Speaking on the first day of the Adobe Max conference, Tasha Lutfi, Principal Design Director at Microsoft and co-founder of Women in Design, discussed how diverse teams can spark creativity in a company, whilst highlighting crucial hurdles that need addressing in the workspace.
Why Diversity Matters
Referring to research Design Senses conducted in 2019, Lutfi addressed that women make up 61% of the design industry. However, only 11% of leadership roles in the design world are occupied by women.
What makes these statistics even more shocking is when you take into account women make $0.80 to the dollar a man does, which means the majority of the design industry is being paid less than the minority…
This is clearly a problem we need to challenge. Lutfi emphasises that efforts towards diversity could net the IT industry revenue that equates to $400 billion a year!
The issue right now is that the door of opportunity is not open for everyone. Those who aren’t represented in the workplace lack role models, mentors, career support or awareness in issues surrounding diversity.
Diversity & Creativity
These statistics make no sense when you look at how diverse and creative communities improve and innovate companies.
Lutfi emphasised that companies with diverse cultures have a 975% appreciation for equality value. On the contrary, institutions with poor diversity experience 18% lower productivity and more errors.
Furthermore, a significant factor for millennials deciding on their career path is an environment with a great culture, including diversity. In fact, it’s their number 1 decision-maker.
The Lifecycle of Diversity
Maintaining a respectful mindset about culture and diversity in the workplace should be at the forefront within the creative industry, but it’s not where it begins.
Nurturing people’s unique independence through education (secondary, further and higher) allows for authenticity in a creative voice; it allows people to express freely and, as a result, opens up new avenues for companies to explore narratively.
Lutfi puts it best, “a product reflects the team that creates it”.
Sparking a Change
Lutfi highlights 3 key points that can elevate diversity within the creative community.
- Be aware. Listen and learn; immerse yourself in someone else’s shoes, give them the chance to tell their story.
- Be a voice. Speak up when you see something wrong. Saying nothing is part of the problem; if we don’t support those communities who struggle to be heard, there will be no progress.
- Be a guide. If you’re in a position of power, use your authority to bring more people to the table. Invite those unheard to the discussion; they could bring something new to the project you never dreamt of.
This is a mindset we should all embrace.
These are just a few of the highlights we took from Tasha’s Adobe Max session. Tasha Lutfi is an exceptional narrator and storyteller, and we’d highly recommend signing up and streaming the seminar (which you can do so by clicking here.)