One of the hottest topics of the '20s, Diversity and Inclusion was on the lips of another of our clients when they gave us a call. Worldly events continue to highlight that while errors can be made in ignorance, it doesn't make them okay and the only way for us all to improve ourselves is by increasing our awareness. Our pre-emptive workshop was designed to engage participants in conversations that increase awareness, highlight perspectives and encourage a deeper sense of inclusion.
Project Lead: Marcus
It's a task in itself getting people to any diversity and inclusion training (cue them dragging their heels) thanks to the precedent which has rapidly been set as this topic being one of the driest ever.
So in comes challenge number one - turning diversity and inclusion into a workshop that will not only stop people clock watching but actually engaging and more importantly, *wanting* to talk about it all.
Beyond this, comes in the typical issues with any project of a sensitive nature around ensuring that no-one feels (however abstractly) that they are being singled out, identified or put on the spot. Luckily, this wasn't our first diversity and inclusion rodeo so we were well equipped to develop a winning programme.
After a few stakeholder conversations to understand the key drivers behind this project, we recommended a full day workshop to enable us to develop a series of short interactive & game-based sessions.
We decided to centre the whole workshop around a gameboard, with activities and sessions branching out from it yet always returning to re-embed the core of the day. This allowed us to instantly change what the participants would be expecting of a diversity and inclusion workshop by engaging them in a fun and competitive learning format. Breaking the mould from the start allowed us to cover topics more typically deemed 'heavier' than others without taxing the moods of the participants - examples included the Equality Act 2010 and Circles of Diversity©.
We turned a lot of the subject matter that could be mundane slides into gameboard questions and encouraged conversations and quizzes around each element to embed the learning far quicker and with more effective retention than would otherwise have been the case. From here we also developed the creative learning tools that surrounded the gameboard - all the activities which would branch off from and complement the core. These ranged from card based matching activities involving (entirely hypothetical) scenarios designed to surprise, amuse and sometimes shock participants, to 'intention vs impact' conversations and unconscious bias activity sets.
Our walkthrough of the Detailed Final Design with the client received an excellent reception, with amends to only two questions in the entire workshop. We agreed that a pilot of it would be prudent with a focus group to ensure that all the material landed correctly and to test the impact of the creative theme and visuals. Much to our delight the pilot workshop was a resounding success - no changes to any material, creative or learning. Feedback from the focus group included praise for and surprise at our ability to turn the historically heavy topic of diversity and inclusion into a fun, and light hearted, workshop that retained a deep exploration of the subject matter and didn't shy away from the importance of it.
Developed throughout 2020, this programme has yet to be rolled out to the organisation it was designed for (beyond the focus group) due to pandemic restrictions. We will revisit the outcomes of the project longer term once the client has had the opportunity to run the programme.