The 2019 DisruptSW Index features and showcases the businesses and organisations which are addressing diversity challenges within the South West’s tech teams and the technology sector. As part of The Diversity Edition, we caught up with a range of those Disrupters and asked each of them “from a business perspective, what do you consider the potential consequences of a lack of Diversity and Inclusion?”
Lo Wright, Senior Partner Manager: If a company lacks diversity, it lacks ideas. If you have a team made up of the same type of people, whether that be gender identity, sexuality, ethnicity, work experience, tenure at the company, upbringing, background or a combination of, guess what, you’re going to end up with the same results.
If you keep producing the same ideas, you’re going to become outdated and get left behind. The world is changing, and businesses need to change with it.
Jon Mahony, Lead Partner – Systems Engineering UK – Consulting: A lack of diversity and inclusion results in lower employee engagement, lower productivity and ultimately lower profitability.
It also results in lower creativity and a narrower perspective on solutions, outcomes and life overall. Without diversity we wouldn’t be able to bring our clients the best solutions so for us it’s an absolute imperative.
We’re all aware of some of the stories from the past and sadly, some in the not too distant past that have resulted in the creation of products or solutions that have not delivered what they have intended to and in worse cases, they have resulted in serious consequences for the people impacted by the lack of diverse people being involved in the design of the solution. Think seat belts that were only tested on male proportioned crash-test dummies and AI that made incorrect judgements on the likelihood of a population committing a crime all thanks to bias in the training data.
The role of consulting and professional services organisations is to provide new thinking not more of the same. One size does not fit all!⠀⠀
Zoe Taylor, CEO: A workplace that lacks diversity and inclusion is limiting for business growth, employee engagement and employee retention.
Where diversity and inclusion are at the forefront, employees tend to feel more connected and have a high likelihood of remaining with the business.
Jane Ginnever, Group Leader that launched the Bristol WIB Charter: The lack of women at senior levels in business is astounding, given the level of educational achievement and capabilities of women and girls. It’s a systemic problem and won’t be resolved overnight, but the impact of our failure to include that female talent leads to a significant waste of potential for us as a society.
A more diverse and inclusive culture in business benefits men as well as women, providing us all with different models of leadership, making businesses more effective, and making it possible for us all to play a more active part in family and community life.
Hayley Galpin, Project Manager: From businesses that I meet there is a frequent concern that there is a lack of diversity within their current workforce and a lack of new alternative thinking to grow their business further often via recruiting of “what you know”. Similarly, this means businesses are not representative of the customers or community they are within and serving.
To ensure businesses are reflective of the wider talent pool and are able to create, attract and retain future staff, it is imperative they engage with the range of school provisions (including a wider demographic of mainstream schools, alternative provisions and special schools ) to enable them to not only be aware of the employer but also to ensure they have the knowledge and skills to be successful within this field. Therefore a lack of diversity and inclusion means businesses may lack alternative thinking, innovation and perspective on how to take their business forward.
Jane Ginnever, Founder: Well that’s where we have been in the past isn’t it, leading to poor strategic decisions, questionable ethics around how business is done, customer needs not being understood, failing to capitalise on the potential of the whole workforce.
It’s time to change and it’s great to see that change happening across the south-west right now.
Thank you to all of those that have shared their business perspectives on the lack of a Diversity and Inclusion. We hope that they will inspire others to also do their bit.
To find out more about Disrupt South West and to see the 2019 Index, please visit disruptsouthwest.co.uk.