Written by Brook Hauge, Associate Director, Strategy at Canvas Worldwide and Jana Wentz, VP, Account Director at RPA
Edited by Don Lupo, Director of Content and Marketing at ThinkLA
Diversity is about representation, while inclusion is having an equal seat and a voice at the table. At the end of the day, I notice and you notice. We have the ability to make this world more open and inclusive for everyone.
If we keep pushing at the same ideas and ideals, we are simply pattern matching, which runs the risk of “mirror-tocracy” (funding and working with those who look, feel, and seem just like yourself) vs. meritocracy (influenced by those in power).
From a technology perspective, people are inherently looking for, craving, and designing more connections, but are we really creating meaningful ones? We teach ourselves bad habits, and now through AI, we are teaching our devices bad habits. We are starting to see the effect which AI devices have on emotional intelligence when we remove “Please” and “Thank you” from our digital connections.
This also questions how we are able to infuse empathy into technology processes. We wonder how we will teach the next generation to be utilitarian with their various connected lives and how we will teach them to use the power of human connection and empathy to connect through these same devices. It will become necessary to connect with others through experiences that remove us from our own bias and put us in simulated environments that shape a more inclusive self.
We also learned that change is difficult, and everyone recognizes the need for uprising. However, few know where to start to implement real change. There are so many cultural conversations that need to be dimensionalized. Humans know what is right, but we need forums like 3% to rally around and to lean into ideas other than your own or your small circle.
The CMOs have taught us that inclusivity builds business. Being vulnerable, authentic, and drawing knowledge/inspiration from others is how great culture is formed; dictatorial and didactic leadership is not accepted in today’s workforce. We learned there is no better place to start than forming allies: share success, not just failures. We can build up each other with positive stories.
Representation is at the root of it all. Who are the people making the decisions? Who is writing the script? How are decisions being made? You cannot just convince people; they change their point of view when they experience something that challenges their beliefs. The world is one social conversational moment at a time: those moments become movements, but they remain moments if we call them that. By dismissing things as moments and not embracing them as movements, we remove the power of all the steps that got us from then to now.
When there is 30% or more of any group in a room, psychologically, we stop seeing anyone as a minority.
In addition, Radical empathetic listening is about putting ourselves in others’ shoes to truly understand what they are experiencing. This helps us all understand how others might be marginalized or not included at all. Empathic listening is really about exercising how we listen and learn about someone’s story and using “I” language. Using “I” when you tell another person’ story as if it was your own, you begin to feel what they feel. Understanding someone else is the societal start to truly connecting. Everything has become very data-driven, and we are missing the emotion in it. Radical empathy can inject that back into the experience.
At the intersection of all things possible is tech and human content. Choose your words: Communication is the tool we use to create change. Language is a creator or bias and is fundamentally crowdsourced. We need to break the system. Unconscious bias leaves people with a desire not to speak; language can be an excluder, but there are ways to participate (rewrite the dictionary, educate to empathize, believe in change). By using new language, we can actually change.
Fight. Flight. Freeze. (Change through the Freeze). We are a collective; heroism is gone. We are in search of the connections, and women and leaders who are redefining the rules by which we live, work, play. Speak and include everyone at the very beginning.