Bit Space Development Ltd: Where Inclusion is the Engine for Innovation

Based in Winnipeg, Bit Space Development Ltd. (BSD) is an interactive digital media studio that specializes in creating innovative learning experiences for the classroom and workplace. BSD works with educators and industry professionals from around the world to develop effective solutions for education and training using cutting edge Augmented and Virtual Reality technologies. For BSD, a passion for continual learning and a commitment to pushing boundaries ensures they stay ahead of the curve.

One of the key ways BSD pushes those boundaries is through its strong adherence to core values that promote and value a diverse and inclusive workplace. Since its creation in 2015, BSD have always strived to make the company a great working environment for everyone. BSD strongly believes that the diversity in the workplace makes innovation possible.

The diversity among BSD employees allows BSD to respond to customer demands for unique solutions with new and fresh perspectives. This diversity includes many of those typically under-represented in the workplace, including those with autism, mental health challenges, those with a wide range of lived experiences that include formal and informal education and training. Their presence and contribution make possible the application of cutting edge practices. BSD is an example of how companies that encourage diversity are in a better position to adapt to hazards, to pivot in their ways of attracting and responding to a changing business landscape and to thrive.

Inclusive Management Practices for All

BSD implements adaptive strategies for all its 25 employees and interns, enabling them to reach their full potential. This implies a flexible approach and frequent check-in with the team. All projects are deployed according to the strengths of each and their complementarity within the team. All employees can also work remotely or face-to-face depending on the tasks to be performed. The managers of the company are very open to accommodating all employees and this allows for open the dialogue.

The company’s CEO, Daniel Blair, says he is looking to fill his positions with talented people who are passionate about BSD’s mission. Always interested in building collaborations with local initiatives, he has partnered with the Ready, Willing and Able (RWA) program and their local partner, Level IT Up, to source and support talent from among those with autism spectrum. The expertise Level IT Up provided included initial insights and knowledge of the skills and attributes of the prospects for available positions and staff training related to autism in general to help with hiring, onboarding and supervisory processes.

The link between the human resources needs of the company and the skills of job seekers represented by RWA and Level IT Up has allowed everyone to have their expectations fulfilled. The job seekers’ profiles presented to the employer meet BSD expectations, and the jobs offered to the candidates match their career aspirations. This mutually beneficial collaboration has hit the ground running, with 2 hires already of skilled job seekers on the autism spectrum.

One such successful hire is Mark Jones, who applied directly to BSD in January 2021 when he saw a Computer Engineer job opportunity posted by the company. According to the employer, he was quickly convinced that Mr. Jones would be a good candidate. Mr. Blair stressed that the candidate also mentioned during the recruitment process that he was represented by the Level IT Up agency. The fact that the employer would have the additional agency connection as support (and the expertise that comes from such) assured them it was the right decision to hire Mr. Jones. Mr. Blair said: “It is easier to communicate with the employees I have hired through RWA since the structure of the collaboration allows transparent communication about our expectations and those of the employee as well as the barriers we may encounter. For the employer, this is critical, and is a significant bonus when compared to how employees are otherwise recruited.”

Mark Jones, Computer Engineer at Bit Space Development.

©Kevin Carbotte, BSD, 2021

Neurodivergent Employees Bring Solid Skills

Collaboration with RWA and its partner Level IT Up has proved highly successful for BSD and they have not encountered any challenges with the integration of inclusive hiring practices. Mr. Blair is not short of praise for his new employee. “Mark is a key employee as he is one of the most successful. He is involved in different types of projects, and I am impressed by his dedication and drive. I would have a hard time replacing him if he left,” concluded Mr Blair.   

This success for BSD mirrors many other employer experiences with the RWA program. Indeed in a survey of many hundreds of RWA-partnered employers conducted in May 2017[1], it was noted that 95% of these employers believe that employees with an intellectual disability or on the autism spectrum are as skilled or even more skilled than their colleagues without a disability.

BSD’s commitment to diversity is a demonstration that for companies, thriving through inclusive hiring means improving productivity while creating an accessible work environment for all. Inclusive hiring ensures that neurodivergent employees occupy their rightful place in the labour market, and can use their unique skills, talents, and perspectives to drive innovation.

On the left: Daniel Blair, CEO at Bit Space Development.
On the right: Mark Jones, Computer Engineer at Bit Space Development.

©Kevin Carbotte, BSD, 2021

[1] Centre for Inclusion and Citizenship (CIC), University of British Colombia, 2017.