If diversity is a priority, here are 40 ways to act on it right now
Lucy Fuggle absorbs ideas from the audience at Inspirefest 2016. Photo via Conor McCabe Photography

If diversity is a priority, here are 40 ways to act on it right now

4 Jul 2016501 Shares

Leaving Inspirefest, Lucy Fuggle took away no less than 40 ideas for creating a more diverse and inclusive professional environment.

I owe a lot to the world becoming a more diverse place. I believe I’ve had more opportunities available to me than any other generation, especially as a 23-year-old woman entering STEM from the arts.

Yet there’s still some way to go for diversity, especially in the workplace. This is why Inspirefest exists. The three-day event in Dublin is proof that the world is bloody good at a lot of things. We’re imagining, collaborating, and getting shit done instead of talking.

Thank you, Ann O’Dea, for making it happen, and to every speaker that got on the stage. Let’s follow your lead and get doing.

When building a business…

1. Ask: what problem do I see that I can begin to solve? How can I get the data, create my solution, and get others around me?
via Jules Coleman, entrepreneur-in-residence at Index Ventures, and co-founder of Hassle.com

2. Don’t make excuses. Many big ideas start as side projects that don’t require capital to start. Entrepreneurship is not just for those who can self-fund anymore.
via Jules Coleman, entrepreneur-in-residence at Index Ventures, and co-founder of Hassle.com

3. Start with the narrowest, smallest niche you can. Drill it down. The ‘one size fits none’ approach fails miserably.
via Robin Chase, co-founder of Zipcar and author of Peers Inc

4. Amplify the voice of your end user. Protect the voice of the innocent bystander.
via Lorna Ross, director of design at the Mayo Clinic Centre for Innovation

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5. Design for the exception. Prioritise user experience.
via Liz Jackson, founder of the Inclusive Fashion & Design Collective

6. Choose the simpler, more human approach. It often yields better results.
via Jules Coleman, entrepreneur-in-residence at Index Ventures, and co-founder of Hassle.com

7. Leverage existing excess capacity, as Airbnb did for spare rooms and Zipcar did for cars. Your results can be bigger than anything the big corporations have ever seen.
via Robin Chase, co-founder of Zipcar and author of Peers Inc

8. Innovation is all about timing. You can feel like your idea is really good, but it’s all about context.”
via Lorna Ross, director of design at the Mayo Clinic Centre for Innovation

Lorna Ross, Inspirefest 2016

Lorna Ross, director of design at the Mayo Clinic Centre for Innovation, pictured outside the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre for Inspirefest 2016. Photo via Conor McCabe Photography

When scaling a business…

9. The most important part of your brand is loyalty. Ask if you’re generating support from your audience.
via Alan Siegel, president and CEO of Siegelvision

10. Build a clear purpose statement and use words that have drive to them.
via Alan Siegel, president and CEO of Siegelvision

11. Data is just another material. Use it as you would fabric or wood. See it as a material you can craft things out of
via Lorna Ross, director of design at the Mayo Clinic Centre for Innovation

12. Use data to enable an A/B test of every user interaction. This is how Duolingo have innovated so fast.
via Robin Chase, co-founder of Zipcar and author of Peers Inc

13. Your project may not become mainstream, but it can still develop a huge following around it. We’re witnessing a proliferation of the long tail.
via Jules Coleman, entrepreneur-in-residence at Index Ventures, and co-founder of Hassle.com

Sharing economy panel at Inspirefest

From left: Journalist Nellie Bowles moderates a panel discussion between Robin Chase, Jules Coleman and Nilofer Merchant at Inspirefest 2016. Photo via Conor McCabe Photography

When building your team…

14. If you hire smart people, they’ll figure it out. Put your faith in this and you’ll have a sustainable business that adapts.
via Raju Narisetti, senior vice-president of strategy at NewsCorp

15. Hire for culture contribution, not culture fit. We’ll need the minds and experiences to solve all sorts of problems. Follow Dropbox’s example.
via Judith Williams, global head of diversity, Dropbox

16. Power comes from millennials and baby boomers working together.
via Jeanne M Sullivan, founder of StarVest Partners

17. It also comes from collaboration between creative individuals (‘peers’) and big business (‘inc’). See the Peers Inc model.
via Robin Chase, co-founder of Zipcar and author of Peers Inc

18. “If unconscious bias is a processing error, we can debug it. We can fix it.”
via Judith Williams, global head of diversity, Dropbox

When building a culture…

19. Make people feel included at work, rather than being inclusive. Inviting everyone to the pub after work seems inclusive, but think about the people you’re automatically excluding by your choice.
via Judith Williams, global head of diversity, Dropbox

20. Design and provide for everyone. We need universal design in the workplace, now and in future.

21. Let people work where they want, how they want.
via Judith Williams, global head of diversity, Dropbox

22. Leave time at work for contemplation. “How can we expect people to innovate if we’re not even giving them time to think?”
via Monica Parker, founder of HATCH Analytics

23. If you have a tribal sense of community at work, you’ll keep people engaged.

24. Remember that you don’t leave a job, you leave a boss.

Monica Parker at Inspirefest 2016

HATCH Analytics founder Monica Parker speaks on day one of Inspirefest 2016. Photo via Conor McCabe Photography

To help others grow…

25. Use the “it’s possible” approach for diversity, starting in school. “Everyone needs to know it’s possible to have doctor before their name.”
via Prof Christine Loscher, research director at Dublin City University

26. Know that people with disabilities do not exist to inspire you.
via Liz Jackson, founder of the Inclusive Fashion & Design Collective

27. “Outbox Incubator wasn’t competitive, it was about people and friends  –  not founders.” This is how you get girls into STEM.
via Edel Browne, co-founder of Free Feet and Outbox Incubator executive

28. Remember: not everyone is going to be a founder, but by building entrepreneurial skills they will still make a difference now and down the line.
via Mary Carty, co-founder of Outbox Incubator

29. “Just imagine what we could do if we were radically generous to each other.”
via Vicki Saunders, founder of SheEO

Poornima Vijayashanker at Inspirefest 2016

Femgineer founder Poornima Vijayashanker speaks on day one of Inspirefest 2016. Photo via Conor McCabe Photography

To accelerate your own growth…

30. Please speak. Even the small moments of speaking up in meetings make a difference.”
via Poornima Vijayashanker, founder of Femgineer

31. You need a 5:1 balance between positive and negative emotions to trigger an upward virtuous cycle. Don’t let negativity bring yourself and others down, and affect your success.
via Dr Maureen Gaffney, psychologist and author of Flourishing

32. Often you have to work at the edges of the industry before making your way to the centre.
via Lorna Ross, director of design at the Mayo Clinic Centre for Innovation

33. First they try to put you in a box, then they try to change you. But anyone can build a business if they have the smarts.
via  Dr Nora Khaldi, founder and chief scientific officer at Nuritas

34. Unlearn something today. And remember that innovation isn’t always a good thing.

35. You can shed some of the romantic aspects of design, but you can’t cut time for understanding your end user.
via Lorna Ross, director of design at the Mayo Clinic Centre for Innovation

36. Put yourself in the position and place to make things possible. The rest will follow.

37. “Build your expertise. Own it. Be known for something.”
via Kelly Hoey, investor at Laconia Capital and author of Build Your Dream Network (coming January 2017)

38. Build your expertise, build your network, build your bank account. This is one of the simplest and most effective recipes for success.
via Kelly Hoey, investor at Laconia Capital and author of Build Your Dream Network (coming January 2017)

39. Get experience of all parts of your organisation, not just sales and marketing. This, alongside building your value proposition, will make you more board-ready.
via Lauren States, Harvard leadership fellow and experienced board director

40. It’s far easier to do something than complain about it.”
via Mary Carty, co-founder of Outbox Incubator

Board participation panel at Inspirefest 2016

Lauren States and Raju Narisetti discuss board participation on a panel at Inspirefest 2016. Photo via Conor McCabe Photography

I hope this is valuable. Initiatives like Google TechAbility and Outbox Incubator – as well as my undergrad home, Exeter University – didn’t see gender, disability, or background as an issue. They simply saw talent, believed in me, and nudged me forwards.

This is becoming the norm. Let’s keep it going and bring it to everyone.

By Lucy Fuggle

Lucy Fuggle is head of content marketing at TrekkSoft and usually has an adventure planned and a book nearby. Originally from the UK, Fuggle now lives in a Swiss mountain town and won a ticket to Inspirefest 2016 from Siliconrepublic.com.

This article originally appeared on Medium.

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM.

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