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What makes us different and why it works
Nobody is ever just one thing
For too long, most diversity and inclusion work has separated out issues into silos, prioritising one issue over another. While in theory this may sound sensible and on the surface appear ‘practical’, it is in our view flawed, and why so many initiatives for inclusion do not make the change they seek. As an example: most organisations have embarked on a “gender diversity” programme intending to improve the number of women in leadership.
However, the outcome of the initiative is often positive for only a narrow group of women: ‘white, middle class, cis-gender, heterosexual, able-bodied’. This happens because we ignore all the ways some women also benefit from power and privileges. Without actively attending to the interconnected nature of inequalities - the connections between racism, ableism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, islamophobia, anti-semitism - our policies will exclude and tell some people they need to wait their turn.
Exploring these connections with participants in accessible ways is fundamental to our educational approach and necessary we believe in creating policies, practices and cultures where people can show up as their whole selves every day.
There must exist a paradigm, a practical model for social change that includes an understanding of ways to transform consciousness that are linked to efforts to transform structures.
Our programmes are experiential
All learning episodes begin with participants experiencing - through a carefully designed activity - a crucial dimension of the issue the session aims to explore. For example, when exploring privilege, the participants will engage in an activity that involves a physical and mental experience that brings to the fore our own privilege, the relationship we have to others within our teams, as well as the emotions and assumptions connected to this differential privilege.
From this standpoint, participants are then encouraged to critically explore the experience they have had, with the support of our facilitators. Through engaging and listening to others in ways that are uncommon in the workplace, and with supportive challenge from the facilitator, new insights are gleaned. Then, we move on to extrapolation - to draw overarching learnings from the experiential and analytical activities they have engaged in, to relate them to wider occurrences outside of the classroom, in order to craft new ways of being and doing.
The power of a free mind consists of trusting your own mind to ask the questions that need to be asked and your own capacity to figure out the strategies you need to get those questions answered.
Patricia Hill Collins
We are fearless
We are explicit about power and privilege because effective social change entails honesty and clarity about the root causes of inequities. We encourage participants to dig deep with their thinking through challenging their viewpoints and assumptions. This challenge, and overt focus on power and privilege, is often uncomfortable for participants. Many organisations prefer to avoid this and it’s why so many D&I initiatives fail. Avoiding expertly engaging discomfort head on with staff, means avoiding meaningful and transformative change.
For transformative change to occur, we cannot side step around discomfort, we need to do the work, and move through it. Pedagogically, we also understand moments of cognitive discomfort to be some of the richest learning experiences.
Further, in a world where none of us will likely ever be perfect and where mistakes will happen, it is necessary that we are equipped with the tools to navigate the emotions that emerge from confronting and acknowledging our privilege so we can be accountable for our mistakes. This is why we work with people on developing the skills to have courageous conversations that really listen to others’ experiences of injustice and that work towards an active commitment to do better. It is what we know is essential for cultures and environments where everyone is given the space to really be their full selves.
Our Training Programmes
We engage with organisations in a number of ways tailored to both their context and levels of courage and commitment to making powerful change happen.
Our programmes provide a powerful and necessary space that:
- Facilitates participants’ critical thinking & learning;
- Builds a community that is deeply cognisant of inequalities and commonalities among their lived experiences; and
- Develops the tools to re-imagine power relations, build up collective power and grow leadership for transformation
- Design inclusion into all dimensions of our internal cultures, as well as for the strategies, solutions and products that we develop
We currently offer three training courses:
WHAT: Our taster session will introduce new concepts and approaches to exploring inequities in your organisation
FOR WHO? Up to 20 of your staff or sign up to our public workshops as an individual
DURATION: 2 hours
DESIGN FOR INCLUSION
WHAT: DFI unites human-centred design with critical approaches to inequities, power and privilege for transformational change across both people and product
FOR WHO? Senior leaders with strategic responsibility for diversity and inclusion, heads of product and design, heads of HR, technologists etc
DURATION: 3 days (with a half-day follow-up 3 months later)
WHAT: This training supports leaders to build their skills and capabilities for building equity and diversity in their teams
FOR WHO? Anyone managing people
DURATION: 2 days (with a half-day follow-up 3 months later)
From this training it has encouraged me to be empathetic, be grateful & BE BRAVE!
This programme should be for all inclusion leaders across the globe! I feel renewed, knowledgeable, focussed, better equipped and challenged. I feel like the road will not be easy, and I don’t care, because if it was easy it would have changed by now. Thank you!
I can honestly say it was the most transformational learning experience of my life and career. The Design for Inclusion program was an incredibly complex, emotional and testing experience, but one I believe is utterly fundamental in order to be equipped to build a modern-day business.
Over the 3 days, I gained a better understanding of my own privilege, the power of social systems, who gets marginalised and how real and relevant this remains today in society broadly and critically within our organisations… I walked away with newfound insights and a deeper understanding of the more fundamental issues that need addressing.
Fearless Futures made me want to make a difference!
Below is a sample of our impact measurement focused on shifts in knowledge, action and attitudes pre- and post- programme.
If one desires a change, one must be that change before that change can take place.