Less People Blind, More Deliberate: A Better Path to Successful Organizational D&I Practices
Timothy Bardlavens is "the black guy." With a career trajectory that's seemed to have move at light speed, he has grown from a Graphic Administrator at a trophy shop to a Sr. Director of Creative and UX in little under five years. His passions can be narrowed down into 5 simple categories: diversity & inclusion, digital design, leadership/mentoring, design thinking & research and house plants. Within these five lie a plethora of sub-categories, talents, focuses, eccentricities and oddities. At Microsoft his work is focused on the future of product and product innovation, in addition to working within the organization to understand and improve its diversity and inclusion practices.
This presentation will explore the challenges of establishing or transforming diversity and inclusion practices within teams and/or organizations as well as tips on how to do it successfully.
Often we are told the industry isn’t diverse enough, that it needs to be more inclusive. But what does that mean and how do you do it? Many companies have incorporated “people blind” practices where they attempt to strip the idiosyncrasies of a person, focusing more on homogeneous attempts at making others feel included—this is usually a fearful attempt at not insulting anyone, by never admitting people are different. Organizations have attempted to address D&I through mandatory sensitivity courses that address stereotypes or flaunt a series of networks for women, people of color, LGBTQIA, etc. and others simply ignore the problem altogether. But what if we broke down the walls of the silos of ‘networks’—which segregate individuals into “like” groups and never address D&I issues that may be within a team—or dared to have socioeconomically specific conversations. What if we allowed ourselves to be insulted and openly explained the significance of that insult? What if we stopped consistently recruiting from only predominately white institutions or deliberately sought out a woman for a developer role? Though it is easier said than done, D&I is more closely achieved when it is deliberate—when we stop using people blind methods as fair ways to hire and treat people, but we have open conversations within the workplace on religion, gender and race issues.