Faye Sahai Innovation, Inclusion, Impact

Automatic Summary

Welcome to the Future: The Power of Innovation, Diversity, and Inclusion

In this piece, we're featuring an inspiring conversation about the intersection of innovation, technology, and diversity in the current global landscape with Mara's founder and global partner, Lisa. She is also the managing director of Vanna, a venture fund investing in startups and an advisor on diversity and inclusion.

The Power of Why in Innovation

One crucial aspect Lisa emphasizes is the importance of asking 'why' before you begin any strategy or venture. What motivates you or your team? What value does your endeavor bring to your customers, community, or family? Being clear about the 'why' sets the right foundation and ensures that in the end, you are truly fulfilling the needs you intended to address.

In this technological era, life is becoming more digital. Technology is transforming our communities, companies, and the world at large. But how do we navigate these changes in a way that benefits everyone? Lisa says diversity and inclusion need to be at the center of these conversations.

Why Diversity and Inclusion is Essential for Innovation

It’s all too common to see technology developed with a lack of diversity and inclusivity in the workforce. This can lead to real-world limitations in product use, such as voice recognition software failing to understand accents and facial recognition technology inaccurately recognising different ethnicities.

Diversity and inclusion, in combination, prompt greater performance and innovation. A diverse workforce offers a broader range of perspectives, allowing for the detection of unintended impacts of emerging technology, for instance. Inclusion sets the stage for that diversity to be fully utilized, promoting a collaborative environment where everyone feels valued, and their unique perspectives are harnessed.

The research upholds the benefits too. With increased diversity and inclusion, businesses experience growth in market share, penetration of new markets, and increased resilience - all of which lead to innovative products and services.

Confronting Unconscious Biases

While the benefits of diversity and inclusion in innovation are inarguable, the challenge is how we unintentionally allow our unconscious biases to become roadblocks. For example, while our quick brain might see two colors as being different due to existing contexts like shadows, upon closer examination with our slower brain, we might find they're the same color.

To overcome these biases and promote diversity and inclusion, we are encouraged to pause and take another's perspective, to walk in their shoes, and challenge our thought processes.

A few resources Lisa recommends for self-assessment and training on unconscious biases include Implicit.harvard.edu, which offers confidential self-assessments, and free tools on Exponentialtalent.com.

Skills for The Future

As we edge towards the future, it is important that we upskill and reskill in order to navigate a world leveraging innovative technology. Among these skills, promoting an environment with psychological safety is imperative for diversity, inclusion, and innovation.

In racing towards the future, individuals and businesses alike must recognize the importance of innovation and the added value that diversity and inclusion bring to the table. By continuously questioning 'why', being aware of and challenging our unconscious biases, and dedicating ourselves to ongoing learning, we can foster an inclusive culture that puts people first. This will ultimately usher in a future where technology meets the needs of our diverse global community.

Video Transcription

Uh My name is Lisa. Hi, I am uh the founder and global partner of Mara, as well as which does innovation consulting for a lot of corporations. And I'm a managing director of Vanna, which actually has a venture fund investing in start ups.And I've um also been advising on inclusion. So for me, innovation includes and impact is my gig uh from that. But uh previously I led the innovation for A IG and Kaiser Permanente in Innovation and Advanced Technology and digital Business. Um There's their innovation labs, innovation funds and centers and also worked at Blue Shield, Schwab Lloyd, several others. Um And uh here is a little picture referring to my great uh kids and family, but they're college kids taller than me and also mother-in-law as we're sheltering in place.

So hope you and your health family are healthy. I see Joyce there joining as well. Um So wonderful. So I wanted to start off with why I think especially right now, it's so important that we ask we start off with why uh we know there's so much going on. Um But asking yourself why, what drives you, what motivates you, your team your company before you start a a strategy. Um Maybe you're looking at a certain customer group, ask why, what value will it bring for them and then jump into the how and what our natural tendency is to jump into the how and what first and we might not realize that it is actually resolving the kind of initial intent, the needs of our customers, the needs of our family, our community.

So really starting off with why? So I'm a big fan of Simons from that standpoint, wanted to go then to the next one and really as kind of our, our um women network and technology, we know that technology is transforming our communities, our companies in the world. Um And I wanted to kind of check in with all of you too to really say as it's kind of transforming our industries, I think with the COVID virus, we really have seen how it's changing health care. Um And how before you know, our doctors, you might not have been able to see him v via video and phone, but now that's where we're at. Um um we are now seeing him through video and phone, we're getting our pulse and glucose reading from our smart watches. Uh We're getting our banking online, we're engaging and talking and zooming with people 24 7 and really engaging. So we will see a transformation happening and um and what's gonna happen post COVID, it's gonna be an interesting time as we look at it, I wanted you to type in your chat box and I think Manny's joined us as well. What is your favorite innovation? It could be the iphone, it could be artificial intelligence. Uh Man, you're uh virtualization leader, you know, it could be all those capabilities there. Um Jessica, what is your favorite innovation? So just go ahead and type in the chat function. What um is your favorite innovation? Whoops, sorry.

OK, Tableau Jessica. Oh, wonderful, your analytics. So as we kind of go, I've been monitoring a lot of different innovations going in and you need the cloud. I definitely expected to hear that from you. You're a champion of the cloud. Um And um here, I've been monitoring several innovations. I'm gonna go through several slides on this, but we see that the sharing economy is not only something that we saw with air BNB, sharing economy of our houses, sharing economy of our cars, our bikes, our homes, um but it's going to become more pervasive even in the business side of like sharing warehouse space sharing equipment in the hospital and where we're going.

But then we also see and I think um advantage coming with the cloud, the cloud has an enabled the internet of things, sensors. So everything there's gonna be billions and billions of sensors all around in everything from smartphones to smart lights to far. Well, cars to smart, you know, nanotechnology in your roof for solar as well as it's hard to believe that our phones just, you know, are just a decade plus in our lives. We can't re it's hard to remember what it was like without this smartphone and it's gonna continue and we've also seen the power um of social media and where it's going. Um So as we look at it, we also see autonomous vehicles and you might have noticed, I said vehicles versus just cars. Um We have, you know, autonomous flying cars. That's the one I'm really excited about is actually flying autonomous vehicles, so you can fly over all the traffic um but also smart cities, smart environments. Um So as we start looking at our cities, um we've noticed a lot of the pollution clearing away and the shelter in place.

But as we start looking at that and whether it's environmental sound, um health, traffic violence uh from that, we see a lot of the cities getting engineered for the future. So now pair the autonomous vehicles and smart cities, we probably don't need parking lots anymore. We or we don't need stoplights anymore. We're gonna redesign for the future, maybe it's more parks, more enjoyable walkable cities, things we can engage in. So um excited about where that can go and kind of our future environments. But now we add drones and robotics. We've seen drones delivering medication, drones delivering pizza, uh drones, monitoring shelter in place, uh drones getting announcements, robotics doing delivery uh robotics manufacturing. Um We've seen 3D and four D printing and I see it. Um four D printing is a new uh innovation coming in place where you now add another dimension, you can add time or heat or water and it will alternate the object you've done with 3D printing. And you might ask, well, what, what value is that? So imagine you've now made a prosthetic for a child that has lost their limb. And as they're growing right now, they have to get a new prosthetic limb. But if it's four printed in the future, that prosthetic limb can expand and grow with them, so say if it was on the arm, it actually can expand with the heat and the growth and pressure from that.

And it cost, we see a lot happening in nanotechnology and micro materials. You see it from that little chip there as well. So, you know, things that were um uh you know, a lot of things is like if you look at some of our tests that kind of explore what's happening in our body, you can imagine uh let's swallow a smart pill that has a camera rather than these invasive surgeries to see what's happening.

So um here are some that are, are really coming along and some things that I thought you should watch out for too is the genomics and me medical bioinformatics. We see that in a lot of the uh the virus. Is there any implication in our DNA and how we're responding to Coronavirus? How are we going with vaccines? Um But then we also see the data and artificial intelligence um in that point, but we also with all this data, with all this technology, with all this smartness, we need to worry about cybersecurity and privacy. Um And really consider that and be very thoughtful and mindful in that as well. Um And what's coming new on is quantum computing, there's definitely been some pilots that will allow us to go faster, accelerate more data and that will enable more things. Um So, from Blockchain and some of you might have heard that with the digital currency, um if we have quantum computing that will allow even faster Blockchain right now, it's restricted and kind of the number. But you can actually kind of see that like will we not really have currency in the future? Um will that really be taken over by electronics? So a lot of interesting innovation and technology that can really kind of disrupt.

And so here's a quick kind of summary of some of the trends that I've been following and watching and looking at is I think it's really gonna be about personalizing, predicting and preventing. So we're gonna use all this data and A I and self-service to really personalize it for yourself to help predict and prevent things from happening, whether it's your health an accident. Um that the consumer experience is gonna be critical. We know now people's adoption of all the apps.

But if you it's not frictionless, automated and engaging, they, you know, don't log back in um extended reality is then next about how do we combine these real and virtual environments of virtual reality, augmented reality and really use that to help us inform it could be changing our education, how we learn about things, um how we kind of operate from that standpoint and everything's gonna get connected and be smarter and faster.

So with the internet of things quantum and data. Um but this then kind of goes to, I think we see it now we really need to reboot our purpose of the why and kind of how I initially started, why are we doing the things we're doing? How are you building the digital trust with people working with? How are we looking at for their privacy and information? How are we gonna um be cyber secure? Um I think as we've seen the Coronavirus, the whole nature of work and education could potentially really shift. We know we can do it virtually, we know what we can't do virtually. What can we do with the remote distributed teams? What technology and infrastructure do we need in place? But then it makes us question too, can we do it more affordably? Does uh college education need to cost $70,000 a year? Can we be more fair? And distributed in that. And given all the events that have been happening here is I think it is very important that we talk about diversity equity and inclusion from that standpoint. So feel free to put in questions, comments. I know Joyce, you've been working a lot in the area of diversity inclusion and, and uh hr innovation from that standpoint. So the point here is this what happens when we do all this wonderful innovation and technology without diversity inclusion in our workforce and how we're thinking about the products and how we're developing it, how we're coding it.

What happens is what you see some of these headlines here, you have voice recognition that doesn't understand accents. When my mom first tried to use Siri and send me a text message. It was the funniest thing because it didn't make any sense. It couldn't understand her accent and we were just crying, laughing. But then I think of it, it's not really a good joke, right? It's like it did not meet kind of those needs. Um As we look at facial recognition, especially now it's starting being starting to use in more police and other, it's not accurately being able to recognize other ethnicities and you could falsely accuse someone of a facial recognition, you could falsely get into someone's account um from that standpoint.

So and we're all kinda you kinda mentioned here, right? If you start looking at it, we don't really create innovative technology products and in it for the for the world, it's really kind of shared. So everyone throws a lot of words around of diversity and inclusion. So I wanted to kind of explain what I mean to it. Diversity is kind of like the mix of thinkers. Um It's another analogy that's often used is, is who you're inviting to the dance. It's a whole mix of people that you're inviting and who you're recruiting for your company. That whole mix of perspectives, inclusion is getting that mix to collaborate, getting that mix to dance, getting that weeks to interact, to innovate together and, and really leverage all their unique perspectives.

So it's only in the force when you add them both together that it works because you could recruit all the diverse thinkers there. But if you don't have an inclusive work environment team, um environment, those diverse thinkers are not gonna be a field value, not gonna be leverage and, and lead. So I think it's really important to have both and especially important to have innovation. So here are some steps you might ask, well, diverse inclusion and innovation, why are you putting those together? F um For me, research shows the greater you have a diverse inclusion, the better performance and more innovation you'll have um whether it's 45% increased growth in market share, 70% in new markets, being able to detect those unintended impacts of the emerging technology. Like some of the ones I just showed you of the computer vision and voice recognition of accents and even, and Bruha shows that e one leader that shares your target customers, ethnicity, the entire team is 100 and 52% more likely to understand that customer. So that empathy understanding, having it represented at the table is so critical as our customer base becomes more and more diverse global with increasing different um demands, it's even more important that we're more diverse and inclusive.

So with that, we've seen increased product innovations and increased resilience, especially in this time. So which square put in the text put in the chat here? What colors are the square and B are they the same? Are they different? Just type it in? And you might have said a lot of people say different so that A and B are actually the same color and it's her unconscious bias with our thinking because we're looking at the shadow of the cylinder, the concept of a checkerboard. And even now, you might have to stare at a little bit more to know that to overcome our fast brain and our unconscious bias that those are different colors. So this is one thing that we can, we talk about our bias. It, it's, it's sometimes so unconscious that um and it's something that it just that we just need to pause um and use our slow brain to ask a question and look at it from that perspective. So what I ask is that, you know, just that pause, um to take it from someone else's perspectives to walk in their, their shoes, to look at other companies, to observe other things, to challenge yourself, look at simulations that really understand that bias. So you can go on the implicit.harva.edu and actually take these, you know, confidential self assessments on all different things about what implicit kind of biases you have. And I definitely encourage it.

That picture on the left hand side is me after having seven, I fell downstairs and had seven fractures on vacation in Portugal. Um and I had to be in a wheelchair, a walker crutches and physical therapy. And that experience opened my eyes of what it's like to be disabled in Europe and the US. And it's, have you ever noticed that the disabled bathroom um stall is the farthest away from the door? And I'm like, really? And that you can't, there is no automatic doors for bathroom. So I used to have to wedge my walker in the bathroom and then try and go in before the door closed on me um to get into the bathroom, then let alone walk the farthest way to the stall. So, um how we kind of design, how we think about things and the kind of empathy is important. So just to encourage you guys for that, um as we're looking, I know we're running out of time um from this standpoint, but these will be up. But as you look at skills of the future, how you can innovate virtually, really think about how you can be inclusive and empower and hold accountable with courage and humbleness to have that psychological safety, not only for diversity, inclusion and innovation in your group.

So again, be aware, educate yourself, be that role model and listen um to create that and there are free tools and resources and I think they're, they're gonna have this recorded so you can get free tools on exponential talent.com, sign up for a briefing and just wanted to recommend some great resources out there.