Issue No.05 — Diversity

01 of 04
May 2021

Presenting our fifth spotlight: delving into what diversity & inclusion means today

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INSIGHT

Gen Z and Millennial populations are the most diverse in modern history.

In the US, 47% of Gen Z are non-white compared with only 26% of Baby Boomers.

And that’s just ethnic diversity.

Sexual orientation is also more fluid with each generation that passes with only 52% of Gen Z 'only attracted to the opposite sex' versus 84% of Baby Boomers.

For businesses, diversity as a concept should encompass a wide spectrum.

It has been proven for a number of years now, that companies with cultural and gender diversity are more profitable.

Given the commercial pressures on most businesses, demonstrating the bottom-line benefit helps Diversity & Inclusion remain firmly on the agenda.

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'Reset Normal' – courtesy of The North Face

STRATEGY

This link to profit can feel uncomfortable for many, as D&I is fundamentally about equity.

With 85% of Gen Z believing brands should be about 'more than just profit', it’s fitting for businesses to align financial targets with a clear purpose.

The trouble with D&I is that often it feels like a tick-box exercise with superficial measures in place which only serves to further alienate audiences.

High profile cases such as Timnit Gebru’s departure of Google, ironically after speaking out about AI bias underlines the need for companies to follow through their publicly facing communications with genuinely progressive and human ways to include and welcome all groups.

How we collect data, enable workers to speak out and follow-through with consistent action outside our organisations are all areas in need of continuous review.

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'Life Unseen' – courtesy of LIFEWTR

DESIGN

Disability is an aspect of diversity that is often ignored or forgotten.

Yet nearly one in five working adults in the UK has a disability.

Thankfully, innovation in product and experience design is starting to address this overlooked audience.

Recent personal care launches include Unilever’s 'radically redesigned deodorant package' for people with limited upper body mobility.

In the retail space, Liberare positions itself as 'disability inclusive lingerie', creating aesthically pleasing options for modern women with special needs.

Moving technology design away from 'eyes and ears', Tuso’s Aro haptic band has been created to help those with sensorial disabilities navigate city streets through gentle nudges. So successful, it is being developed for use for full-sighted people – proof that design for good can change everyone’s worlds.

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Aro haptic band – courtesy of Tuso