we've learned that that our neurone minority employees, they make some of the some of the best supervisors, some of the best coaches, and some of the best client contacts. Sometimes I need to tell our clients that some of our employees can be blunt. And it might surprise them at times. But they come to really appreciate it. Because there's no hidden agenda. Our employees are what we refer to as, as wiziwig. You know, what you see is what you get. And we've really seen the benefit of scaling with our no minority employees.
Thank you. So building on that. points, brijesh. What are some additional main points that we should be thinking about? Can scaling up to nearly diversity of work initiative?
Thanks, Lawrence. Well, you know, I think, as we think about scaling, anything, it requires that we have defined systems and processes that can be replicated can be repeated. And and so the way we think about scaling is that first, you've got to make sure you have the right systems and processes, before replicating the wrong thing. And so, you know, really the, the emphasis for us at Ultron arts is to design those systems and what we call the universal workplace. Again, as I mentioned before, you know, we're trying to move away from a reliance or focus on individual accommodations. Because those are not a solution. They're just a symptom of the problem. And the problem is a system that's being designed in a way that is not flexible, that is not inclusive, that actually doesn't work for many people in the organization. And so the system is the thing that needs fixing. And that needs changing, it's not the person. And so as we think about scaling, you know, the place to start there is to redesign the system. And and I say all this, not to say that we do not need accommodations in the current state, we do because the system is broken. But let's not stop there. Because that simply should be a, you know, a real warning sign that we've got a broken system. And so as we think about, how do you redesign the system for scaling, instead of creating that universal workplace? We think of it in a few dimensions. One is, of course, flexibility. So an ultra naughts. We're fully virtual, we're 100% remote team, everybody works from home. It's been that way for seven years, that may not work for some organizations. But I would say as we've now all learned through COVID, giving people that choice is always the right answer. If you have team members, most you know if the work can be done remotely give people the choice, because that will actually improve productivity. There's a fair bit of evidence around this. Were allowing humans to choose the environment we were they work in is is a winning proposition. The second dimension of flexibility is the workweek, right? We've all sort of are stuck in the industrial age 100 years ago, with this notion of fixed hours. And you know, this idea of an FTP full time equivalent 4050 hours a week. There's no evidence that that's optimal for human productivity. And so at ultra knots we call it the DTE a desired time equivalent. And in most roles if you know in a salary drill, you can choose whether you want quote full time or you'd prefer 30 hours a week. You know, three quarters time or halftime compensations prorated. So it's not exactly you know, it's not an extra cost of the business. But it does mean that we can retain great talent and allow great talent to progress in their careers versus penalizing them. Because let's just say they're hyper productive for, you know, 30 hours a week, great. Let's figure out how we can tap into all of those strengths. And then one other dimension of flexibility, I would say, is just multimodal communication, you know, the idea of face to face interactions is being the default. And being this amazing way to interact, you know, is false. And not just in a remote environment, even when you're sort of somewhat co located. And so at ultra knots, you know, we default to chat. And if we're going to have a meeting, that's a synchronous group interaction, you know, there needs to be a good reason for it, because it presents all kinds of challenges. But of course, when you have those meetings, it's really important to allow team members to participate in different ways. So if we've got a video call, we'll always have a chat window open, we'll try to always have live transcription. And, you know, we'll obviously allow other ways in which we adopt that philosophy. So we've adopted some of the core agile principles into what we call inclusive agile, where one of the core principles is around face to face interactions and how that's amazing, and it's not.
And we've sort of proven it to ourselves. And so that does mean, you think about then redesigning that extremely useful methodology in a more inclusive way. So how do you do sprint planning or retrospectives or story grooming in a way that allows, you know, every team member to fully contribute, because surely, if you can do that, and tap into all of those strengths, the team wins. And so, you know, I'll get off my soapbox and just say, as we think about scaling, it's really important to not just think about how do we bring on more people who are neuro minorities, that is, of course important. And you know, step one is have a viable business that can scale. And then step two is redesigned the workplace in the system of work, to be more inclusive, so that someone who's different, isn't penalized for that difference, but in fact, is able to use their unique strengths and contribute to the team.
Yeah, that's really wonderful. flexibility. That's the probably the major word that we want to remember and Nish can building on including neuro minorities, including flexibility in the design of your processes. What are some other additional major points that you think we should include, when want to scale up? Work initiative.
And this is very, this is this is my favorite topic, because this is what I talked to the leaders from the corporate world, that once this, as Roger said, you know, once you build this processes, once the systems are designed like JP Morgan Chase, and Accenture and BMS, and Australian, young and Microsoft has those processes built in like 567 years, what is next? Next is a technology architect, what I believe that we need to build a technology driven program tech enabled program, where we can really leverage all these learnings and put it in practice and connect that to the hiring systems, companies they hire in different ways there are multiple environments, this global companies, how do we put a system so that hiring managers are empowered and they will see that okay, this is an autism friendly job neuron, this is neurodiversity friendly job, how do we give an influence them, and that technology can help us not only just do this, but also make these processes more scalable, sustainable, cost effective, because all these activities cost money and one of the things which we experience when we work with large global companies, when we set up the program in us now we are expanding in India and Ireland and, and euro, the cost is B. If the cost is high, companies are going to just treat this as an initiative, they will have 235 100 200 when we are putting 50,000 adults on the spectrum every year. This is not going to make the dent. We need to have this hiring best practices as part of the system, part of the community. Right and then One of the other thing is, you know, biggest thing what we have learned is get the buy in from top top management, though so it just you know, there are a lot of ERC big groups are doing some amazing work. But if there is no support from the leadership, this program doesn't get that another on the on the scaling upside what we are seeing we have seen HR strategic sourcing, procurement and and talent acquisition, all these multiple departments, all they are coming together, we have just started seeing that the last few years, they are all keeping diversity and inclusion, supplier diversity, it's all about diversity, right? But instead of working in the silos in this large global companies, they are all now coming together. And putting together the strategy. That is not just an initiative, it's a hiring, talent strategy, convert that that's how we were able to hire 1000s of people, you know, amazing the metrics, show this to the to the leadership team and say here, these are the graphs and charts and say, This is how we started. This is where we are one of the conclude, my biggest frustration with this topic is let's not over engineer this. It's not that complex. We have enough learnings. Let's take this learnings, put that in the systems and start implementing it. And it's always going to be own learning ongoing learning process. It's about the partnership partner with employers. And we share this with them that this is something which is good, we'll do our best. We are the expert. But there is one no 100% guarantee we will have some hiccups. So let's be transparent to employers. So they should know that this is going to be ongoing learning process. We don't have to anyway, so that's sorry, I just sound a little fuzzy, because this is what we go through this with corporations and say 150 200 300 hires are not enough. We have enough learning. So let's move on and build some scalable programs, leverage the technology, breed some AI, which we have something and influence people share success stories, build this connected community. And and make sure that everybody is given the support and all this great learnings we are taking from this conference, and then disseminate that information with bigger big employers because, of course, small and big booth because as you know, we always talk about this doctor from the small businesses in the United States has a big role to play. But if we have this best practices, how do we disseminate that information to the small businesses also, and help large companies implementers best practices?
Very well said, niche. So we only have about two minutes left of before we get to the q&a from the audience. So I'm going to challenge all the speakers to if I'm going to ask you that question. Try to summarize your your answer in about 30 seconds. Okay, so this kind of challenging, but I know you can all do it. So. And in light of the pandemic, how does your organization manage the challenges from the job market?
Well, like Dr. Nancy Doyle said we all were forced to go remote, which was a learning experience from us. And as I had mentioned, before, we learn from our mistakes and the circumstances. We the current job market, one of the things that we've found it's important is employee benefits, which is sounds like their perks and extras. But they're really they are critical. They're fundamental. So being able to to meet the needs of of the candidates is very important. And as Rick just said, Give them a choice as to the working environment.
Thank you. Same question, Rebecca 30 seconds.
So in the pandemic, we did have to move all of our employees to remote working. And I think the most important piece of the way that we handled this was by the support that we've given them to be successful. We focus on each individual and what they need to do well in their jobs. I was really pleased that our team was able to transition very quickly and our clients did not see any disruption and what they were doing, I agree with and benefits are everything, making sure that they have everything that they need in their lives and also from a mental health. health perspective, you know, every week is a different week during COVID. So focusing on their mental health and well being and putting together well being plans for each individual employee compassionate management is the key here
rejects same question. Thanks, Lauren. You know, just picking up on what Rebecca was saying, I think mental health and this is for everyone, right? So at ultra knots, we were already fully remote. So operationally, nothing changed. But being remote, while being surrounded by fear and panic is a very different kind of thing. And so the two things, you know, I'd say that served us well. One is that we already monitor well being and we've got metrics in our company dashboard that tie back to things like loneliness, and so on, we've got a bot that pulls the team every day, and the results are live. So there's full transparency, we dialed up the kind of frequency of support. So instead of a once a month community gathering was every week, then we slowly over time, you know, that to every other week, we doubled the number of life coach hours and so on. But I think just measuring and being responsive, and understanding well being is important, the other is transparency, because when you're surrounded by uncertainty, the last thing you need is to be uncertain about your business. As a business, you know, we took a hit, but we're actually we recovered fast, we're going to grow at 70% this year. But there's so much uncertainty. And so we started doing things like after our weekly management team meetings, we would post all of the decisions and discussion points, because I will guarantee you, your team members are worried about things that are a lot worse than the reality. And so just creating transparency as much as you can, can be reassuring in these times of uncertainty.
Very well said rejection. So Kathleen, how does your organization handle hiring people with a large spectrum of neuro diverse conditions or disabilities? 30 seconds.
Tick, tick, tick. Okay, so So yeah, we just we strive to create a collaborative, cooperative, understanding supportive environment, that's those, those that's our credo. That's what we live by. It works. We tell our employees that really, the only thing they need to bring to work is a good attitude, patience for themselves and patients for others. And it's really about communication. That's, it's what we do in it. It's, it's successful. And we and we provide accommodations, you know, in our kitchen, some of our neuro diverse employees. They want to wear headphones that helps keep the focus and did by Well, what other things are going on. And we provide this.
Thank you, Kathleen, same question for Bill. Please unmute. Can you ask the question one more time I just got How is your
organization handle hiring people with a large spectrum of neuro diverse conditions or disabilities?
Well, this is another we're very fortunate from the very beginning, because we're not a service provider. And, and we receive no government funding. We're open to anyone that can work, and do the work that we do. And anyone that wants to work. Actually, that's the first question I ask is, do you want to work because some people are sent to us by others who are more interested in them work in the ER? So they ask the answer those two questions, then, then we go right out to the floor and have a working interview where they can have hands on. And there's about five test sets. And by the end of that working interview, we generally find the thing that they have to offer, it's it's it quite often is hidden, and it comes out in the working interview. And so what I can tell you is is that that allows that's been allowed us to hire the widest spectrum of folks with any kind of diagnosis that that I can think of. So it's that's how we do what we do going forward to.
Thank you, Bill. So in the last 10 minutes or so, we're going to try to answer at least 3534 questions so I'm not sure if we can get through all of them but we will try as much as possible and a lot of these questions are not going to a specific person. So please just jump in, jump on, or you raise your hand and jump jump on so that way we are ready. So the first question is I have found employers running psychometrics and then not wanting to employ this individual because Tests have discussed the autism traits. How do you explain to senior managers at interview that these tests are inappropriate? Anyone want to answer this question? Nish?
I would say it's not a job seekers job, it's more the or the organization or who has brought you for the interview. Those individuals, professionals or organizations, needs to do a better job in educating them. That's not that's not the job seekers job.
Thank you. Rejected This question is for you. I'm worried about companies becoming fully virtual as kinesthetic hands on autistic person. How does alternate support kinesthetic and extroverted employees? So, you know,
as a company, we're fully digital, the work we do isn't physical, you know, so we might be validating the output of an analytics site or building test automation into an ETL or pipeline. So in that sense, you know, hands on means doing work digitally. And so absolutely. So we've, thanks to our learning and development team and my colleagues on the leadership team, who's our head of quality, Nicole, we've sort of designed a design for neuro diversity in our training. So we've got, we think about upskilling, in sort of, in slightly different terms in that instead of like sending someone off to a five week coding boot camp, you learn a bunch of general skills with no practical application, we've dissected the skills you need into micro learning paths. So it might be like API test automation with Java, right? That's a learning path. But those are bookended by hands on quote, hands on projects in that you actually take the thing you learn and build something and then get feedback and coaching on it and build things with a community of learners in a Slack channel, that's learning the same thing. So I think the the answer there is less about virtual at least in our case, it's more about how do you give people real experience to put the things they're learning to use in incremental chunks so that you're actually learning building, learning, building, learning, building versus just going off and studying something?
Thank you. So this question can be answered by many of you. My autistic daughter is heading to college next year to pursue a degree in computer science. What recommendation would you give when she is ready to enter the workforce? Can anybody want to raise her hand? Okay, and
I have four kids that just finished college. I think it's really important that she enjoys what she does. It's a big decision, what your college degree should be in. And so many colleges have the opportunity for internships, externships getting experience. And so I think that's really important, not only for the prospective employer, but for her daughter, to make sure that that she enjoys what she does. And also, computer science is a really broad field, there are so many different things you can do. So the more experience she has, so that she can direct her job search, the better. Thank you, man.
This is good question. Can any one of you talk about how you develop autistic talent for leadership roles and permeating neuro diversity at all levels? Who wants to take that one? Rebecca?
Yes. So at otter con, we really focus on career development on every level. Many of our employees have no experience when they come in, and we have a training program that they go through and then depth different levels that they can can reach. And we work with each individual to first of all identify where they want to go in their career and help them get there. We have people at all levels in our organization who are on the spectrum, ranging from leadership to finance to marketing sales. And as with any of our employees, whether they're on the spectrum or not, we focus on career development and helping our employees get to the next level. Thank you, Rebecca. Yeah, I will say
if I can just time I think I completely agree with what Rebecca is saying. And then I also think it's important to kind of in a very structured way, make sure that things like performance reviews are equitable, right? So, a couple years ago, we had, we had some formal, you know, annual performance reviews to make decisions around promotions and merit increases, and so on. And we had a group of six teammates who came together, you know, all neuro minorities and just tore it apart, and came back with 4039 recommendations on how to fix performance reviews. And we've implemented them and one of them I, I'm just going to share this because every organization should do this. In the performance review, input forums, usually the rating scale is from does not meet expectations, to exceeds expectations. Whose expectations? Did you clarify those expectations with the employee? Does reviewer one's expectations match reviewer twos? And if not, why are you using this? Anyway, I would just say, you know, sometimes, at the tactical level, they're just changes you can make to remove some of the roadblocks that might prevent someone from progressing.
More measured that you can create your performance reviews, we do it in the skills and responsibilities type list so that each individual knows what they have to achieve to get to the next level. And it's very measured.
Bill, you're going to ask at something.
Yes, I my experience, like everything in blue star has been that we've probably done it wrong to begin with, and then made adjustments. But in this particular case, and I think this is true, really with everyone in the workforce, that there are individual performers that are superstars, they're there, they have the ability to go well beyond what's assigned to them. And and there are others in the team that have a greater interest in their teammates, a greater interest in the performance of the entire team. So what I can say is we've promoted the strong individual performers to find out that we just killed them, because we we burden them with with trying to get everyone else to keep come up to their speed. Our best promotions, I think we have seven people with on the spectrum and in supervisory roles. Now. They were the people that came to me at the end mentioned that they came to me and told me how well their co workers did that day, and not themselves. So I so as you as we promoted, we've been looking for that element. Thank you, Bill.
So we'll talk about some of the challenges, what are some pleasant surprises that you have encountered in the work the social enterprises that you're all involved in?
I think for us, one of the things that I found pleasantly surprising is that when we track transition to a remote working environment due to COVID, that the chief complaint still today is that they must be together. And and being able to socialize with one another in the workplace. It was a really wonderful thing to learn.
couple minutes left. So we're trying to be fast with answering these questions. In what ways can you accommodate employees with OCD is relatively specific. Anybody has a example?
Well, I can we benefit from having different types of projects. And sometimes we can and we leverage our employment support specialists to help our individuals do this and identify ways but putting them on projects that are a good fit. And actually, yesterday Dr. Hala nabee had had a slide that showed what were the problems, but then what were the corresponding strengths. So really kind of looking at the at the strength based and getting them on a project that's so better fit.
I would say real quick. We have a young woman who does the hard drive disassembly pulling boards and she's OCD and she she set the all the records of bluestar but if you go to her workstation, she has two monitors playing watching a TV show watching something else and and she has headphones on so she's got three inputs and but she's just tearing through the material. So I you know I my thought is is that whatever makes you hum you know Go ahead and set the workstation up to accordingly.
And in our, in our commercial kitchen, we have a lot of equipment. And we have a couple of employees that have OCD, and they help us keep everything organized. It's pretty remarkable and so helpful.
You know, I would just say, maybe not answering the question, but part of what we all need to do is to create an environment where team members, you know, have the psychological safety to ask for help and ask for what they need. And while not everyone may be able to advocate for themselves, we should have a easy way for advocacy to occur. And so I think, you know, part of the challenge and part of the learning to your earlier question, both kind of surprising, in a good way, but also surprising, and I can't believe we didn't think about that. It's just, it's hard to narrowly define both strengths and needs, right. And I think creating a, an environment and a workplace and a culture that can be more flexible. And meet the each individual where they are including, you know, maybe, for example, like we're a quality engineering firm, all our projects run in an agile way. But agile demands that you have daily measures of individual output, that's terrible, because people don't work in a steady flow of output. And individual pressure like that can be really destructive. And so we're learning about how do we come together, make commitments together, measure our performance together as a team, but allow for the very human reality that you know, not everyone's going to be hyper productive every day or all the time?
One, one last comment, and then we'll have to wrap up.
Yeah, I mean, this is with respect to the earlier question about pleasant surprises being a social enterprise. One pleasant surprise that we have noticed is the reception of the executives at these organizations to innovative and new approaches, has been very encouraging. So I just wanted to get that point out there. Thank you.
Thank you for rich, and thank you, all of you. Nash bill, Rebecca brijesh. And Kathleen Harish all of you have done really remarkable work in all different ways. And thank you for setting good examples. And some of you are going to be speaking with some of the attendees in the networking session in the next few days. So we can continue on with that conversation. So in about 12 minutes, we are going to start the next session. So everyone, please take a break. We are going to resume in just about 12 minutes. Thank you again,
everyone. Thanks, everyone. Thank you, Lauren. You're welcome. Thank you. Thank you. There's no Hi, I Tiffany. We both set the note to laurencin we haven't heard back from them yet. Okay. Look at we got dressed up, Tiffany. I'm wearing shorts. Um, well, I'm in regular pants for the moment till this is over.
Please, please note for the time being. Okay, Lawrence, are you going to run our slides? Yes, we were. Okay.
I'm going to get started. Welcome to the Stanford neuro diversity summit. For those of you that just joined welcome, I would like to let you know that all the sessions are recorded and transcribed. Please check our summit website periodically for the YouTube videos. All questions from the audience will be submitted through the q&a function at the bottom of your screen. The moderators will try to cover as many questions as possible. This summer, our group at Stanford has organized a neuro diversity design thinking workshop for the community. This workshop is based on the neuro diversity design thinking class that I teach at Stanford. But unlike our class at Stanford, this workshop is truly multi stakeholder activity. There are nearly diverse individuals, parents of their diverse individuals, employment specialists, mental health providers and other stakeholders. About 90 people sign up for this nine week seven session workshop with a goal of building something useful for neuro diversity, especially in terms of employment. From about from August to October, we have about 70 people that are actively participating in the workshop. And they were divided into 10 groups and invited were invite them to compete for the opportunities to present in today's session. So in only two months, they came up with two of their many very powerful person centered ideas. And they built a prototype and they even tested them. So, Mark is going to introduce them one by one right before they start their presentation.
All right, yes. So the first the place went to group six. The project title is the new the new neuro diversity inclusion index Mgi. And the people are in the group is Carla Carrillo. Tiffany Payton, Jameson re Cal solinsky. Janet Miller, Lawrence, Larry Rothman, Holly talk, trash, Patricia, your thunder, Sara Zink. Take it away group six.
Thank you very much mark. It's delightful to be known as group six. Actually, we became a family as we did this. And we were thrilled to say the least to be voted number one for our project, which is called the neuro diversity. Sorry, neuro diversity inclusion index. And what I want to do is tell you a little bit about our group, tell you how we use the design shop methodology give you the value proposition that we're able to develop so that it makes this worthwhile, and actually demonstrate via our website, what the neuro diversity inclusion index looks like. So I have the next slide, please. Our group, as you can see, was composed of seven people. I'm the guy on the left and my co presenter is the person next me Tiffany Jamison. And we had, as Lauren says, described, a multi discipline, multi background, very diverse background group. And what was really wonderful about it is that we all gel as a family, we spent many evenings on zoom, validating the MDI. And we soon grew to become a very coherent group that were in total support of each other. May I have the next slide, please. So to look at what is the new row diversity inclusion index, basically, it is an index driven by companies, employees and candidates for jobs, the latter to being a neurodivergent. That themselves and the index serves two real functions. It allows candidates and employees to both describe their experience in the company and during the process of being hired or not. And it allows them to also provide a an input to the index such that people can judge can judge whether or not a company is neuro diverse and neurodivergent friendly. What we believe this sets up is an internal competition among companies as well, because with the public rating and ranking system, very few companies are going to want to have a low end di most people want to do very, very, very well. What makes us a bit unusual is that we are looking at this thing from a 360 degree angle that is the employers, the employees and the candidate so we get a full picture of what's going on and they have the next slide please. Our key findings No surprise is that the N di fills a gap that doesn't exist in the environment. There is no specific neuro diverse index that's around much. To our surprise, there are lots of inclusion in the indices, but none that spoke that focuses specifically on recruitment, hiring and retention of people with neuro diversity. The thing that we discovered is that in addition, going forward, and we'll talk to you about our plan about going forward, MDI can be a standalone, we have our own website for it. Or it could be included into a another employment website. Next slide, please. So in order to validate what we were doing, we needed to construct a survey. And as you can see, on both sides, we have a separate survey for employers and a separate survey for employees and candidates. And we build the each of those surveys iteratively, that is we kept speaking to people about Does this make sense? Does that make sense. And in the end, what happened is you can see the results, employers for the most part, were even lukewarm or absolutely thrilled with the idea of having this. And the key is finding that I would like to point out is that many of them said they may change their hiring standards as a result. If you look on the other side of the ledger, in this case, employers and candidates uniformly love this idea. And the one thing that stands out more than anything else, is they said it allows their voice to be heard, and that is so vitally important. Next slide, please.
So, we made extensive use of the methodology that was part of the new wrote the sorry, the Stanford design workshop, as Lauren said, and thank you again, Lawrence for including us We're honored. The methodology is a five step process, as you can see in the hexagons, for us, the two major points that changed the course of what we're doing, we're in the emphasize step, the very first step, and then the IDA step, the third step, and the emphasize step by listening to the people in our group who are neurodivergent, they were able to tell us what their issues were with employment. In the ideate step, what was very, very clear is there wasn't an objective measurement index or standard for all three stakeholders, the employers, the candidates and the employees. Now, if you look at the next slide, which talks about the Starburst capability, next slide, please. Which is a technique that the design workshop uses, we asked ourselves why when how, who, what, where, and what came out, is that the real push here was the lie. Because we could influence inclusive hiring, we could influence sustainability of hiring, we could create a resource for job seekers, and we could create partnerships. So I want to go on to the next slide, please. Which shows what we've learned. The critical elements for the MDI are that it's usable, that it continues to be innovative, and that it's flexible. All those those three things are absolutely necessary for it to be a success. Next, I want to show you what are business cases. And I'll point you to the blue box from one of the colleagues. We've talked to inclusively, where they said And here is an enormous value proposition for business that many times is overlooked company and I'll read this to you. Because it is so profound, companies actively employing people with disabilities have an 89% higher retention rate, a 72% increase in employee productivity and a 29% increase in profitability. I think nothing more has to be said than that. Although there are many other capabilities that and reasons for a business and for employees and candidates to look at this. What I'm going to show you next is the research methodology we methodology we used. In the stakeholder surveys we had to go through a six or seven point process in each case. Which was an iterative process. We created surveys, we identified employers and participants, we got their feedback, we we find the surveys, we compile the results, and we created an index. And so when we got to that the next step was to look at the world around us. Next slide, please. And either look at competitors, or potential partners for this. And as you can see, we found seven or eight that were involved in indexes that were involved with inclusion, and are in our opinion, there were two that stood out. And we are actively engaging those, as you can see on the right side of the under the green light. What I like to introduce whom I'd like to introduce is my colleague, Tiffany Jamison, who is going to actually show you what is in the index. Tiffany? All right, thank you, everybody.
I'm delighted to be here. It was quite the experience getting everybody together, what I'd like to show you some of the prototype we put together, and I actually just did bits and pieces of it because it's quite comprehensive. If you could put push the spacebar, please. Lord to push the spacebar. Thank you. So I pulled out his This is the prototype. And if you see on the bottom level, well being accommodation, mentorship, job coaching, and communication, these were all the areas that we felt, our group of multi stakeholders needed to be addressed that currently weren't addressed when looking at an employer. And these things were important for candidates that are neurodivergent or cognitively diverse. So some of the questions that the team felt were needed to ask is about accommodations during the interview process. And during startup employment, are they proactively asking you if you need these shadowing? You know, is there a dedicated person or consultant to communicate to kind of break down some of those initial barriers? And are you comfortable asking your supervisor for clarifications. So these were ideas of things that would help really focus the employer looking at what is important, and by individuals that are neurodivergent, who would look at scoring companies from the interviewing and the hiring process, we will get a better feel for if they can be a good fit for a future employee. Next slide, please. So the visual we see, and I want to thank inclusively for allowing us to mock up their current website. So when you're looking at a company and you want to potentially apply, what you could do is get these indexes here where it shows the nd wi inclusion score. So what we see here is somebody who did not score very well on the inclusion score. If you could spacebar, please. Now we see somebody who did. So these would be good indicators. And there's a lot of Sciences still needs to go behind these to show that there are great companies that are inclusive and are aware of the neurodivergent needs in the workplace. Next slide. And lastly, when it comes to somebody who's looking for a career or looking for an opportunity, near divergence, we all know the spectrum is huge, their needs and their the requirements to be successful in the workplace. So this would allow them to have additional functionality to feature jobs based on what they feel is important for them in the workplace. And that would allow them to be able to say this company XYZ is the company that I know will have accommodations that are acceptable for me during the hiring process. I want to go and apply to them. Next slide. Go ahead, Larry.
So as you can see, this is a real live model. As Lauren said, in order to make the workshop live, we had to build a prototype and we did so where do we go from here. So today, we're on the left side in a controlled environment we are developing. The next step after that is a commercial environment we need to look for a partner or a standalone capability. And then finally to activate an aggregated scoring system for the neuro diversity index. And we will continue to serve a business's survey candidates and employees and incorporate their feedback to make the MDI better and better and better. Next slide please, which is our conclusions. So first and foremost, all three stakeholder groups believe that there is a need for this that it is welcome and that will make a profound difference. The overall sentiment is positive. partnership opportunities are there. And as you can see, our proof of concept is a major success. And I want to leave with the final slide, please. And this comes from Accenture. And this is a byproduct that we had not originally thought about. But it's quite true. And I'll read this to you. And then we'll take questions. Being honest about where you stand can be hard, yet crucial first step towards becoming a more inclusive company. accountability and creating an environment of trust for employees feel comfortable self identifying as having a disability are true measures of inclusion. I think that tells the full tale. And thank you very much. We are now open to questions.
We have about two minutes for questions. We have one question here is the nd that will AI being applied or will be outside the United States? Please? Well,
Frank, now we need to get a platform for it to be and we need to come up how we can keep it independent. And make sure it's objective. I think there are companies that are multinational, and I think the ratings would go but we do need to factor in the different locations and how each location in many times is its own climate. And we want to make sure to address those topics. So if something's working great in Los Angeles, is it really the same in London? And how is that for a neurodivergent? employee? So yes, but it is a little bit more complicated than just opening it up.
I don't think there are any more questions. Mark, are there any more questions? One second, I don't. How can we link with you To learn more,
you can go ahead on nd inclusion.org. And we have a subscription list where you can sign up. And we'll continue to give some updates about our progress. Hopefully, we'll have some partners that pick up and we can get the ball rolling and make this more of a really big tool for the neurodivergent population to get what they need in the hiring process and in the employment process. So nd inclusion.org, please sign up for our list and we'll keep you up to date. Okay, Tiffany and
Larry is really wonderful project that you have made tremendous progress within only a couple of months. So thank you. Thank you. So, Mark, would you like to introduce the next script?
Yes. So for the second place, we had a tie. And the second place for the first one will go to group five. The project title is building self advocacy skills for neuro diverse employees. Group five consists of Jenny Hong adlam you caught Rashid, Wesley Strickland, Nancy Chen and Ivan Arce. Take away group five.
Thank you, um, my name is Leslie Strickland. Now let's start with presenting this. So we started thinking about this during this workshop, and we were trying to figure out how to build self advocacy skills for neurodiverse individuals. And we thought it would be great to gamify an employee resource group for multiple reasons. Next slide, please.
As we've kind of been talking about at this conference a lot already is that we're at this tipping point moment where neurodiversity is kind of being brought from one framework to another and diversity inclusion framework. And I think that's going to have a statistics that are on this slide if and when it does, but this really could create a way to collect meaningful data while protecting providing a way to build community and empower employees. That side. So the idea was with this gamified employee resource group to make sure that it's engaging it's online. Good job. Gaming with rich content, customizable, anonymous avatars, dynamic missions and a lot scalable. So you can piggyback off of other programs that are already out there. A lot of companies already use gamification. Microsoft has others who were to allow real time anonymized data sets for the neurodivergent community, which really doesn't exist right now. So that kind of helps to bring us into the, the current system we're in, and then inclusivity. And then I'm gonna pass this off to my other colleagues.
Thanks, Wes. So why did we choose gamification, so there were a number of different reasons we've highlighted three for you here. The first was learning to advocate for oneself as a journey for all people. And it can be challenging for neuro diverse individuals. And we felt that games can provide a safe space, which can challenge near diverse individuals at their pace, and they can identify the skill sets and the other areas that they want to build on. And they can play something that's very internal to them, and they can still play with it within a group and then decide to take some of that learning outside. So it's what linking their internal and external worlds. And we really want, the idea of an employee resource group is that everybody was part of that group brings their whole selves, and the organization learns more about them through the advocacy of that era, and see what we wanted to provide that in a sort of different way for a neuro diverse employees. Games are also very engaging, and they can build self confidence. The provider community for folks and gamers span the the breadth of ages, genders, diversities, and, you know, it's gaming is a very attractive and engaging proposition. With args, you can sometimes end up in a very traditional sort of forum in which you have events happening when people come together, or they do meetings, or you know, potlucks or things like that. But in this case, it's a very different very rich, engaging environment. And given that, you know, there's COVID going on with the pandemic, we feel it'll have a real reach and real interest. And we've seen that, as wessington said, and there's other stats showing that lots of gaming platforms have seen an exponential increase in their utility in this last few months. Next slide, please. So what would this game look like? So we have envisaged this game at a very high level as sort of a role playing game with action adventure thrown in. So you would you would sign up for the game, you would first build your avatar. Now in doing so, you know, how would you build it, there's quizzes or other kinds of ways in which you could determine what that avatar looked like fat, like, we really want it to be a representation of the individual. At the same time, it could be fantastical. And it would be anonymized. Or it could be made, you know, people could share who they are, it's really dependent on the user and then player, there'll be a discovery process in the building of this avatar, then we would go on missions and the missions would there would be knowledge base mission. So for example, if you have a neuro diverse, so you knew a typical colleague who's playing the game, and they really want to learn a lot more about neuro diversity or you know, so they can go and complete a bunch of modules or missions in that space. folks would select and complete challenges. So we'll talk about in the next slide, what those challenges would look like or could be within. But you could select challenges based on their difficulty you could identify which are more challenging for you. The more challenges complete, the more rewards you get, the more tokens you earn. It could be a leaderboard, there would even be external challenges. For example, if it's, you know, someone's having a harder time initiating a particular kind of meeting, you know, if they're able to do that it's something they come back and they can self report and they'll earn more points and there's more sort of