At our recent Diversity and Inclusion Conference, Global Director for Diversity and Inclusion at Microsoft Roland White challenged our industry to breakdown systemic bias and asked one big question: what can you do differently?

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) is a core pillar of Microsoft’s strategy, in fact, one of their CEO’s key beliefs is “empowering every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more”. Microsoft place a lot of emphasis on their leaders to role model behaviour and do something about D&I rather than just talk about it.

Watch Roland's presentation in full (34m)

Practice what you preach

Microsoft feel that they have a responsibility to encourage their partners, suppliers and vendors to live their values. One of many ways they encourage this is through their design toolkit, which provides free resources and training that anyone can download. Why? Because it is the right thing to do.

Inherent & acquired diversity

Roland feels that we place too much emphasis on inherent diversity — gender, age, race, disability, sexual orientation — whereas we should really be thinking about acquired diversity, which considers mindsets and ways of thinking that people acquire through their experiences.

A greater consideration of these will allow us to begin to recognise our unconscious bias and understand that we are all in it together — from there we can then start building a culture of inclusivity.

Inclusive design

If there was one thing that Roland wanted us to take away from his presentation it was for us to really think about inclusive design; a principle that can be applied to everything we do. To do this properly, he says that there are three rules we must follow:

  1. Recognise exclusion: Exclusion happens when we solve problems using our own biases.
  2. Learn from diversity: Human beings are the real experts in adapting to diversity.
  3. Solve for one, extend to many: Focus on what is universally important to all human beings.

Inclusive design doesn’t mean you’re designing one thing for all people. You’re designing a diversity of things so everyone finds a way to participate.

Watch Roland’s full presentation (34m)

Comments (2)

  1. Designing a diversity of things so everyone can find a way to participate is really a big but helpful project.

    Wei Min Feng Wei Min Feng, 17 October at 08:08AM

  2. Very informative presentation with ideas that can and should be applied to all areas of service provision and building design.

    Paul McLaughlin Paul McLaughlin, 22 December at 11:09AM

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