On design and diversity

Leader image
Problem Choice
Diverse organisations tackle diverse problems when they tackle their own problems. Photo courtesy Scott McLeod.

Further thoughts on design and diversity from the ind.ie/summit.

Following on from yesterday’s post, here is some further material on the subject of design and diversity from last month’s ind.ie/summit.

Lena Reinhard, one of our lovely friends from hood.ie, gave an excellent talk on designing independence.

Designing independence by Lena Reinhard (read the transcript).

Following Lena’s talk, at the end of the first design track, we also held a panel discussion on design where diversity was, again, discussed.

Designing independence panel featuring Ivanka Majic, Lena Reinhard, Laura Kalbag, Cole Peters, and Aral Balkan. (read the transcript).

If anything, we must start to see diversity in our organisations as a core criterion of organisational success, and as a basic ingredient of good design. Diversity is not some sort of decoration you sprinkle on a spongecake; it is either the cake itself or it is not.

Assumptions, whether conscious or otherwise, of diversity as decoration lead to the sort of superficial thinking that drives debates on ‘quotas’ and ‘merit’. Much energy is spent bikeshedding about these red herrings as we repeatedly miss the core of the issue.

Just like design itself, diversity cannot be seen as a layer within an organisation. It’s not something to be sprinkled on later for taste when found to be lacking.

Diversity, like design, is a cross-cutting concern.

And if we want to meet the societal challenges of our day, we must bake diversity into the core of the cake.