FDM Nuerodiversity Hackathon

I recently had the pleasure to attend another FDM Hackathon led by the Hack-king himself @PerryTimms & @_Lara_HR

Today’s topic was around nuerodiversity.  This is an area I know little about personally, however have started to my awareness lifted by having such great guests as Ben Lunn (@Benlunn) on the Value through Vulnerability podcast recently to talk about disability:


There has been talk for some time now as to the desired skills of some people with nuerodiverse backgrounds for programming in software or in fraud analysis, for example, but today’s hack was more about how do we make our organisations more inclusive & pro nuerodiversity by design.

I was lucky enough to be part of an awesome team that included one of the speakers for the day, Jane Green (@JGjanegreen), who has autism herself & speaks publicly on the topic as well as Katie Marlow (@ktmarlow), Bethan Gill (@MrsGill_05) & Fluer Laffont (https://www.linkedin.com/in/fleur-annabelle-laffont-mcipd-6b49a424/)

Perry offered his plan for the day including an introduction to Hackathons & what we could expect.

what makes for a good hackathon

Our team came up with the following innovations as a result of this 2 hour hack!!:

How do we get started

Job roles vs job spec

One of the most inspiring & indeed repeated ideas across the Hack was to move away from job specs and move towards role specs.  This speaks to the great work of Rob baker in the area of job-crafting @BakerRJM.  For anyone that is interested Rob joined me on my podcast to discuss job-crafting, vulnerability and loads more below:


The idea that we recruit for a role and not for spec just seems such a no-brainer as way to improve the effectiveness of D&I and as a way to reduce bias.  Who is up for experimenting with this?

Looking at self-managed teams, I wonder if the move towards self -management can be a way to ‘naturally’ & more commonly improve the inclusion of those with nuerodiverse skills?

Reverse mentoring / buddy system

Our team debated ways to best share the experience & knowledge of those with nuerodiverse skills and the idea of reverse mentoring came up.

Reverse mentoring has been spoken about for some time in terms of generational reverse mentoring (older-younger and vice-versa) but I have not come across nuerodiverse to nuerotypical as an intervention – what do you think?  Could you see this adding value for all concerned?

We also liked the idea of ensuring that senior leaders reverse mentored someone with on a nuerodiverse spectrum to a) give them direct lived experience of D&I and b) to ensure that these topics are always discussed at senior levels.

Partnering with nuerodiverse organisations

It was proposed that organisations should partner with nuerodiverse focused organisations such as charities to ensure that good practice & new insight can be shared in all directions.

Our Pitch – “Co-Production.com”

Our team presented back our pitch which included all of the innovated interventions.

the pitch

What jumps out to me about much of the talk around future of work, D&I, OD etc currently is that we need to start talking to people more about how best to support them doing meaningful & effective work, rather than shoe-horning people into often out of date job roles or sub optimal job-design.

What is amazing about this Hackathon process is the sheer volume of actionable insight that can be generated in a very short space of time.

Another great idea that really resonated with me included a Nuerodiverse show home where a “best in class” design evidenced how bets to set up a workplace to ensure that all possible nuerodiverse needs are catered for, by design.

I never get bored of this process nor the amazing people that give their all to make it happen.

What has been common themes for me across the 3 FDM Hackathons that I have been grateful to attend to date is the need for us as individuals & leaders to slow down, be present & design work around people rather than force people, of any background, into unfit workspaces/design.

Thank you Perry, FDM & peers as always for an awesome session.

The Listening Organisation

Inclusion is one of the 7 key pillars of my new innovation – The Listening Organisation.

If this concept is of interest, please do get in touch so we can openly explore any potential needs.






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