In 2023, Version 1 held its first-ever CTO competition – the Great GPT Tech Off, developed by Brad Mallard. This competition challenged our people to find innovative means of utilising GPT.

Jude and her team won the competition with the idea of adapting GPT technology to improve communication for neurodiverse people, improving independence and quality of life.

This fantastic idea was developed further with the AI Labs, into ‘Simplified Stories’ a web application with LLM integration that will allow for social stories to be created with beautiful animations and narrations to help people with neurodiversity.

We sat down with Jude McVitty, Social Value Manager and Filippo Sassi, Head of AI Labs to discuss the journey of creating TNMOC Mate.

Jude, what was the moment you realised the impact your idea could have on inclusivity in tech?

I actually started with the idea that AI was going to do incredible things for inclusivity, and you could see it in the distance. You could see how it would work, and then I had to narrow that down into something that you could do a proof of concept with. So, it wasn’t so much that the idea is more proof of the inclusivity that tech is capable of with AI and with these new developments more than the idea came to a point where I realised that you could be inclusive with tech.

For me, it was always the big picture, what excited me and then finding a way to almost illustrate that to the innovation labs so that they had the impetus and the energy to take it forward.

Filippo, the app Version 1 built for the National Museum of Computing, TNMOC Mate, how does it foster inclusivity?

TNMOC Mate is an easy-to-use app that uses generative AI to make the museum more accessible and engaging. It’s very easy to use, just scan a QR code, choose your language and age-appropriate persona, and enjoy the museum content. All the instructions, videos and audio recordings are all AI-generated. It’s inclusive, catering to diverse languages and the neurodiverse community, and sets a new standard for accessible educational experiences.

And, looking ahead, how do you see AI’s role evolving in creating more inclusive opportunities?

There are many ways that AI can be used to promote inclusivity like we saw with the National Museum of Computing. We could use voice-to-text services and/or text-to-voice. We could use translation services to make the content more accessible to neurodiverse people or people with different language backgrounds.

Another use case could be to create tailored learning experiences. So, for example, we can have students with diverse abilities learn in more effective ways, but we could also help teachers to best adapt to different learning styles.

Finally, AI could be used to analyse data so for example we can spot gaps in Social Services or suggest improvements to reach, disregarded groups in a more effective way.

Jude, looking forward, how do you see your innovation unlocking the potential of newer diverse individuals and encouraging them into the world of tech?

I think any tech that tackles the question of neurodiversity is going to attract people who are neurodiverse to be interested in technology. So, early adopters and people who enjoy technology who are neurodiverse will play with this, hopefully, and that will encourage them to think about technology as a place that is for them because we are here working at that sort of experiment and that sort of innovation here.

What does placing as finalist for this award mean to you both, personally?

Jude: It’s incredibly exciting to have been part of the process of building something that is innovative enough and interesting enough to go global effectively, that there’s something I’ve been a part of in the middle of Northern Ireland from a completely different background outside of tech like a combination of science fiction and imagination and resilience and moxie have led to the organisation.

Potentially being recognised in a global way. It’s just it’s just phenomenal. It’s mind-blowing.

And it’s really exciting and it’s going to give me a lot of energy for the future to come back, hitting hard basically.

Filippo: Being a finalist for an award is a testament to my team’s dedication, passion and hard work in implanting excellent AI solutions.  It has enhanced Version 1’s industry standing and ignites our drive for innovation and success.

Additionally, its recognition of TNMOC’s role in preserving computing history, underscoring the value of collaboration and the role of technology in creating accessible, inclusive educational resources that inspire.

Jude, how will the recognition of this award influence your approach to future projects aimed at fostering diversity and inclusiveness in the tech community?

So my job is fostering part of my job. A large part of my job in the social value remit is fostering inclusivity. Whether that means in terms of social mobility, which is a big part of social value. But yeah, disabilities and thinking outside the box about how to include people is very, very much part of my job. And already I’ve toured this in community groups to show them how exciting AI is for people who think outside the box.

How this is going to be a game changer for people who are late in the game acquiring skills and how it is very, very accessible for everyone. So it’s already changed some of the things that I offer in terms of the people to offer people I work with, and it’s already changed what kind of workshops I’m interested in making available to people. Basically, the ease of the technology is the main takeaway from me. I mean the tech itself is going to be cool and there’s going to be not just version one I predict in the future are going to be working on really really cool ideas around.

What AI can do for neurodiversity? What AI can do for just inclusion in general? But the thing that AI can do for inclusion in the back end of tech is the next wave, and that’s what I’m really taking away, that it’s like the prompt generation and the ability of people to who’s already think outside of the box to access that a little bit more quickly than having to learn Java is going to be huge and I’m really excited about it.

And finally, Filippo, can you share any upcoming initiatives or developments in the AI Labs that are inspired by the principles of inclusivity recognised by this award?

AI Labs are at the forefront of new and inclusive projects. We are building an app tailored for people with learning difficulties brought on by a disease condition and also creating awareness of the condition. We are using the power of Generative AI to shape a world where all have the chance to learn, grow, and succeed, despite the troubles they may face in their educational journey.


Jude joined Version 1 in 2021 to lead our Social Value initiatives and deliver our SV commitments to our customers. With a background in the creative arts and community programming/development, Jude has worked with some of the most vulnerable people in the UK and Ireland to improve their independence, confidence and self-expression.  Jude is continuing this work with the support of Version 1, identifying new ways to improve access to opportunity through skills, technology, and innovative/joined up thinking.

Filippo Sassi is the head of the Version 1 AI Labs. With several years of experience in innovation and cutting-edge technologies, and leading teams, he is passionate about agile development and the transformative potential of AI technology to drive business growth and deliver value.

For the full story, see our case study below.

Simplified Stories has also now been made available for mobile, for more details contact us.

“The team at Version 1, with their deep understanding of our goals and their expertise in utilising these Microsoft tools, was instrumental in bringing our vision to life. […] We’re proud to be at the forefront of museum accessibility, and this collaboration with Microsoft and Version 1 has undoubtedly played a key role in achieving that.”

-Jacqui Garrad, Museum Director, The National Museum of Computing

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