Michael Griffin, Chief Information Office at Genie Solutions was kind enough to share his views on diversity in the digital landscape with me the other day. When I asked Michael to define what diversity meant to him his definition was extremely enlightening:
“A long-running theme in my career has been seeking out my “unconscious incompetence”- situations where I made a decision because I didn’t know any better. Diversity in the people I work and socialise with helps to highlight these situations and challenge me to question what I “know””.
Adding to this that difference is the essence of diversity- whether it be viewpoints, experience or knowledge the end goal is to challenge the status quo and educate one another about these alternatives. Especially in the digital world where everything moves so fast, if you are not diverse in your approach you will fail to keep up! No one wants to cease to be relevant either as a business or employee. But of course one person cannot know everything hence why it is important to surround yourself with people willing to constructively challenge decisions and foster their unconscious incompetence.
Communities such as Women In Digital are a great place to start (so congratulations!).
Michael re-iterated this point that budding digital professionals should never stop learning and challenging the status quo. There are always new tools and techniques available that will allow you to bring more value to your work once harnessed. Thankfully for Michael Genie Solutions has been gender equality focused since its start up. Aiming for an equal workplace in terms of the number of men and women while encouraging referrals to avoid hiring on a quota mentality. Having this process ensures that diversity is not poorly managed and avoids paralysis from too many different opinions and encourages progress.
“The digital industry is one of the most democratic, flexible and suitable for greater diversity. There are some amazing women in the digital industry and I think it’s really important we promote these individuals as role models to students considering what they want to do for a career.”
So please go out and embrace diversity like Michael has in his everyday work. Surround yourself with friends and challenge yourself to interact with those who may hold different opinions and experiences to broaden your landscape. Never be afraid to challenge the norm, whether this be in processes or new digital products, just because “you didn’t know any better”.
Written by WID Blogger Alex Hobbs – Email her here!