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‘Building a Business Case for Diversity’ online game evening with Dr. Suzanne Doyle-Morris – by Gayle Sullivan

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'New Opportunities Building the Business Case for Diversity'
When I first heard about the work of Dr. Suzanne Doyle-Morris: ‘serious games’ workshops to explore issues around subjects, in this case ‘Diversity’, I was intrigued.

On 17th May, I got to have a go myself as Dr. Doyle-Morris, former member of CamAWISE, author and a professional business speaker, travelled from Scotland to run a workshop using an online role play game as a springboard for live discussion.

Why ‘business’ case for diversity? The reason it is ‘business’ is that this is quite simply the best way to explain to people in business that it makes sound financial (as well as moral) sense to operate from as diverse a platform as possible. Suzanne had plenty of statistics to back this up but back to the game!

Our task was to work in threes to help ‘employees’ in an online game to make decisions about how to investigate diversity issues in their workplace and how best to implement changes to better meet the demands of today’s consumers. As in all the best decision-making games (and sometimes books) there were a number of endings, based on which answers you chose.

There were lessons along the way including the importance of keeping the men in the discussion (around issues including women/men ratios). “Don’t just tell people what to do” was the advice of an experienced person there to help the male, who had little – if any – experience of diversity studies. People will have their prejudices but the key lesson I learnt was not to wait until you have the perfect plan: get on with it and start the plan. Don’t wait and stall for small, petty reasons or the fear of being accused of tokenism by people nervous of change. ‘Buy-in’ to these issues is important but so is ‘focus’.

As this was an interactive workshop, attendees also shared examples of how they’ve seen these issues handled before: it was very interesting to hear issues around equal pay and maternity leave from participants.

Throughout the evening were statistics to illustrate the importance of the business case for diversity. For example, that 70-80% of consumer decisions are made or ‘heavily influenced’ by women or maybe more concrete, that by 2020, 53% of women will be millionaires (currently 46%).

We were fortunate to have insights from a professional business speaker and this game is just one of Dr. Doyle-Morris’ library of serious games workshops she’s created on diversity and inclusion issues since her departure to Scotland from Cambridge to set up the InclusIQ Institute.

Thanks to Suzanne and to all those who attended and contributed to discussions around issues of ‘Diversity’ and fairer workplaces in general.

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