What is Design for Diversity™ (D4D)?
Design for Diversity™ (D4D) is a design framework that drives business growth by achieving better outcomes for your products, services and content. D4D equips teams to illuminate cultural and racial biases in their work flows before they cause actual harm or miss new market opportunities.
What do you mean by “diversity is a design process?”
Diversity doesn’t just happen. The impact of thinking about diversity, equity and inclusion, or not, in your design process influences everything from the ideation to the execution of your plan. Every one of these touch points are subject to human bias. Therefore our design process has you examine: why you’re designing a service or product, how you are designing it, who you are in the design, what and whom it’s being designed for.
Where can you apply Design for Diversity™?
You can use D4D for organizational design. You can use D4D when designing a new product or service. You can use D4D for curating a public program. You can use D4D to design your new staff on-boarding strategy. You can use D4D to design a new internal culture program. You can use D4D to redesign your board. You can use D4D to design the programming for your conference. We hope you got the picture…you can use D4D to design anything where DEI ought to be involved, and that’s anything that impacts humans.
If my company just made a big public booboo, can you help?
If you are looking for a crisis management PR firm to clean up your mistake, that’s not what we offer. However, if your company is interested in doing the deep work of transforming your day-to-day business processes to Design for Diversity™ from the onset and prevent ever having these crises, let’s work together!
My company is having a hard time hiring/retaining POC. Is this something you can support us in?
We don’t directly do recruitment/staffing work centered on DEI. However, if you are looking for a framework that will illuminate biases in your current systems and strategies and will help you create an internal program that addresses the root cause of your challenge, we’re down! Doing that work also illuminates exactly what expertise you’ll need next, and we have some badass partners that we’ll link you up with. That enables us to create effective and sustainable solutions sourced by your team, which absolutely will impact retention.
We don’t have any POC or women at our creative agency, and our client is launching a product for WOC. Can you help?
If you’re looking for us as WOC to leverage your credibility with your client, but have no plans for us to be leaders on the project, that is not Designing for Diversity™, and therefore we are not the right partners for you.
If you intend on bringing us into the core team, to lead from the authentic vantage points of being of the communities your client is trying to reach (which is Designing for Diversity™), let’s work together!
What types of companies do you work with?
We work with companies that are truly committed (time/money/resources/leadership buy-in) to DEI, and are not sure what to do next. Maybe you’ve done an implicit bias workshop and are now asking, “now what?”. Maybe your company set forth a lofty public commitment toward DEI efforts, but you’re overwhelmed about where to begin. We can rock with that!
We’re not in the business of convincing people or defending the importance of DEI. There are a plethora of resources out there that prove the business case, moral imperative, and global shift. If your company doesn’t yet get it, we’re just not the right partner for you right now.
Who can use the Design for Diversity™ framework?
Everyone! Design for Diversity™(D4D) is a framework that anyone can learn. Integrate D4D into any of your existing processes to illuminate potential biases at every human touchpoint. Using D4D surfaces important cultural blind spots before they impact the quality of your work, or jeopardize your brand. Beyond risk mitigation, D4D illuminates opportunities for better design!
If I’m trained to Design for Diversity™, will I be able to easily teach my team and colleagues?
Yes. Undergoing our initial training is simple, and so is following the exercises in our toolkit. Practicing D4D, and avoiding defaulting to business-as-usual takes dedication, accountability and hard work! After all, we are designing against dominant culture. This is why our work with you is not a one-in-done. We partner with your organization to create achievable goals, focused on fast and small wins. This develops muscle over time. D4D is meant to provide your entire team with the agency to do this on their own, and not to rely only on the people at the brunt of inequities or consultants to “fix the problem.”
We’re an unfunded DEI committee at a startup. We’re organizing a speaker series, but don't have a budget. Can we book you?
Unfortunately we cannot provide free labor, but DEI folks are often expected to do so! What we frequently see is passionate and dedicated folks (like you) running DEI committees at their companies (for free), when they already have other jobs. Without the full commitment and buy-in of top leadership, DEI committees often are expected to "fix" the diversity problem, without the infrastructure or authority that would initiate company-wide transformation. We often see this leading to burnout, resentment, and high turnover (which ironically is why companies urgently need to address DEI). We believe that pro bono work feeds into lip service and not a true commitment to change. We see you and acknowledge your hard work, and we urge you to have your leadership put their money where their mouth is.
Do you speak at conferences, provide keynotes, or teach workshops?
Yes, yes and yes. If you are considering us, please note that we make it as interactive as possible, so participants can be part of the conversation. We Design for Diversity™everywhere, so even our talks account for different learning styles. Count on us not to just stop at inspiration, but provide tangible takeaways that produce change.
These definitions are integral to the Design for Diversity™ framework. Please note that others may define them differently.
Design is the creation of a plan to build an object, system or even a human interaction.
[What’s the plan?]
Diversity is quantitative. It’s the composition of different people represented in your marketing campaign, the decision makers on your product team.
[Who is in the room?]
Inclusion speaks to the quality of the experience you’ve designed for these diverse folks, so they experience themselves as leaders and decision makers.
[Do diverse folks experience themselves as leaders and decision-makers?]
Equity lives in how we design our systems and processes; the way we work, and who we work with, so we are upholding our commitment to diversity and inclusion.
[What are the systems + processes upholding diversity + inclusion?]
Frameworks are the basic structures that enable complex systems to function.
[What’s the structure in place?]
Misrepresented Communities are communities that have been defined by dominant culture, and have been denied the ability to define themselves on their own terms, and are therefore falsely or narrowly represented. We use this instead of “underrepresented” or “marginalized”, because those identifiers again center dominant culture, which is exactly what D4D is redistributing the design point of view (POV) away from.
[How do these communities define themselves?]