Are you conscious of your bias? 

Here at Purple Monster we are thrilled when someone asks us to bring something to life. It’s what we love doing. Who wouldn’t want to breathe life into something that is ailing and in need of a boost. Wait a minute we’re not St Francis of Assisi.

Let us start again. Over the last 5 years or so we have been asked to help bring to life many different things, but when we are asked to do anything around Diversity and Inclusion, our collective ears prick up. But bringing to life something as important as inclusion isn’t always as difficult a brief as others that we may get.

Could you bring our vision to life in a simple picture? ‘Wow! in one picture!’

Could you do a fun drawing of our new IT processes? ‘ALANA?!?! HELP!’

We need some help on getting our people engaged‘ Now, where do we start?’

These are all difficult things to get right, which is why people have asked us for help in the first place. But the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) work is inclusive and diverse by its very nature and that’s the sort of work that we like to do.

Bringing Diversity and Inclusion to Life

Many years ago, we would perhaps have created some scenarios and played them out asking people to spot where the problem areas are.

We might have created a piece of forum theatre which is a wonderful way of surfacing difficulties and problems. But the big challenge here is that often we simply don’t have the opportunity for face to face engagement. So, you have to find new ways to engage in the remote and digital world.

 

Hidden biases of good people

Last year we had the fortune to be introduced to the book, Blind Spot by Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald. This is a brilliant read which talks about the ‘hidden biases of good people’.

We all like to think that we are ‘good people’ and none of us would willingly be hurtful, harmful or even discriminatory to anyone. Would we? (if you answered yes, we need to have a little chat) Banaji writes about the experience of creating the IAT (Implicit Association Test) at Harvard University. They show whether an individual has a minor or major bias towards certain groups, ethnicities, genders, body types etc. If you have never done it then we would encourage you to take a look. You might be surprised at your responses to things that you haven’t really thought to be true about yourself. It is also a great tool for opening up conversations around bias with employees or teams.

Applying the D&I principles

Last year we were lucky enough to bring this to life with a group of people spread all over the world who were simply dialling in to a large online meeting. When you can’t show video and you can’t play audio you are limited in the ways that you can get interaction.

Inspired by the IAT we created a simple exercise on PowerPoint and directed people to the actual resources just as we have done here. The thing that got people’s attention was that they discovered they had a particular bias when they had not known or even countenanced that they would have. And that’s the point of this article really.

If you are fortunate enough to be born into a life that looks on you favourably then you have never really had to look outside of your own experiences to imagine a world that is not like that for everyone.

EXERCISE

Which table is bigger?

They are the same size…

Our eyes have seen it in 2D but our brain has interpreted it into 3D and how it ‘should’ be in the real world.

Can we teach ourselves to see beyond the obvious?

The world changing effect of D&I in Business

If you are fortunate enough to be working in a company that sticks to its purpose and whose people espouse the values of the organisation then they can be categorical about how people should behave on a particular issue. ‘This is what our values state and this is what we stick to’.

So, businesses could play a significant role in leading us all toward a more diverse and inclusive world, simply because, where we work, it is unacceptable not to be. If you don’t observe the required standards, you simply won’t fit in here and will have to go.

We know that this won’t solve all the problems in the world around under-representation or blatant discrimination but at least for the time that we are at work we are being exposed to a world that won’t allow it.

Applying the principles

We would urge you to do an IAT and then think about and take action on the results that you get from it. We know you’re all ‘good people’ but even you, yes YOU, might have a blind spot that you have been unable to see. We know we have, you might want to have a little chat…
As well as helping large groups of employees consider their position on bias, we are able to bring fun, interactivity and creativity to a whole range of online or virtual sessions.

We are always happy to chat through ideas and how we can add imagination and creativity to your content.

Get in touch with us here to have a chat about bringing Diversity and Inclusion to life in your organisation

Making unconscious biases, conscious

Get in touch with us and we would be happy to share our experiences and insight. 



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