A Conversation About Design: The Sins & Wins of Inclusivity
Dr Anthony Giannoumis is American by birth, Norwegian by choice, and a man of many talents. His incredible journey from computer programmer to opera singer, to professor, to comedian is a testament to his diverse experiences. All of which have culminated in his role as the co-founder of Inclusive Creation.
Dr Anthony has received numerous awards, including recognition from the United Nations for his groundbreaking work in inclusive innovation. He’s also the author of 50 scientific articles, the founder of the EQUALS-EU Network for Gender-Inclusive Innovation, and the mastermind behind the four fundamental principles of universal design. In this article, together with Dr Anthony, we explore the sins and wins of inclusivity and how they work with design.
Teaching Businesses how to Effectively Incorporate Inclusivity into their Everyday
Together with some of his colleagues, Dr Anthony co-founded Inclusive Creation, an initiative with the aim to create a more inclusively designed world, helping teams put their inclusive promises into practice. This is done through a variety of different ways. Companies will hire Dr Anthony to speak at their corporate events, with the intention of driving the audience to rethink what they are doing and to think more critically about what they are doing.
Off the back of this talk, Anthony will run a workshop with the client, typically getting 30-40 people from across the business in a room and putting them into teams. At first, the workshop will focus on innovation rather than inclusion, getting teams to look at a number of trade-offs that they would have to be making in terms of decisions.
Finally, at the end of the workshop they will look at the science of inclusion, looking at all the research that has shown more inclusive organisations to be more innovative, more profitable, have higher productive teams and are more creative. By giving teams all this research and data, it backs up the best practices and work Anthony’s team are doing in this field. These workshops encourage companies to have critical discussions amongst one another, including amongst colleagues who would normally never have these types of conversations, to establish their views on the status of the business at that time.
Three Key Areas within Design That are Still Ripe for Change
Firstly, no surprise here, but artificial intelligence would be the first area to look at. Specifically, the inclusivity of artificial intelligence, both on the design stage and output stage.
Secondly would be the issue of intersectionality: how to integrate an intersectional perspective into the design process. For clarification, intersectionality is the idea that an individual can have multiple forms of disadvantage and face multiple forms of discrimination. So it’s not just based on a single characteristic, like somebody’s age or disability or gender, but it’s based on multiple identities. For example, a woman with a disability can face discrimination both because of her gender and disability. Therefore it is incredibly important to think about how to put people who hold intersectional identities at the centre of the design process. In doing so, you’re creating work that’s going to work better for everyone.
Finally, mental health within the workplace. This is an area that is absolutely underserved when it comes to dealing with design and understanding design processes within a workspace. This is a more internal process, but nonetheless critical for businesses to find effective solutions for bringing people into the workplace who do face mental health challenges, but enable them to feel included and supported in the work environment.
This article forms part of a discussion conducted between Dr Anthony Giannoumis and Experience Haus Creative Director, Amit Patel on the Experience Haus podcast, ‘A Conversation About Design’. In this podcast, we explore the fascinating world of design featuring insightful conversations with some of the brightest minds and inspiring individuals who are making waves in the industry.
Listen to the full interview with Dr Anthony here.