Diversity as a non-negotiable of Business Agility

This talk explains that D&I is the main asset organisations have, to thrive in a complex world. It explains how D&I is a real catalyst to achieving Agility, and that to solve complexity, Diversity and Agility must go hand in hand

Unfortunately, I had to leave this session early. These are just limited notes from the start of the session.

Senior Agility Consultant at PA Consulting

How Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are a catalyst for business agility and complex problem solving

Samsung Galaxy ad featuring a woman running at 2am

  • how many women feel safe to run at 2am at night?
  • how many women were involved in designing that ad
  • Samsung’s board of director is 99% men

=> it is an imperative requirement that businesses are diverse, equal and inclusive

Definining Agility

  • customer focussed
  • adaptive
  • empowering

complemented by:

  • Diversity: the state of being composed of differing people whether by race, gender, ethnicity, background, ideas, skills, life-paths and thoughts
  • Equity: the commitment to create an environment where the unique needs of everyone are met
  • Inclusion: the result of a safe environment with sense of belonging for everyone -> ensures the room hears everyone’s ideas

there has never been explicit between Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Agility

-> one department runs agile transformation and one dept working on diversity, equity & inclusion and they do not talk to each other

=> that new agile environment might not be inclusive

diversity, equity & inclusion is still seen as a KPI at the board because it is the right thing to do, but it is something like an afterthought, it is not at the center of the agile transformation

=> Diversity, Equity & Inclusion helps Agility

a diverse & inclusive employee base fuels true understanding of changing customer trends


  • uncontrolled focus on speed
  • data-driven only works the majority -> unconscious bias
  • lack of accessibility requirements


  • meaningful communication with customers
  • reduction in group thinking: datasets are not diverse!
  • understanding of unique perspectives -> bring your real users in instead of using random user interviews

adaptive: inclusion and fairness promote cultural curiosity and the ability to adapt to what’s new

is your org actually open to change?

is your org open to what is different?

-> first thing your org should do is let’s focus on what is diverse

-> culture of curiosity: running experiments, putting people in someelses shoes, …

empowerment: comes from trust!

a real sense of diversity and equity is needed for employees to feel safe and empowered

-> focus on unconscious bias to avoid that everyone looks like the boss

=> where everyone is empowered looks different