All Raise recently pushed us to #AskTheQuestion. Are we--technology leaders and founders--setting diversity and inclusion as a non-negotiable metric for how we build, lead and grow?
As a female CEO of a NYC-based tech startup that provides smooth, smart wholesale technology for brands and retailers, I ask myself this everyday. And I urge my colleagues to do so as well. Integrated Diversity & Inclusion is not just a nice thing to do. It’s crucial. Because when D & I defines the missions we follow, it becomes part of the products we build.
Here’s why technology companies need to integrate D & I:
Startups are about hustle. Founders need to get as far down the roadmap as they can with limited time, money and talent. Studies show start ups with five or more females on staff have a 61% success rate, which is significantly higher than the overall 10% success rate for startups in general. And McKinsey global research shows companies with strong general diversity (defined as gender, race, age, economic background, and sexual orientation) outperform others by 35% or more.
Innovation relies on process. Discover, ideate, create, test, iterate: we all know the lean and agile cycle of product development. But who exactly participates in these stages makes a huge difference in outcome. When teams include talented engineers and designers from a broad spectrum of backgrounds, quality collaboration accelerates. Instead of compromise, which can lead to less-than results, you get wholly new concepts that include and reconcile differing points of view. In other words, diversity cranks out disruption and original thought.
You get out what you put in. And because of this, product teams should represent a product’s audience. The closer teams and their collaborators can approach this ideal, the less bias becomes incorporated, and the more inclusive functionality becomes. This holds true for all kinds of products--from simple automation, to sophisticated applications of AI.
When tech leaders integrate D & I into the core fabric of their organizations, they are doing more than just doing the right thing. They are creating the teams needed to reach and help the clients they serve. Which is good business, and good ethics. All at the same time.
This post was initially published on LinkedIn. You can view the post here.