Tag Archives: inclusivity

Four Ways to Build Inclusive Teams

Four Ways to Build Inclusive Teams

GUEST POST from David Burkus

At the core of teamwork is the need to solve problems. And when generating solutions, the more diverse a team you have, the more ideas you can generate. Sort of. The rationale behind diversity being a strength on teams is solid. When you’ve built a team of various perspectives, experiences, skills, and abilities, each person brings that variety into discussions and more diverse ideas get generated. More ideas mean a better chance of finding the perfect solution.

But that’s not always what happens.

It turns out that diversity alone is not enough to turn a team of very different individuals into a very effective one. In fact, research suggests diversity alone on a team can actually diminish performance. It’s diversity, paired with a feeling of that diversity being valued that matters. In other words, its diversity plus inclusion.

In this, article, we’ll outline four ways to build inclusive teams to turn diversity into the strength we know it can be.

1. Share Information

The first way to build inclusive teams is to share information. There is no easier way to make people feel excluded than to give them the impression that others on the team or in the organization are getting access to more information and opportunities than they are. Saying that a certain bit of intel is on a “need to know” basis immediately makes people question why they “don’t need to know.” But the opposite is also true, when people receive what they perceive to be privileged intel, they feel like they matter and that they’re included.

For leaders, this means the goal should be to share information as liberally as possible. It means the default reaction to receiving new information should be to share it with your team. Obviously, there will always be information you receive and aren’t permitted to share. But unless it’s expressly stated that something is off limits, seek to share it on your team. Likewise, encourage others to share, and even over-share, information they receive. This not only helps the team feel more inclusive, but it also helps everyone make better decisions as well.

2. Build Trust

The second way to build inclusive teams is to build trust. Without trust, a team isn’t really a team. It’s just a bunch of strangers who work alongside each other. And without trust, there’s no way to foster inclusivity because there’s no one willing to be vulnerable, share differing opinions, or admit mistakes. Inclusive teams bring out the best ideas because people feel that they can be themselves—and that requires some level of prior trust built up before the act of expression.

For leaders, building trust often requires you to go first in being vulnerable. When you’re willing to admit mistakes (or even just that you don’t know) and when you share unknown qualities about you, the people on your team recognize that you are trusting them with that information. And some of them will respond in kind—and then when they’re vulnerable, others will respond in kind as well. Eventually, through this cycle of vulnerability and acceptance—you’ll take the trust on your team to a whole new level.

3. Train Respect

The third way to build inclusive teams is to train respect. It’s not enough just to be vulnerable and step out in trust. That act of vulnerability needs to be met with acceptance. In other words, people need to feel their trusting moment was respect. They need to feel that their opinions are respected, that their ideas aren’t quickly judged, and that their self-expressions aren’t being ridiculed. Some on the team may unconsciously signal respect already, but some may unconsciously signal disrespect, judgment or worse. Many times, people don’t know the response they make is perceive as disrespectful to the person who was vulnerable.

For leaders, this means modeling the way by demonstrating what respectful responses look like. Research suggests the number one reason for incivility in the workplace is leaders NOT being enough of a positive role model to train others. When teammates are sharing opinions—model active listening. When people share differing ideas—ask them questions inside of making judgements. Recognize when someone is stepping out in trust and meet that trust with respect in a way that all can see. Because when they can see you respecting others, they learn how to respond themselves.

4. Create Safety

The fourth way to build inclusive teams is to create safety. Safety here doesn’t refer to creating a “safe space.” There are no safe spaces—only safe people. Safety refers to psychological safety—a climate where team members feel safe to express themselves and take risks. (You could almost say that inclusion and psychological safety are synonymous—almost.) And while trust and respect make up a lot of psychological safety—how teams and individuals respond to setbacks, mistakes, and failures is a third crucial element. For people to feel accepted and included, they must know that you include their occasional failures and mistakes. And more importantly, creating psychological safety helps teams adopt a growth mindset and share in lessons from those mistakes as well.

For leaders, responding to failures happens in two different ways. The first is how you admit mistakes to your team. Do you seek to blame someone on the team, organization, or environment? Or do you take ownership and also share what you learned? The second is how you respond to mistakes on your team. Do you ask questions to find the learning moments, or do you focus solely on how the team can “make up for it”? Creating safety requires re-framing failure as a learning moment—your failures and also the team’s failures.

Speaking of failures, there will be some failures along the way toward building a more inclusive team. It’s going to take time. But as these four methods become habits, the team will rise in trust and respect and so will the feeling of inclusion. And when they’re feeling included, the whole team will be able to do their best work ever.

Image credit: Unsplash

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Design Thinking and Diversity & Inclusion

Fostering Innovation through Different Perspectives

Design Thinking and Diversity & Inclusion

GUEST POST from Chateau G Pato

Design Thinking has emerged as a powerful methodology that enables organizations to tackle complex problems and create innovative solutions. At its core, Design Thinking encourages empathy, collaboration, and iteration. However, to fully reap the benefits of this approach, organizations must recognize the importance of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) in the design process. By incorporating diverse perspectives, organizations can foster innovation and create solutions that better serve their customers and communities. In this article, we will explore how Design Thinking and D&I complement each other and present two case studies highlighting their impact on innovation.

Case Study 1: Procter & Gamble’s “Design for Women”

Procter & Gamble (P&G), a multinational consumer goods company, aimed to develop a razor specifically designed for women. To achieve this, they assembled a diverse team comprising individuals from various backgrounds, including women with different ethnicities, ages, and cultural experiences.

By incorporating D&I principles into the design process, the team empathized with the diverse needs and preferences of women worldwide. This approach led to the creation of the “Venus Embrace,” a razor that not only performed exceptionally well but also catered to the specific needs of women, such as comfort, ease of use, and aesthetics.

P&G’s commitment to D&I through Design Thinking not only resulted in a successful product but also reinforced their reputation as a brand that truly understands and values its target audience. This case study demonstrates how acknowledging and embracing diversity can lead to breakthrough innovations that resonate with customers on a deeper level.

Case Study 2: Airbnb and Inclusive Design

Airbnb, a leading online marketplace for accommodations, recognized early on that their success depended on creating an inclusive platform that catered to a wide range of travelers. To achieve this, they adopted Design Thinking principles and focused on incorporating D&I into their design process.

Airbnb initiated “The Airbnb Design Language System” project, which aimed to provide an accessible and inclusive user experience across their platform. They collaborated with individuals from diverse backgrounds, including people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ individuals, and different ethnicities. By involving these diverse stakeholders, Airbnb gained valuable insights into the specific challenges that certain groups faced when using their platform.

Through Design Thinking, Airbnb developed features such as improved filters for accessibility requirements, expanded language options, and inclusive profile settings. These enhancements not only made the platform more user-friendly but also created a strong sense of belonging for users from all backgrounds.

By incorporating D&I principles into their design process, Airbnb gained a competitive edge that enabled them to tap into previously underserved markets. This case study demonstrates how Design Thinking and embracing different perspectives can drive innovation while promoting social equality and inclusivity.


Design Thinking and Diversity & Inclusion are integral to fostering innovation in today’s rapidly changing world. The case studies of Procter & Gamble and Airbnb highlight the power of incorporating diverse perspectives into the design process. Incorporating D&I enables companies to empathize with their target audience, uncover unmet needs, and create innovative solutions that cater to a broader customer base. Embracing diversity not only leads to more successful products and services but also plays a crucial role in creating a more inclusive and equitable society. As organizations strive to stay competitive and meet the evolving needs of their customers, Design Thinking and D&I will continue to be essential drivers of innovation and growth.

Bottom line: Futurology is not fortune telling. Futurists use a scientific approach to create their deliverables, but a methodology and tools like those in FutureHacking™ can empower anyone to engage in futurology themselves.

Image credit: misterinnovation.com

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