Inclusion By Design

Inclusion by design Is a term I first heard about around 5 years ago while working as a self-employed joiner. I was tasked with designing and building several spaces with the instruction that disabled access needed to be harmonious to the overall project design. Like most joiners, I immediately turned to Pinterest / Google and while doing so, stumbled across this little spoken about design principal.

From a construction/design point of view, inclusive by design it’s about creating spaces that allow people to participate fully, safely, confidently and most crucially, without separation or exclusion. So when designing, I would pause and consider, can all participate fully? Safely? Confidently? Will this design decision potentially create separation or exclusion? 

My view is that this utopian principle beautifully lends itself to world of management, policy development and decision-making at every level. 

Consider does this management style or system of work exclude rather than include? Does this policy exclude rather than include? 

Why is now time for a radical shift in upper-level management thinking? 

A recently ONS parliamentary briefing revealed that 82.7% of working age adults are in employment in the UK. This drops to just 53.7% of disabled people[1]. Most alarmingly research from @Autistica shows UK autistic employment is hardest hit and currently stands at just 21.7% of UK autistic adults in employment [2]. 

Charities are absolutely right to call our times a crisis for autistic employment - but - what’s the solution? 

First thoughts?! Management training - after all, lower-level managers are the guardian of reasonable adjustments and as an autistic person, I categorically agree that often the reason why employment fails autistic individuals is due to poorly trained managers. 

Beyond lower-level management, perhaps the world of business requires a shift in thinking from policy and right through the entire management chain. 

A radical approach - that little spoken about construction principle of inclusion by design. 

Exclusion is often subtle, hard to detect and not often knowingly done so intentionally or by design. Let’s create workplaces which work and include everyone regardless of ability! Companies/leaders please be the pioneers and weave in those three words to every level of management, policy development and decision-making. 


Written by JAHugill 🙂