Being the Change We Wish to See

The IDEA Forum 2022 Takeaways

About a 3 min. read

Jillian Ehrman
Insights Director

Recently, many members of CMB’s DEI Cohort attended the Insights Association’s IDEA (Inclusion, diversity, equity, and access) Council’s The IDEA Forum. The event invited the insights industry to come together, cultivate better understanding, and inspire action, all in the hopes of advancing our research and our organizations. Below are some intentional and meaningful actions that inspired our team:

  • Be accountable: To continue driving change within an organization, holding yourselves accountable is essential. It’s critical to sit at the table with people who have different opinions and hear to what they have to say. It’s OK to walk away from a conversation agreeing to disagree—or to reflect more or research—but it’s more important to show up, listen, and respect one another’s unique perspectives, especially with regard to gender, racial, and ethnic diversity. In addition, leadership must buy-in to these efforts, and a culture that fosters a diverse environment needs to be supported. Additionally, it’s important to educate your staff and find ways that bring people closer to those who are different from one another.
  • Bring your whole self to work: Following dialogue sessions that CMB participated in with YW Boston, this is a phrase that resonated with our team, and we were happy to see this discussion continued at this event. Making a shift away from seeking work-life balance to work-life integration allows professionals to remove the boundaries of having a separate work persona and another for everyday life. Being able to bring your whole self to work takes up less energy, and helps employees be more efficient, productive, and happy at work. But how do we do that? In the session, “How to Drive Belonging for Women in the Workplace,” we learned a key piece of creating an environment of belonging is curiosity. By leading with curiosity (ex: proactively seeking different points of view), you can gain more insight, such as learning what external forces (such as economic inequality, racism, and environmental disasters) and occurrences in another’s community are directly affecting them, and which they bring with them to work. This applies to us both as colleagues and employers, as well as insights professionals. As an insights professional, emphasize psychological safety when asking participants to open up to us, which means creating a space where participants (or colleagues) know they will not be punished or humiliated for sharing their ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes. Within the workforce, Affinity Groups (a/k/a Employee Resource Groups) are an effective tool to create those safe spaces.
  • More inclusive, equitable & accessible research: Leveraging personal experiences better informs our research. For example, one of the panel speakers mentioned a research project and how the research team used their own personal identities to further define the audience they should be speaking to. This would only be possible by having diversity within the researchers on team, who were able to advocate for this different lens. In another example given by Dr. Inés Poza during a session in which we were both panelists, “More Inclusive, Equitable & Accessible Research,” there are stereotypes that perpetuate Latinos, such as being more family oriented, or value driven. She said that while Latinos (not Latinx) may be loyal to family and friends, they’re not going to be loyal to a bar of soap (for example). As researchers, we should stop leading into questions with “As a Latino…” and instead just ask the question.
  • Ask yourself: From developing the screener to the panel partners, there’s an opportunity to examine each phase of a project with a DEI lens. Jaswant Singh from Burke discussed this in the session “Honing Your Lens: How Cultural Competency Within Your Organization” and offered some questions to ask yourself and your stakeholders:
    • Do we need to ask these demographic questions? Or are they just being included as our standard approach?
    • Who are our panel partners recruiting? And how are they being recruited?
    • Are there subtitles included with videos in the survey?
    • Is our moderator of a similar background (i.e., ethnicity, household make-up, etc.) to the participants in our focus group?

It was inspiring to discover how other insights professionals elevated inclusion, diversity, equity, and access in their research and organizations. CMB also left with many resources to continue to uplift the DEI conversation at our organization, and was encouraged to hear from so many IDEAtors voices. Want to continue the conversation? Reach out to Jill on LinkedIn.

Resources we found helpful: