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February, 2021

How Diversity and Inclusion Impact Design

“If you want diversity of thought, you have to bring in people around you who have diverse experiences.” Victoria L. Brescoll, Yale School of Management

At Spaceworks, we create spaces that change how people experience the world. We design spaces that influence how people engage with each other, how they move through space and the type of feeling or experience we want people to have. And we do it in every new space we create, whether that’s a retail store, restaurant, hotel room or corporate office.
We have been doing this for 20 years so we know what works and what doesn’t, and how to get the most value from space. Given that productivity, health and well-being are positive metrics that businesses want to see from their spaces, putting resources into this seems like a no-brainer.

Diversity as a design principle

It is our responsibility as designers to ensure that diversity is a core design principle. To us, this means diversity in creativity, in our design thinking, in our context and our viewpoint.

We are all influenced by our race, gender, nationality, upbringing and religious exposure. Everything we have experienced in life affects our model of the world. The way to bring diversity into design is to have diversity within your teams, which in turn influences design.

But diversity is more than having teams made up of different genders, ethnicities or backgrounds. It is about inclusion and belonging. It is about the constant act of questioning our biases and world views. It is about bringing other people into the conversation.

We cannot effectively design without curiosity, empathy and some consciousness of our bias. We know that our work can always be perfected.

Diverse cultural perspectives can inspire creativity and drive innovation. It’s easy to feel safe when surrounded by like-minded individuals. Often confidence in sharing ideas is heightened when surrounded by those who you consider similar to you. But the feeling of security is a big price to pay for innovation.
Creativity is concentrated by diversity.

Diversity challenges process in a positive, more interesting and highly engaging way. It is more than a checkbox to improve the variety of world views in your team. In a diverse world, diversity becomes a requirement.

And that is why here at Spaceworks, we are dedicated to ensuring our organisation encourages diversity at every level.

Lizzi Whaley