Hey! We’re Jahan and Boyuan, co-founders of Project Inkblot, a team of designers and futurists who partner with companies to build equitable products, services and content using Design for Diversity™(D4D). D4D is a framework that illuminates blind spots around cultural and racial biases within your design, ideation and creative processes in order to create better work.
As women of color, and consultants, we’ve worked on everything from designing IRL programs for women entrepreneurs to marketing campaigns for the HIV/LBGTQ/homeless community. We noticed that the people these campaigns aimed to reach (namely POC, women and other misrepresented communities) were rarely part of decision-making. We realized the process we were using to engage these communities and the way we thought about the impact of excluding them, was a process that could be codified and shared with others.
These experiences resulted in our Design for Diversity™ framework. People tend to think of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts in terms of implicit bias workshops, employee resource groups, and hiring strategies. These efforts are all important, but we focus on DEI as it relates to the creation of products, services, and content and use a design-thinking approach to tackle these tricky issues.
Our belief is that the future is present, and for our work and world to thrive, we must - and can - all be leaders in designing an equitable future. You have an incredible opportunity to be ahead of the curve by both preparing for, and creating, that future. Many of the mistakes we’ve seen - in the news, pop culture, media and tech, could have been avoided via critical thinking and sourcing diverse perspectives through an equitable framework.
It’s important to acknowledge that D4D is not a cure all for racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other ism. It is however, a way-finding tool, an opportunity to stop and think critically and thoughtfully as you move through your own process so you can mitigate unnecessary errors, and clear the path for excellent work. You can use D4D to integrate critical thinking into your existing processes so you can start examining what you are designing - and for whom - as well as the future intended/unintended impacts of those designs out in the world.