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Embracing Inclusion with Design Thinking – Driving Innovation

Wow!  That’s a long name.   I signed up – sort of – I was supposed to be a facilitator.  “supposed to” being key word here.  We ended up combining teams – I’ll talk about that later.

So breaking down the name “Embracing Inclusion”. 

What does that part really mean?  It means equality for everyone.  We already do that right?  I mean most of us live in countries that embrace you no matter if you are a man, women, have a different color of skin, or a different sounding name. Right?   So it’s silly to do a seminar about embracing inclusion right?  OK – now a quick exercise for you.  Take a look at the team you are working with.  Are they all men?  Are they all women?  Are they all the same color?  All with the same type of names?  All introverts / all extroverts?  In sum do they all look like, act like the hiring person?  Now go up the ladder, to the next boss, and the next one.

Have you thought about it?  Do you see similarities?  Vishal, himself, took an interest in the subject.  He told us how hard it was for him to move up in the SAP German ranks.  He told of the different people that he worked with. Some of them had a problem with his background, and I don’t mean what was on his resume.  He worked through the problems and issues and came out on top.

So what does this have to do with this seminar?

Everything.  We used design thinking to tackle some of the problems around embracing inclusion.  The teams that I was on choose the problem “How to get the boss to have a more diverse team?”.  Our ideas ranged from putting him in a cage with a lion to sensitivity training.  Well – they told us to have open ideas.

So we put all of our “brain storming” thoughts on sticky notes and put them on a white board.  We found a very common theme.  So our final thought was to just make baby steps, and end up with a BIG change.  This we put into a 3-D prototype.  Doesn’t sound like much, but behind it was some ideas.  And it needs to be finished.  It is just the start.

Teched Women and other countries

It was fun.  It was shocking.  The reasons different people were there.  It made me really look at the crowd at Teched.  I could see diversity in countries.  YES!  We are on the right track with that one.  However, where were all the women? 

Where were all the women speakers? 

Go take a look at the Teched speaker (for Vegas).   There are approx. 40 women speakers.  That’s a high amount you think.  That’s out of appox. 357.  So that is about 11%.   Why?  Oh my gosh, SAP Teched they must be non-inclusive of women.  No really, why?  Less and less women are involved in Technology.  Even fewer want to speak about technology.  Yes diversity is more than just the man / woman ratio.  That was just an easy one for me to pick – I of course could be in error.  I did a quick count and didn’t double check.  I normally have a computer database, but of course could only eyeball the SAP Speaker/Expert page.

Women at Innojam / Countries at Innojam

You want to find even less women involved?  Take a look at the Innojam pictures.  I’m not sure how many of us were there.  A handful, maybe.    Countries, there were many, many countries.  (My Innojam blog should be out shortly.  I have to do them both you know.  Both go to them, and blog about them.)

Embracing Inclusion with Design Thinking – Driving Innovation

Now this seminar was FULL – at least it was signed up as full.  And before we did team break outs,  there were quite a few people there.  Once there was a break we had less than half of the people left.  Less than half! And so, now I think to myself – was it the topic?  They really didn’t know what they were signing up for?  I think it was very clear.

By the way men were the minority in this seminar not women.  So the tables were turned.  “We”, the women, had to make “them” the man feel included.  That wasn’t an issue in our team.  Robert was a large part of making the team successful.  He presented with at the end.

Why did they leave?

I have no idea.

  • Maybe Las Vegas was calling?  If it was Vegas calling, why come at all?  Oh yes, free drinks, and food.
  • Or did they just not think diversity was a problem?  It didn’t affect them or their team.  So why stay?  Interesting thoughts.  If   So then if it was them thinking diversity is not a problem.  Well I’d say we have a problem.  Even if they come from the perfect environment.  And every department at their workplace is diverse then the rest of us need to learn from them. 
  • Maybe it was the whole design thinking thing.  Oh WOW was that incredible.  What a great way to get us working as a team.  We had a diverse team.  We had introverts, extroverts, a man – they were hard to find at this event, and people from all over the globe.  So diverse – it was great!  We played upon each other.  One would have an idea then another person would have an idea based upon the first.

At the end we came up with a “solution”.  Not really – and I shared it above.  That solution needs to be taken to the next level.  It really is just the beginning.  I’m hoping we can get behind this and really start to share ideas.

Great Event!  If you missed it, you really missed something incredible.  Those that left, I feel bad for you, it was a great event.

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  1. Anne Hardy
    Yesterday for the first time ever since I joined SAP… or even started to work (omg!) i had a work meeting – around technologies but not too technical I confess… – where there were 50% of women. Unbelievable! The dynamics were so different from usual. Very refreshing. All of us should live this once to feel the difference and benefits. I hope I’ll get more of these great meeting experiences!
    By the way it is one of my goals (not even secret) to bring more women to InnoJam events. ANy idea welcome 🙂
    -anne
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    1. Michelle Crapo Post author

      MMMMMMMMmmmmm….  Now I’m thinking about it.   More women to Innojam.   That would be a great thing.   More woment to Teched would be good too.Michelle

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