Diversity is a priority, act on it now (with 40 ideas from Inspirefest to start with)

Diversity is a priority, act on it now (with 40 ideas from Inspirefest to start with)

I owe a lot to the world becoming a more diverse place. I believe I’ve had more opportunities available to me than any other generation, especially as a young woman entering STEM from the arts.

Yet there’s still some way to go for diversity, especially in the workplace. This is why Inspirefest exists. The three-day event in Dublin is proof that the world is bloody good at a lot of things. We’re imagining, collaborating, and getting shit done instead of talking.

 Vicki Saunders, CEO of SheEO at Inspirefest.

Vicki Saunders, CEO of SheEO at Inspirefest.

Thank you, Ann O'Dea, for making it happen and to every speaker that got on the stage. Let’s follow your lead and get doing.

“Catch the heart off guard and blow it open” — Seamus Heaney, “Postscript”

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When building a business…

What problem do I see that I can begin to solve? How can I get the data, create my solution, and get others around me? — @julescoleman

Don’t make excuses. Many big ideas start as side projects that don’t require capital to start. Entrepreneurship is not just for those who can self-fund anymore. — @julescoleman

Start with the narrowest, smallest niche you can. Drill it down. The one size fits none approach fails miserably. — Robin Chase

Amplify the voice of your end user. Protect the voice of the innocent bystander. — Lorna M. Ross, Mayo Clinic

Design for the exception. Prioritise user experience. — @elizejackson

Choose the simpler, more human approach. It often yields better results. — @julescoleman

Leverage existing excess capacity, as Airbnb did for spare rooms and Zipcar did for cars. Your results can be bigger than anything the big corporations have ever seen. — Robin Chase

“Innovation is all about timing. You can feel like your idea is really good, but it’s all about context”. — Lorna M Ross, Director of Design at Mayo Clinic

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Scale your business…

The most important part of your brand is loyalty. Ask if you’re generating support from your audience. — @alansiegel

Build a clear purpose statement and use words that have drive to them. — @alansiegel

Data is just another material. Use it as you would fabric or wood, see it as a material you can craft things out of. — Lorna M. Ross, Mayo Clinic

Use data to enable an A/B test of every user interaction. This is how Duolingo have innovated so fast. — Robin Chase

Your project may not become mainstream, but it can still develop a huge following around it. We’re witnessing a proliferation of the long-tail. — @julescoleman

 Brand lessons from Alan Siegel at Inspirefest.

Brand lessons from Alan Siegel at Inspirefest.

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For hiring smart…

If you hire smart people, they’ll figure it out. Put your faith in this and you’ll have a sustainable business that adapts. — @raju, Senior VP, Stategy at News Corp

Hire for culture contribution, not culture fit. We’ll need the minds and experiences to solve all sorts of problems. Follow Dropbox’s example. — @judithmwilliams

Power comes from millennials and baby boomers working together. — Jeanne M Sullivan

It also comes from collaboration between creative individuals (Peers) and big business (Inc). See the PeersInc model by Robin Chase, CEO of Zipcar.

“If unconscious bias is a processing error, we can debug it, we can fix it” — Judith Williams, Head of Global Diversity at Dropbox
 Judith Williams, Global Head of Diversity at Drobox, emphasising the importance of including people, not just being inclusive.

Judith Williams, Global Head of Diversity at Drobox, emphasising the importance of including people, not just being inclusive.

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To build a culture…

Make people feel included at work, rather than being inclusive. Inviting everyone to the pub after work seems inclusive, but think about the people you’re automatically excluding by your choice. — @judithmwilliams

Design and provide for everyone. We need universal design in the workplace, now and in future.

Let people work where they want, how they want. — @judithmwilliams

Leave time at work for contemplation. “How can we expect people to innovate if we’re not even giving them time to think?” @monicaparker, Founder of HATCH Analytics

If you have a tribal sense of community at work, you’ll keep people engaged.

Remember that you don’t leave a job, you leave a boss.

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To help others grow…

Use the “it’s possible” approach for diversity, starting in school. “Everyone needs to know it’s possible to have doctor before their name”. — @celoscher, Director of Health Tech Research & Enterprise Hub at DCU

People with disabilities do not exist to inspire you. — @elizejackson

“Outbox Incubator wasn’t competitive, it was about people and friends — not founders”. This is how you get girls into STEM.— @edelbrownie, Founder of Free Feet

Not everyone is going to be a founder, but by building entrepreneurial skills they will still make a difference now and down the line. — Mary Carty, Co-founder of Outbox Incubator

“Just imagine what we could do if we were radically generous to each other” — vicki saunders, Founder of SheEO

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To accelerate your own growth…

“Please speak. Even the small moments of speaking up in meetings make a difference” — poornima, Founding Engineer at Mint

You need a 5:1 balance between positive and negative emotions to trigger an upward virtuous cycle. Don’t let negativity bring yourself and others down and affect your success. — Dr Maureen Gaffney

Often you have to work at the edges of the industry before making your way to the centre. — Lorna M. Ross, Mayo Clinic

First they try to put you in a box, then they try to change you. But anyone can build a business if they have the smarts. — Dr Nora Khaldi, Founder & Chief Scientific Officer at Nuritas

Unlearn something today. And remember that innovation isn’t always a good thing.

You can shed some of the romantic aspects of design, but you can’t cut time for understanding your end user. — Lorna M. Ross

Put yourself in the position and place to make things possible. The rest will follow.

“Build your expertise. Own it. Be known for something” — Kelly Hoey, Author of Build Your Dream Network (Jan 2017)

Build your expertise, build your network, build your bank account. This is one of the simplest and most effective recipes for success. Kelly Hoey

Get experience of all parts of your organisation, not just sales and marketing. This, alongside building your value proposition, will make you more board-ready. — Lauren States, Harvard Leadership Fellow

I hope this is valuable. Initiatives like Google TechAbility and Outbox Incubator, as well as my undergrad home, Exeter University, didn’t see gender, disability, or background as an issue. They simply saw talent. believed in me, and nudged me forwards. This is becoming the norm. Let’s keep it going and bring it to everyone.

“It’s far easier to do something than complain about it”. — Mary Carty, Co-founder of Outbox Incubator
 Mary Carty discussing Outbox Incubator at Inspirefest 2016.

Mary Carty discussing Outbox Incubator at Inspirefest 2016.

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My XYZ system for habits and productivity

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