If there were one event, or entity, relevant to the business world that utterly captures the reason why diversity is a mission-critical component of every business today, it’s the ubiquitous and highly-respected TED conferences. There is something different about TED conferences and it’s more noticeable the more presentations from TED we see. What makes them so special?
When I attended CES 2015, one keynote address was from Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, unveiling his plan to invest $300MM into diversity initiatives within his company . That’s a pretty big commitment, although in this 2016 look back piece, he says ‘and we began a broad culture change initiative…’. So just the beginning then, eh? Jerry Stritzke, CEO of REI, committed similarly (not quite the same $$ figure, but relatively giant nevertheless) to support diversity in the Outdoor Industry through supporting OIWC for 3 years with a $1.5 MM Mary Anderson Legacy Grant. I’m sure Jerry would agree it’s also a beginning.
When you watch a TED conference presentation, or binge watch the channel on your Roku or Apple TV, what do you notice that is different from just about every other stage form keynote presentation stack you’ve been subjected to as an event attendee? Yeah, it’s the people presenting… they are from all over the world! They aren’t all middle-aged white guys in suits!
If you are intrigued, or puzzled, or just want to understand why Diversity and Inclusivity are such a big deal, you might uncover it in this short but powerful piece on the Lessons of TED (from WIRED mag). It’s NOT just a theory, or a nice box to check when communicating to your HR division head. This is empirical proof. If you don’t agree, I have a short quiz for you to take; with a straight face, try getting these words out past your lips – ‘TED Conferences aren’t affecting many people and don’t deserve the kudos they keep getting’. Have you tried it? Oh, caught you smiling…
if you don’t want to read the piece from WIRED, here is a clip that captures the fundamentals –
This year, 50 percent of TED Fellows are women and 50 percent are men, all representing a broad spectrum of human experiences. Taken together, they are a snapshot of the best of what the world has to offer.
The scary thing is that the first TED conference happened in Monterey, California (1984!). Now all three main events are in…wait for it…
You think they know something we don’t?
If you think your company can benefit from injecting a dose of Diversity training and developing better practices around recruitment and your brand’s outreach, contact me – firstname.lastname@example.org . I can help!