Your interpretation of a story can reveal how you think
Jane Cordell, Director of Result CIC, a coaching and training social enterprise, asked session attendees to picture the story she was telling them. The five-minute story involved several characters within a short walk; a policeman, a homeless person, a couple arguing in front of their children, a college principal. Story finished, Jane asked attendees to ask what each of those characters looked like – what gender was the policeman? What race was the homeless person? What gender were the couple? “What did the story and your picturing of it, your responses to it, tell you?” asked Cordell, without being specific. We’re sure we weren’t the only people left reflecting on our bias.
If there was any doubt, a lack of inclusivity remains a major social problem
This session started with the audience being asked to answer multiple choice questions about equality and inclusivity: what percentage of FTSE 100 companies had women chief executives (answer: 5%), what percentage of FTSE100 chief executives are BAME (answer: 3%), when teams are representative of their target users, how much more likely are they to capture new markets (answer:70%).
The old adage ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ is truer than ever
After ten minutes it was obvious that Jane and fellow Director of Result CIC Hormoz Ahmadzadeh were perfectly charming, articulate and intelligent people. They then asked the audience to record if they had positive or negative responses towards a series of questions when considering new hires. How would you feel about someone who has experienced psychotic periods of depression? Someone who is a gay ex-refugee to the UK from the middle east? Someone who due to support needs could not take on urgent tasks at short notice?
“Would you give Jane or I a job?” asked Ahmadzadeh “Every point and characteristic you have seen here is one of us. We hope you think this exercise makes you think about aspects of capability.” It was the #SocEnt version of a mic drop.