The Perspective Series:
Design for Diversity
Our lives are busy so we sometimes take the easy option. We talk to people we already know, we enjoy finding things we have in common. But by not intentionally including, we are unintentionally excluding. It’s the Old Boys’ Network in a different guise. How can we consciously design for diversity?
Our lives are busy so we sometimes take the easy option. We talk to people we already know, we enjoy finding things we have in common, it’s reassuring to be among ‘people like us’.
But we also know that the best ideas come from collaboration, we know that innovation comes from challenge. How do we overcome our affinity bias and ensure we are not only open to but actively encouraging other people’s world views?
Diversity is not static, we are constantly learning and evolving how we apply our knowledge and understanding to situation, experiences and relationships.
Here are 5 top tips to adopt to ensure we are ‘Designing by Diversity’:
- Inclusiveness of all is key. Take some time to think about your network. Identify someone who is different from yourself and think about what you can learn from them and how you can how you can become their ally.
- In this TEDTalk , Kimberlé Crenshaw calls out this reality of ‘Intersectionality’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fh8tP-7R5Ms&list=PLPTqUXuJ7a5eTw3_dxSmIF4GOBd0lnbQN The term ‘intersectionality’ describes the reality of multiple biases and looks at how different aspects of social and political discrimination overlap with gender. Challenge yourself to adopt a more intersectional mindset in order to be inclusive of all forms of difference.
- Take a chance on people – ‘lift up the unlikely’. Over 45% of our disabled people are willing and able to work but don’t get the chance. Recognise the strength in diversity and the vast skills that people with disabilities can bring to an organisation: Disabled people make exceptional employees because they are:
- Excellent problem solvers
- Exceptional planners who have an innate ability to anticipate
- Aware of their surrounds
- They’re creating ‘workarounds’ every day
- Walk a mile in the shoes of the people that you are trying to understand. Spend time with them, ask questions and develop an understanding of the differences in your
worlds. Develop an understanding of how ‘micro-aggressions’ normalise racism, because only by truly understanding others challenges, can we develop understanding through empathy.