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Designing Diversity



Hi. Thank you, I'm happy to be here. My name is Lena and I'm usually working mainly on marketing communications and community management, and this is the reason why I care about diversity, and this is the reason why I want to show you why diversity is a non-negotiable prerequisite when we want to create an independent future for the web.

What sets words in motions is the interplay of differences: life is plurality, death is uniformity. Diversity means variety and dissimilarity. It is a state and process of involving people who are different from each other into a group, and it aims to create an inclusive environment and culture.

Diversity includes age, ability, ethnicity, socio-economic class, personal background, gender, education and far more. Still, people tend to not fit into a single box. We all fall into a variety of different dimensions. Every one of us has had different life experiences and perceives the world differently. This is why we need to care about the intersections of those different traits as well.

In total, only 0.27% of the entire world population are designers and developers and many of them are just hobbyists, and this is still a very small and too uniform crowd at the moment. In comparison, the world population is a highly diverse group of people. When we want to build an independent future for the web, we have to build it not only for us ourselves, but for this diverse group of people. This means we have to keep this group in mind in everything we do. And we have to be a diverse group ourselves.

In natural settings, like rain forests, which you can see one above and coral reefs, diversity is the default. It ensures the stability, long-term existence and prosperity of entire cultures. Tech is a very artificial environment, and diversity is not the default. This is why we have to care for it ourselves. First, diversity is just the right thing to do. As various studies show, diversity also enables us to solve complex problems better and faster, be more creative and finally, stimulated through permanent exposure to minority perspectives. We can make better decisions and generate more innovation.

Design processes are problem-solving processes and the question is, whose problems we want to solve. Most parts of our tech world of today are ostensibly meritocratic and exclude marginalised people by default. In addition, each of us has our own privilege which we have because of our origin, level of education we've had access to, gender, or various other reasons.

Creativity is a driver of good design and engineering. It is the ability to see connections and relationships where others cannot and is the result of making unexpected connections between things we already know. Hence, creativity depends on our life experiences. This is why diversity is essential to good design and engineering on a very fundamental level. Only if we ourselves are a diverse group of people who thus are capable of imagining the wide array of possible values, we can uncover an equally wide array of possible design approaches and then finally achieve results which can offer built-in solutions for the broader population.

The future of the web can't be an indoctrinated, patronising, top-down solution; an independent, decentralised, free future of the web is of highest relevance, and if we want to make a dent in the universe there, we will only be able to build it with diversity in mind. This is why every one of us: you, me and everyone who's involved there, has to actively work on diversity in everything we do. It has to be deeply embedded in the processes, infrastructure and products we build. It has to be in the design from the beginning on. And it has to be finally embedded in the independent future of the web, because diversity is a non-negotiable prerequisite for the independent future of the web.

Thank you.