Achieving People Neutrality in Technology & Enterprises
July 13, 2016
I am passionate about pushing new technologies and organizations mindfully in a way that ensures we are actively including all people, no matter their gender, race, age, location, etc. I do this with the hope that we are able to treat all people as equals.
In my past blog post, Why Becoming Gender Neutral Is the Business Challenge of the 21st Century, I discuss a future world where organizations, enterprises, and technologies are not just encouraged but expected to be fully gender neutral. They must fully utilize women, 51% of the planet, in order for enterprises to be more economically efficient and profitable. They should also commit to this because, of course, it is a human right.
This is especially relevant as we look towards the coming wave of technology, which is centered around new technology that has a meaningful impact in our day-to-day lives. The Internet of Things, smart homes, virtual personal assistants, AI—the science of making technology do things which require intelligence when done by humans. Women have never been more vital for this development.
CEO of Virgil Security, Michael Wellman, told me that he is “willing to bet that a larger than historic proportion of innovation in this space will be driven by real women solving real problems. From connected homes and cars to monitoring our health through smart devices, woman’s viewpoints in this new area of digitization has never been more critical.”
Do I agree? 100%. Now let’s take that concept a few steps further to my next vision: Creating people neutrality in the enterprise. I say ‘people neutrality’ because I believe it’s important to not only focus on gender neutrality, though that can of course be the first bowling pin.
Let’s dig a little deeper into this idea. Imagine an enterprise where employees can actively opt into a system to participate. A place where social good and unbiased behavior is awarded. If you opt into the system, you are allowing the persona or avatar you share to be analyzed and awarded for desired unbiased behavior. Awards could take the shape of a social responsibility currency, tokens, that could result in the enterprise awarding users with a “social responsibility” financial bonus.
New technologies could help us get there. Blockchain, for instance, could provide a reputation based system construct without a need for a central authority. Ultimately, youbecome responsible as you are empowered to opt in and participate.
Social responsibility currency tokens could be transferred to a new bonus allowing for a gamification aspect, which could drive participation. Jane McGonical has inspiring ideas around gamification and how we can use games to solve real world problems in order to make a better world. This is along the same driving principles.
While there could be a “diversity officer” who is accountable for recognizing and responding to unbiased behavior, this role would be less operational as ultimately participants are transforming their work environment together through active engagement if they so choose to engage.
What could participation look like? The system could tee up information to me based on what my avatar is projecting. Perhaps such things as my image from my job ad with the question served to me: “Hey Monique, seems like you may have been focused on a specific population in a job advertisement on May 21, 2016. Was that your intention?” Or perhaps it would alert me that my social responsibility currency is at a deficit. Or perhaps it could aggregate data in periodic reports.
Imagine an enterprise where inclusion was embedded in engineering-IT, where enterprise members could choose to opt in and together transform their work environment into a place where biases evaporate. Where language becomes completely neutral. Where visuals no longer bring up biases in gender, ethnicity and ageism.
Imagine an enterprise system in place that allows you to be an active agent, if you so choose, to become a part of transformative change in your enterprise, not simply an image, an age, a sex, a statistic.
Is it possible? I think so!